I was just sitting here, reading a blog I don’t usually read. The author seems like a nice gal. Her interests are very close to mine and she seems sweet. There’s a section on her blog where she reviews books she’s read. In every book-related post, before she can even give her honest opinion, she has to apologize for her “bad taste” and call everything an “easy read”. That really ticked me off.
This ticked me off because you KNOW she’s only doing that because she has some “high brow” asshole snob in her life criticizing every little thing she does. (I could be assuming incorrectly of course and putting my own spin on her blog based on my own experiences.)
Okay, I’ll back it up. I’ve known A LOT of snobs in my life (yeah you) and it’s always the same schtick…whatever they like is whatever everyone else should like and anything that varies is “wrong” or “shameful”. When I was a kid, this made me very sensitive to share my own interests with people. To that end, I didn’t share anything with my friends about the things I liked. A lot of the people who thought they knew me didn’t actually know the first thing because I kept my own thoughts and ideas to myself where they couldn’t be criticized or taken down a peg. At that time I would rather stay silent than stand up for anything I believed in.
Now part of this is over-sensitivity. Not EVERYONE who has a negative opinion about the things you like is looking for a fight. Sometimes they’re just making a passing good-natured remark that isn’t intended to hurt. I just wasn’t willing to put my interests up on the block for criticism.
What angered me about that girl’s blog is that it’s about READING. Reading = knowledge, no matter what it is you’re reading. Reading = good = positive = thoughts = brain activity. How can reading be wrong? I read a LOT. And I read all kinds of stuff. Fiction, memoirs, highbrow, lowbrow, comedy, fantasy, religious stuff, conspiracy theories, true crime books, comic books, graphic novels, classics, children’s lit, romance, drama, old stuff, new stuff, self-help, cereal boxes, blogs, scripts, newspapers, magazines, anything. I’ve even started listening to books on tape so that I can read while I’m crafting or jogging or elsewise occupado.
Because of this, I get distinctly irritated when someone says the words “easy read” as if downplaying their enjoyment of the book. “It was alright, an easy read.” It’s always said to clarify that they didn’t like the book so that the person they’re talking to can’t judge. I hate that something as good and positive as reading has to be judged.
Music snobs make me the most crazy. Everyone likes music. We all listen to music. Some people are more bananas about it than others but music is something that touches almost every moment of a person’s day. So it really bugs me when people claim to be “music lovers” and therefore they suddenly become the expert on everything music. *LOUD SIGH AND GRUMBLE* Get over yourself, everyone likes music. Be an afficionado, no one’s going to take it away from you. Just don’t hate on other people to prove your worth. It’s not cute and it makes people not like you. Yeah I said it.
But I can kind of see why people can feel okay getting on a high horse about music BECAUSE it’s an easy way to pick on someone. If you’re already a bully, you can easily eek out information about someone’s musical tastes, compare it to your own and find a way to put them down. We all like crazy music. I might not wear a Jon Secada tshirt but I sure as shit have “Angel” on my iPod RIGHT THIS SECOND. (Look it up, you’ll die. So good.)
ANYWAY, I know a lot of people who don’t read AT ALL. And I don’t judge them for that. I don’t see what they don’t like about reading but it doesn’t, like, anger me that they don’t read. Just different strokes.
I had a friend who’d never read a book before and had always wanted to. She just had kind of never seen why you’d want to sit idle and endlessly read a book. She’d always regarded readers as smarter than her or more cultured (which isn’t true at all because she’s a very smart and funny woman). She had a fantasy about herself as sitting down and becoming a great reader. This put a ton of pressure on herself because it just wasn’t “reading one book”, it was “reading every book”. And then the pressure mounted because what if she picked a bad book on her first time out and got totally turned off of reading? Finally, after much encouragement, she decided on a Harry Potter book. She read it and enjoyed it and was extremely proud of herself for taking that step. I don’t know if she continued down the road toward becoming a world-class reader but I do know that she set a goal and completed it and was proud of herself. THAT is what life is about: encouraging yourself, encouraging others, setting up goals and reaching them. What life is NOT about is disparaging other people’s choices when they’re not hurting anyone. What life is NOT about is making other people feel bad about something they enjoy.
And another thing is that an argument can sure be made that the REASON for book snobbery is that one should be careful of the quality of information one puts in one’s precious brain. Okay sure. But what about reading for fun? What if you don’t have an interest in reading the classics? What if you just want to read to relax? I can’t find anything wrong with that no matter how hard I try. What’s good for one person isn’t good for another. If you are a SERIOUS WRITER WHO TAKES THEMSELVES VERY SERIOUSLY well, good for you. Read the classics and meet with your reading circle and pontificate about “nuances” and “discourse” and whatever else makes you feel good. I ain’t madatcha. Just don’t come down hard on other people who don’t share your interests. It’s really unkind.
So yeah I have a chip on my shoulder about this issue but it’s with good reason. Haters beware. I’ve had my fill of hating and I’m taking it no more. And for those of you who are still afraid to stand up for yourself, know this: Haters are only successful at hating if you let them be. You tell a bully that they’re a bully OR tell them to shut the funk up and you can bet your bippy they’ll back way the hell down.
Anyway, sorry if I’ve harshed your high on this beautiful Father’s Day but I wanted to make my snobbery of snobs well-known. You don’t got to go home snobs, but you certainly can’t stay here.
So snobs, here is my message to you from all of us down-trodden sad people (this goes for dude-snobs as well as gal-snobs alike):P.S. Here is an additional story that I thought applies. I almost actually got into a bar fight because of a literary snob once. I was introduced to a friend of a friend (sorry friend to relate this story but it applies and all identities will be preserved). Anyway, I was introduced to this friend of a friend and we began to chat. She told me that she’s bad at remembering names and I said that it was okay because I am too. I happened to be reading How to Win Friends and Influence People at the time. At work I’d been given a planner and on each day there was a positive “can do” type quote. There were a number of them from this book. I looked it up and found out that it was an old self-help book on living a more positive life. I figured I’d give it a read for fun. Anyway, I mentioned this to the girl. A chapter is given on how not remembering people’s names is actually a huge insult to some people. I think nowadays it’s less of an insult because we’re all completely inundated with noise all damn day long and this book was written in 1937. Anyway, I’d told her how bad I was at it and that the book had made me realize my folly. I was actively trying to remember people’s names (still have a problem with it and I’m SO SORRY). Anyway, I relayed that information not as a judgement but as a tidbit. Maybe she took it as a judgement because she started going ballistic on me. She told me that self-help books were basically for assholes who can’t control themselves. She said that if you read a self-help book, you’re basically a loser. She said that if you’re going to read, you should only read the classics. I said, “But why is that the case? Like why is it WRONG for me to read this book out of enjoyment and curiosity? What if I get something positive out of it? Isn’t that a good enough reason?” She was NOT having it. Mind you, I had just told her that I was actively reading a self-help book and she told me they were for losers not a second following. So basically she was calling me a loser to my face. Which is why I can’t for the life of me imagine why I continued the conversation beyond that moment…but still. She went on to say that I shouldn’t even argue with her because she was a WRITER. An UNPUBLISHED writer but a WRITER nonetheless. I didn’t bother to mention to her that if she wanted to go toe to toe, I could also say that I was a WRITER and furthermore worked at a PUBLISHING company at the time but I didn’t. Mind you, what she didn’t know was that I was actively working at a publishing company that published all KINDS of self-help and how-to books. Rather than tell her that, I just told her that the conversation was over and walked away from her. Naturally this all happened because she’d had a little too much to drink but I’m pretty sure this was the way she felt anyway. And truth be told, she was warm for Kristyn’s form (which I didn’t know at that time). As the night progressed (and her cup never ran empty), she tried to force herself between us until we told her to back the funk off. So yeah, crazy is as crazy does y’alls. But regardless. Epic book snob. I mean a bar fight? Over books? Craziness.
P.S. #2 And we can all makes bets on how many self-help books I probably need to read but going Hannibal Lecter on someone because they’re reading a library book DEFINITELY seems like grounds for needing to pick a couple self-help books up for yourself. Just a thought.