"Ah, beware of snobbery; it is the unwelcome recognition of one's own past failings." (Cary Grant).
This is really one of my pet hates in life. Not that I think about it a great deal. I guess at my age I've come across snobbishness in all shapes and forms during my life, and I tend to tut inwardly and roll my eyes and just ignore it. Unless I can see that someone being snobbish is actually offending or hurting someone else.
I was reminded of this recently when my in-laws were staying. My father-in-law is a snob. He is like a lot of people who start off with very little but strive during their lives to achieve more in the way of position and material wealth, but instead of just appreciating the fruits of their labours, they somehow think that their achievements make them better than everyone else. My father-in-law likes quality in everything...nothing wrong with that of course...but he doesn't seem to accept that not everyone can afford quality. He is very set in his ways and I know from his family that they tolerate his behaviour. It's more difficult for the Turks to stand up to or argue a point with the head of the family. But I'm not Turkish and I don't tolerate his behaviour so readily.
He criticised almost everything during his stay, and when one morning I had prepared breakfast for him as usual, he sniffed the cheese and said where did you get this? I told him that Mr Ayak had brought it along with other food when he came over to welcome them on their arrival. FIL then asked me if I had any different cheese, because this cheese was sour, inedible and of very poor quality. So I replied that, our finances are such that we don't actually "do" quality....and that Mr Ayak had probably had to borrow the money from his boss to enable him to buy it anyway. FIL was not happy with my response.....how dare I answer back!
Anyway, I just thought he was being his usual nitpicking self, so I was a little surprised when I went to market with my neighbour some days later, and we met up with some of the other village women, and they were asking me if my in-laws were still here. I said they were and they proceeded to tell me that he was a snob. Now I didn't know the Turkish word for snob but the gestures they made (flicking their noses with their fingers) were quite clear. And I clearly understood that they don't like him because he thinks he is better than them. They are also surprised that Mr Ayak is his son because he is nothing like him! And judging by the hugs and kisses and pats on the back I received from them, I guess they sympathise with my having to put up with my father-in-law!
Intellectual snobbery is by far the worst kind, in my opinion. It usually manifests itself, not in those people who are truly intellectual, but in those people who THINK they are. The intellectual snob will dominate a conversation, usually with people they know may not have as much knowledge as them and they will sneer at the responses from those they deem to be inferior to themselves. But have you noticed how they keep quiet when in the company of anyone who is intellectually superior to them?
I have posted on a good many forums (or fora for those intellectual snobs amongst us) and the one thing that really gets to me is the person who sets themself up as the "grammar/spelling police". They feel it's their role to criticise or "joke" about those they think are illiterate. I have on more than one occasion objected to this. There are many reasons why some people are not so articulate as others...it doesn't mean that what they say is not of value. It's what people have to say that's important...not how many mistakes they make when they say it.
When I attended grammar school many years ago, it was at a time when Speech Training was part of the curriculum. For the first year we had 5 lessons a week of "how now brown cow" and "the rain in Spain falls mainly on the plain" with the sole aim of getting rid of our accents and enabling us to speak the Queen's English. The repercussions were awful for an 11 year old like me, who lived on a council estate, where my family and the neighbours all spoke with a broad Berkshire accent....I was labelled a snob...and I was ostracised as a result. Needless to say, I hated the school and the extreme snobbery that existed there, and left as soon as I could.
Snobbery will always exist...more's the pity...such a shame people can't just accept themselves and others for what they really are, instead of trying to be something they are not.