In my travels (around my University campus), I’ve found that the average wandering student comes across or themselves embodies many variations of snobbery, a trait I’ve now come to know all too well. University can really bring out the true snob in a person. But it’s very forgivable – makes sense that when you’re living in an environment amongst peers who are paying an annual sum of £9000 £9250 for an academic degree which may not even guarantee them a job at the end of 3/4 years, you’re bound to come across a handful who feel the need to prove themselves, intellectually or otherwise. Nonetheless, it goes without saying that snobbery applies to people of all ages, of all generations, of all levels of intelligence and yes, of all social classes. Here are some of the forms of snobbery that I have stumbled upon the most in my relatively short time on planet Earth.
Classic Example: Kingsley from Fresh Meat
Possible Phrase: “Shoegaze isn’t technically a genre soooo….”
Possible Aesthetic: Obscure band t-shirt, skinny jeans, flannel shirt, headphones
These are the type of individuals who will either answer ‘shoegaze’ when asked their favourite music genre or correct people who think shoegaze is a genre. Or, when asked their favourite genre, they’ll say something along the lines of, ‘Well, I sample a bit of everything, but I do have a soft spot for 80s gothic neo-psychedelia’. Music Snobs pride themselves on listening to a intimidatingly wide variety of sound, from 1930s jazz (no, not just Miles Davis!) to 1990s old-school hip hop; from Joni Mitchell to The Prodigy; from Tangerine Dream to Earth, Wind & Fire. You betcha they’ve memorised a list of their top 10 album covers of all time (The Court Of The Crimson King is undoubtedly a contender). And it goes without saying that they’ll know the entire discography, B-sides ‘n’ all, not just the hit songs, of every Artist they listen to.
When attempting to befriend a Music Snob, don’t even dream of stating that The Smiths’ best song is ‘There Is A Light That Never Goes Out’. That’s so basic you may as well be holding a pumpkin spiced latte when you say it!
To hunt a Music Snob down, simply walk to your local Vinyl Record store and rest assured, they’ll be there in their Nick Cave/Woodstock tee, simultaneously jamming to Mac DeMarco on Sony headphones whilst passionately berating ‘the crap people listen to nowadays’. Also, there’s nothing a Music Snob despises more than a sell-out (I’m looking at you, Kings Of Leon).
Classic Example: Every Stoner Guy you’ll ever meet
Possible Phrase: “We’re all living in The Matrix.”
Possible Aesthetic: Charity-shop knitwear/very old t-shirt, surfer necklace, beanie hat
What the hell is a Philosophical Snob, you may ask? Well, they’re actually pretty common and discernible. Let’s just say you’ll know if you’ve ever met one. Philosophical Snobs are obsessed with the deeper meaning of life, and it’s not as though there’s anything wrong with being inquisitive, but these people are on a whole nother level. They’d like to believe that people perceive them as an enigma, a prophetic owl; that those they encounter profess, ‘Wow, enter-name-here is so mysterious and intellectual!’, when in actuality, most would be more inclined to say, ‘Wow, enter-name-here is pretty darn paranoid.’
Existentialism and/or Nihilism are a Philosophical Snob’s driving forces, and they think that having read a few books on the theories has transformed them into the next Plato. Or maybe they’re the reincarnation of Marx, who knows? Philosophical Snobs revel in wild, contentious conspiracies and love nothing more than discussing how ‘TV is numbing our brains!’ and ‘technology is taking over the world!’. (They’ll also own an iPhone 7 and use most forms of social media.) It’s not that their theories and beliefs are necessarily incorrect – to some degree we are inane puppets of the government and slaves to Capitalism; the problem is that after the 57th time of hearing it, any sane person would probably prefer listening to the sound of paint dry.
Classic Example: Angela from Outnumbered
Possible Phrase: “Have you read The Law of Attraction? It changed my life.”
Possible Aesthetic: Some sort of special healing beads as a bracelet, linen, an Om tattoo
Not to be confused with Philosophical Snobs, a Spiritual Snob wishes to be perceived by all they meet as a ball of positive energy, someone who spreads love and light, warmth and wonder, peace and goodwill. (Again, that’s not to say that all of them are perceived this way…) Spiritual Snobs enjoy anything that they believe might bring them closer to well, spirituality. What they actually believe in is pretty ambiguous (they tend to cherry pick bits and pieces from a variety of religions, particularly Buddhism), but hey, it’s not about the specifics, it’s about keeping on the path of enlightenment. Therefore, these aspiring bohemians revel in activities such as meditation, yoga, reading self-help books and keeping up-to-date with their monthly horoscope.
A Spiritual Snob will love to tell you all about their backpacking trips around Ghana and Thailand and Peru; how they got to experience how the less fortunate live, and how they’ve brought back with them not just a heap of souvenirs but more importantly, a wealth of knowledge, gratitude and understanding. Plus they were an inch away from an Orangutan!
They also tend to be very superstitious so don’t stand directly behind their left shoulder or you risk getting salt in your eyes. And remember, never overstep your mark with a Spiritual Snob or mark my words, ten years of bad karma will be heading your way.
Classic Example: Your Uncle
Possible Phrase: “It’s always the fucking ref!”
Possible Aesthetic: Sports tee, old jeans, trainers, a pint of lager
Sports Snobs are by far the most prolific of all the snobs in this list. They are so ubiquitous that you probably knew one before you were even able to speak, because they were probably a close relation. The common Sports Snob is an expert on who won what and who’s playing who and who will be playing who and what year in the 60s some famous player did some ground-breaking thing or other (can you tell I don’t like Sports?) – basically, they know aaaaaall the facts, and they won’t shut up about it.
You’ll know if you have a Sports Snob in your family because they’ll be one who sneaks away from the family gathering for an hour or two or three to watch the telly in the living room. You’ll also know if you have one if they get unreasonably angry when you refuse to watch Match Of The Day, or turn into the Hulk if you switch the channel during the tense part of a game (for your own safety I wouldn’t recommend the latter). When courting a Sport Snob, it’s handy to know that their idea of a perfect date is front row seats at a match. Their passion could be about a specific sport or sports in general, either way it’s handy to know one if you regularly participate in pub quizzes.
Classic Example: Some would argue The French
Possible Phrase: “Tarkovsky doesn’t get the recognition he deserves.”
Possible Aesthetic: Classic or obscure film tee (eg Scarface or La Planete Sauvage), a DSLR camera hanging around their neck, an iPhone bookmarked to Sound and Sight
Whilst you were busy binge-watching re-runs of America’s Next Top Model, they were taking notes on Chungking Express, a Hong Kong classic, the fourth foreign film they’ve watched in the last 12 hours. They’ll later use their scribbles to comprise a film review to be uploaded to their blog (Cinema, Cinema and Nothing But The Cinema) in the hopes of becoming the next Roger Ebert.
Having seen all of Hitchcock’s work and therefore basically being Hitchcock’s protégé, a Film Snob isn’t shy about sharing their expertise, and will jump at the chance to name the film, actor, director or screenwriter you’re thinking of when you draw a blank. They’d never confuse Julianne Moore with Susan Sarandon (and they’ll judge you for making such an obvious mishap). You can always rely on a Film Snob to purposely quote lines from obscure movies just to look disappointed when you don’t get the reference.
Films Snobs, though they’ll pretend to hate it, enjoy nothing more than vehemently debating the decline of Film as an Art Form; how Hollywood is a money-grabbing industry intent on churning out unoriginal idea after unoriginal idea (nothing but franchises and remakes and sequels and Oscar-bait) with little regard to quality. Unlike most people who are merely passive viewers contributing to the problem, they are active, engaged spectators, meticulously analysing the mise-en-scène of every sequence, searching for the reasoning behind every shot. Watching a movie to a Film Snob isn’t escapism, it’s work. The least you can do is show up to the premiere of their first black-and-white experimental film, My Life As A Statue – the screenplay took them half a year to write.
Art / The Arts Snobs
Classic Example: Ongo Gablogian https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kjS6bQ5OQ-o
Possible Phrase: “Modern Art is misunderstood, like me.”
Possible Aesthetic: Young people: Fjallraven backpack, a septum piercing, non-prescription glasses, clothes by Urban Outfitters/Beyond Retro. Older people: Turtlenecks & wine
The Art / Arts Snob is a virtuoso on all things aesthetic. As a archetype, these people tend to be intimidatingly stylish and daring with their sense of fashion. Natural born Thespians, they also love the theatre (darling!), both to watch and to participate in. Somewhere in the World right now, one of them is working on a one-man play about the rise of Feminism; another is re-re-reading Milk & Honey by Rupi Kapur.
It is highly irritating to an Art Snob when all Modern Art gets painted with the same brush (pun intended), looked down upon by naysayers who are barely qualified to voice their opinion when the only Artists they know are Pollock and Picasso. Especially when they, with such deep knowledge and study, could recite the timeline of art movements in their sleep, from Fauvism to Cubism to Post-Impressionism. But that said, an Art Snob is no pushover. Although they can appreciate all genres and movements of Art, this does not mean they are afraid to offer criticism to an individual painting or sculpture, particularly with the use of the word ‘derivative’.
If you are brave enough, your best course of action when aiming to meet an Art Snob is to model for a life drawing class. You’ll be surrounded by them, literally!
Classic Example: Anybody with an RP accent / Cambridge student who burned a £20 note in front of a homeless man
Possible Phrase: “Fetch me the marmalade, Bertie!”
Possible Aesthetic: Ralph Lauren polo shirts, red trousers, wellies, gilets
Aka, the Classic Snob. They don’t want to live like common people or do whatever common people do. They don’t want to sleep with common people, don’t want to sleep with common people like you.
Really, ‘posh’ is redundant as its already implied – these are the archetypal snobs, the ones that your brain immediately flits to when you hear the word ‘snob’. These are the people whose daily afternoon tea is a mini banquet of scones, Victoria sponges and Earl Grey as opposed to a literal cup of PG tips at 12pm. You conjure images of them riding horses and playing polo; clay pigeon shooting at the weekends; discussing the progress of right-wing politics. Their mum probably shook hands with Margaret Thatcher (who she refers to as ‘our Maggie’). These are the snobs who have refined the art of snobbery, who put all other snobs to shame. Not to mention, they’re likely the only people on this list who wouldn’t be offended by being called a snob – they’d probably thank you, and shake your hand if it wasn’t so filthy. (Urgh, commoners.)
Classic Example: Anton Ego from Ratatouille
Possible Phrase: “Why would it cost more if it doesn’t taste better?’
Possible Aesthetic: …A chef’s hat?
Food Snobs are the only people on Earth who’ll say pièce de résistance non-ironically. They’re also the only people who know the difference between cilantro and coriander. And they tend to have a specific set of regulations when it comes to what food they’ll eat and buy – you’ll never see them with Tesco’s Own Brand. Everything, whether it be a tub of hummus or jar of artichoke hearts, always has to be only the finest, and usually by far the most expensive. As much as possible also has to be Organic and locally sourced; that is how you determine what is quality and what is tasteless waste.
A Food Snob will scrutinize every meal put in front of them or somebody else, and don’t expect them to be too skilled at hiding their distaste at your plate of beans on unbuttered toast. Saying that, there is nothing better than when one of these food connoisseurs compliment something you prepared, even if it’s just the presentation (you’ll be adding a sprig of rosemary on everything now). But trust me, you’ll have to get used to hearing how you ‘should have made that from scratch’; everything tastes much less commercial from scratch. They make their own Gooseberry Jam and Mushroom Pate, don’t you know?
Albeit a bit grating (no pun intended), Food Snobs, at least those who can cook, are definitely not the worst people in the world to make your acquaintance.
Classic Example: Haiku enthusiasts / Oregon from Fresh Meat
Possible Phrase: “Technically speaking, it’s ‘whom’, not ‘who.’”
Possible Aesthetic: A book or two under their arm, glasses, an unnecessary scarf, brogues and elbow-patch jackets
Good ole’ Literary Snobs have likely been around since the dawn of time. If cavemen communicated through grunts, they’d be still be the ones correcting your pronunciation. Literary Snobs are the type of people who can recite a Shakespearian soliloquy at the drop of a hat, the less well-known the better. They’ll be the first to correct your grammar, even at the most inappropriate of times, and the first to openly criticize an author everyone else seems to love (“I find Dickens style of writing to be quite lacklustre, actually.”).
Literary Snobs love mentioning how many books they read, sometimes even more than discussing the books themselves. They’ll always find a way of dropping it into the conversation that they read 97 books this month. To think they’ve been having a reading slump recently! Imagine! And let’s not forget the look of astonishment and judgement when you haven’t read that classic the entire world has read. Sorry, Frankenstein will have to wait. Priding themselves on an extensively wide vocabulary, and likely regarding War And Peace as ‘light reading’, a Literary Snob will continually drop esoteric, sesquipedalian words into everyday conversations, probably just to sound smart. Don’t you just hate that?
Catch a Literary Snob at Writing Workshops or befriend one by lamenting about the social death of typewriters.
Coffee Snobs: drink 3+ cups a day, swear instant coffee is the spawn of the devil, love discovering new artisan coffee shops
Nerdy Snobs: roll their eyes when the only anime you’ve seen is Howl’s Moving Castle, have sworn an oath to never miss Comic-Con
Instagram Snobs: need to take at least 4 selfies a day to survive, upload a photo of everything they eat (expect lots of avocado toast)
Hipster Snobs: won’t talk to you unless you own a MacBook or wear velvet
Work Snobs: seem to get promoted every 3rd day, keeping condescendingly telling you that their secret is simply ‘dedication and hard work’
(FYI: This is a facetious, light-hearted post and is not meant to be taken too seriously or cause offense! If anything, it’s me making fun of myself as many of these examples have applied or still apply to me!)