Rants and Raves

Opinion, commentary, reviews of books, movies, cultural trends, and raising kids in this day and age.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

That's democracy for you - anyone can be a snob

I've been watching the Obamas with some amusement lately.

First Michelle, with the "For the first time in my adult life I'm proud of my country" moment, and now Barry's precious remark about how rural Pennsyvanians "cling to God, guns and dislike of people who are different."

And by the way, with attempts to make "Hussein" stick to Obama, who'd a thunk that the very preppie "Barry" would emerge as the nickname of disdain?

Fits though, doesn't it?

What we've been seeing here I believe is a bit of good ol' cognitive dissonance. Fact is, it took some time for people to wrap their heads around the idea that black people can be elitist snobs too.

The venue of that remark of Barry's in San Francisco, has been described as the "wine and cheese set" and mention has been made of $100 a pound prosciutto.

Well, now I'd like to tell you about a meeting I reported on recently. It was in a town called Buffalo, North Dakota. Population... probably about enough to seat in a high school basketball gym. There was evidence it had seen better days. There was a lovely brick court house, boarded up with a gazebo in the surrounding park and a large manor house type dwelling nearby.

It was in fact, like a lot of small rural towns which are essentially nexuses (nexi?) for a lot of surrounding farms.

What I was there for was to cover a pruning clinic hosted by the North Dakota Grape Growners Association. As in wine grapes.

Yes, there is a wine industry in North Dakota. I was pretty gobsmacked myself. Google 'Elmer Swenson' and you'll find the story of a man who spent his life cross-breeding French wine grapes with North American wild grapes to produce breeds that are 1) cold hardy, 2) disease resistant, and 3) early ripening.

So anyway, there I was sitting in a small town community center listeninig to this guy from Minnesota, dressed in blue jeans and denim shirt, giving a powerpoint presentation about various breeds of grapes, soil preparation, fertilization, a bewildering variety of trellises and what kinds of wine they make.

He talked about taste, bouquet, all that stuff you usually expect to find in France or California.

And the thought occurred to me as I sat there, with all of us plebes acquiring the tastes formerly reserved for aristocrats it's getting harder and harder to be a snob these days.

Back to that guns thing. Remember that hunting in Europe is an upper-class sport. Here in America it's a rural sport, which means common folks - and disdained as such among elitists.

Keep that thought in mind, next I'm going to talk about... watches.


  • At 6:14 AM, Blogger Ted said…

    The only people I know of still talking about that obscure Obama quote have managed to bull$#!+ themselves into thinking a 72-year-old socialized medicine advocating, anti-free-speech gun-grabber who happens to hold the Arizona senate seat would be a better choice.
    I don't really have a horse in this fixed race, but those wine grape growers in North Dakota are going to be among the most shocked when the government-media complex tries to sell them an even bigger line after the elections, when HITLERy is (s)elected by a landslide. Speaking of cognitive dissonance, maybe a few of the "It'll never happen here" GOPhers will wake up at that point, and realize it already has...
    But I'm not holding my breath!

  • At 6:52 AM, Blogger Joseph Sixpack said…

    There are also Vodka snobs now. A drink that was once associated with underpaid Russian Army conscripts is now trendy. One's preference for Grey Goose over Stoli is now a point of personal pride for some, even though there is no way to taste the difference.

  • At 6:39 AM, Blogger Steve Browne said…

    Oh I can tell you how to out-snob them on that one too.

    Complain that you can't get Zubrowka vodka. (Zhoo-brov-ka)

    "Zubr" (zhoo-brr) is Polish for bison. Zubrovka vodka comes with a stem of bison grass from the Bialowieza forrest that straddels the Polish-Ukrainian-Belarussian border. The grass gives the vodka kind of a yellow-green tint and distinctive flavor.

    "Oh this Russian crap will do in a pinch, but for vodka you really have to have zubrowka..."

  • At 7:52 AM, Blogger Ted said…

    I'll have to try Zubrowka, if I can find it.
    Grey Goose isn't worth the money.
    Never tried Stoli, but the only vodka I've come across so far with any semblance of flavor is Dark Eyes, and there has to be better than "tater squeeze" with fake flavor available.

  • At 8:01 AM, Blogger Steve Bodio said…

    And GUN snobbery-- a LOOONG post in itself...

  • At 12:08 PM, Blogger Gerry said…

    $100 a pound prosciutto?!? What are they feeding that pig? Truffles and champagne?

  • At 2:36 PM, Blogger woodhen16 said…

    When I moved to the Eastern shore, in a very preppy enclave, I used to get asked a lot, "Wheah did you prep?"

    I got an education to rival none at my local high school. But I wanted to play the dame, so I learned to answer: "Oh, I didn't 'prep', I was privately tutor4ed at home."

    Worked like a charm.

  • At 2:41 PM, Blogger woodhen16 said…

    WHen I moved to the Eastern seaboard, into a real snobby enclave, I was asked frequently, "Wheah did you prep?"

    I got an excellent education at my local high school. However, to play the game, I learned to answer, "I didn't 'Prep.' (You can actually pronounce sneering quotes) I was privately tutored at home."

    Worked for me.


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