Is it good to be sophisticated?

Yeah, sophistication and expense have nothing to do with one another. Sophistication is an ability to appreciate subtleties in everything. A person who is socially sophisticated will know how to have a conversation with anyone about anything without offending them. This is a quality that actually seperates a lot of stars from the average person. The reason people get famous is often because they bring pleasure to the people they associate with. If you are an actor/actress that wants to get a career, and you have this ability and you are able to make a producer feel good, they are likely to speak of you favorably to their peers, and you’ll be cast.

I live in New York City, and the best sushi place I have ever been to is on 7th Avenue South and Bedford (couple blocks below Bleecker) called Ido Sushi. The chef is a true artist, he knows me and he knows some of my friends, and he always treats me really well when I go there. What he prepares is better than more expensive places I’ve been to, and a friend of mine who is an Opera singer and has a bit more disposable income than I do agrees that it is the best sushi in town. One could easily go to Sushi Samba four blocks up and spend twice as much for their meal.

For me personally sophistication brings more joy into my life. It’s not about the price that helps add to my status, it is my ability to drop a little hint of something that another person likes that helps me up my status. I’m not the most socially capable person in the world, but I’m getting better at it, and my life only improves as I do, it has very discernable effects on the amount of power I have in the world.

If you are looking at status as a factor it’s important to realize how busy people value their time. If you are bringing pleasure into their lives, then the amount of time spent with you is well worth it, and it’s much easier for you to bend their ear. If you do not bring pleasure then it’s harder to get them to help you. It’s a very simple idea really.


Sophistication is “magic” it is a certain ineffable quality. If you can bring magic into people’s lives, it improves your life in very real ways. So I would say yes, Sophistication has very real value. Another benefit of sophistication is that you know what you like and what you don’t like and don’t spend as much time wasted trying to scratch that itch.


mswas, have you tried this place down on Elizabeth Street? The dumplings are fantastic. It’s… about midway down the block, just past the police precinct, directly to the right of the alleyway in the street. Their ices are amazing, as well. Try the lychee. It’s… right on the corner of the middle of the block.

The next day Shalmanese is on the toilet watching the remnants of his $300 meal make its exit. devilsknow is watching his $10 meal go down the drain. devilsknow has $290 more in his pocket because he’s willing and happy to eat less expensive fare. If Shalmanese honestly feels the extra $290 is worth it, then knock yourself out. But I’d rather be devilsknow and keep the cash for other things.

Like what other things?


So Shalmanese, what are doing hanging around with a low life like devilsknow ? :slight_smile:

In economics, one of the underlying principals is that individuals maximize their utility (happiness) relative to their budget constraints. So, if the $300 floats your boat the most and you do without other things, you are doing so because that path makes you the “happiest” by maximizing your utility.

I consider myself a sophisticates sophisticate (an über-sophisticate, if you will). I am so sophisticated that I turn up my nose at those things that mere sophisticates drool over. I won’t be bothered to even list the things with which I luxuriate, since I am certain that you are all too hypo-sophisticated to understand.
Does this mega-sophistication make me happy? Sure as tootin’ it does. Because I really enjoy those things with which I luxuriate? Not hardly! I find the feeling of enjoyment to be rather tawdry and unsophisticated, and so I try to avoid it. My stratospheric sophistication makes me happy because it makes me better than you, all of you. I am smug in my knowledge that I am better than you, and smugness is a sophisticated feeling.
As I sit on my La-Z-Boy recliner here in the rec-room room of my double-wide, under my velvet picture of Elvis (next to my Dogs Playing Poker picture) drinking Colt-45 through a straw between my two front gold plated teeth, I contemplate my superiority over everyone else and rejoice in the knowledge that when I die and go to heaven, God will reward me for being better than everyone else and promote me to…I dunno, maybe his right-hand man. On second thought, I’m too sophisticated to play second fiddle and heaven may be too garish for someone like me. I may simply haughtily refuse the offer.
Mr. Tibbs :stuck_out_tongue:

I’m surprised no one has posted the John Stuart Mill quote: “Better a Socrates dissatisfied than a pig satisfied.”

The best case is to be able to appreciate a bad meal for its good points, and to appreciate a good meal in its intricacy. Far too many can’t appreciate either a good or bad meal; all they can appreciate is a price tag (some prefer low, some prefer high).

Experience with the finer things is different from the ability to appreciate them. Did devilsknow ever have a $300 meal? If so, could she(?) tell the difference?

I’ve had good wine and Two Buck Chuck, and can’t see much of a difference - but I don’t like any alcohol all that much. However I can distinguish between bagels quite well, which is not a good level of sophistication in the Bay Area, where good bagels are few and far between. Someone who can’t tell the difference between a $20 a pound steak and a $3 a pound steak is wasting his money on the more expensive one - the person who can isn’t.

I think sophistication is getting the best (not most expensive - I agree with mswas for once) you can appreciate and afford. Snobbery is getting the most expensive you can afford, whether you can appreciate it or not.

I think taste in food isn’t correlated with expense or experience or anything else. I think it’s mysterious and probably congenital. Some of the most intelligent experienced people I know would be perfectly happy subsisting on a diet of Purina Bachelor Chow, while some rather dumb people I know have very rareified food tastes. I get a lot of cravings and like many different foods. But sometimes those cravings are for expensive sushi, other times they’re for McDonalds fries. There’s a bar down the street that makes absolutely superb pub grub; Wings, nachos, burgers and the best fries in DC. Nothing there costs more than ten bucks.

A sophisticated palate means to me someone who can enjoy a variety of foods, if they’re done well (but not well done :slight_smile: ). It doesn’t necessarily mean foods that are the most expensive, though obviously a really good cut of steak at a good restaurant will set you back.

And if you buy a nice meal now and then are you really worse off than someone who doesn’t? Will what they buy really give them as much pleasure as that steak gave you. Pretty much an unanswerable question without knowing the people inviolved, but the answer could as easliy be “no” as “yes.”

“Move on, Jesus, Tibbycat’s gotta take his seat!” :smiley:

The upper reaches of enjoyment have higher marginal costs. No one would listen to a $7000 pair of speakers and say that they sound twenty times better than my $350 set. I would probably agree that they sound much better than mine, but I don’t care enough about it to pay that much. To someone who really appreciates sound quality, and who gets a lot of enjoyment out of top-notch sound, the difference may be worth it.

Once the essentials are covered, we spend money on the things we care about. I have no problem with spending a three-digit sum at a nice restaurant. At the same time, I don’t understand why people spend enormous wads of cash on jewelry, or rounds of golf. I mean, I understand intellectually, but not on a gut level.

It’s also fallacious to think that being sophisticated means you can’t enjoy anything but the best anymore. I enjoy top-notch cuisine and good wine, but I also enjoy nachos and Killian’s. They’re different experiences.

Yeah, and when we’re on our deathbeds someday, I’ll have the memory of that once-in-a-lifetime Rothschild, and he’ll have an extra $290 (plus interest) to leave for his ungrateful kids.

If you see food as primarily a fuel source for your body to turn into energy and shit, then of course you’re going to feel this way. What you’re paying for is an experience, the same way you might pay for a concert or a vacation. Sure, you’re empty-handed at the end of it, but you’ve gained a new experience and a new set of memories. If you don’t see food that way, fine; like I said, I can’t imagine paying $300 for a round of golf, but lots of people do it and think it’s worth it.

When I become interested in things I like to learn about them.

As I learn more my interest grows and my curiosity starts me on the path to improving my experience, exposure, ability, and overall enjoyment. Often that leads to the higher end in the price range because sellers understand the value of their products and tend to charge more because people like me will pay for it.

At some point the price is prohibitive so I use my experience and new found sophistication in the subject to find the highest quality possible in my price range so that I can enjoy things more than if I never put any effort into learning about them.

Is that a bad thing?

Seems like some people that are happy to keep things simple assume it’s snobbery or wasteful to enjoy better quality, I don’t get it.

E-Sabbath I was talking about sushi, but I LOOOVEs me a good dumpling. My favorite is this vegetarian Dim Sum place on Bayard street. Do you know the name of the place on Elizabeth street?

I don’t much like wine, it makes my teeth hurt and it gets me drunk really quickly. I can down whiskey all night, but wine puts me out. The best wines I ever had were a 7 bottle of Chilean wine, and a 15 glass at Tavern on the Green. Incidentally the 15 glass was the only thing that was really good about the 100 per person meal at Tavern on the Green. However, as any sophisticate will tell you Tavern on the Green with it’s kitschy interior and central park location is a trap for bourgie idiots. My favorite whiskey is Jack Daniels.

Price has absolutely zip to do with sophistication. Part of sophistication is getting the absolute most usage from your dollar. If you have lots of money it may be worth it to buy a painting for 100k, but it might also be great to find one that really touches you at a yard sale for 5.


quibble If going to the opera is a cliquey thing, then let’s just say that, despite enjoying the opera, I still haven’t been inducted into the clique.

I get the cheapo student seats or the dress rehearsal tickets, break out the sports jacket, and go, if I hear it’s good this year or if it’s a piece I especially want to see staged.

When Place des Arts put on Carmen and projected it for free in the plaza, it was incredibly packed. Some of us go to the opera because we like opera.

In fact, I’d venture to say that we outnumber the Bianca Castafiores swanning about in their pearls or the walrus-moustached gentlemen quietly passing out in the corner. I really do not think there are that many people out there willing to pay to go to operas they don’t like just to give themselves airs.

All of the arts are cliquey. I’ve been involved in the underground electronic music scene for years, it’s mad cliquey. I would think it would be hard for there to be an “Opera” clique because it’s not a social event. I’d think you would have to go to an industry party to get in, unlike a rave where it is both social and the spectacle wrapped in to one.


As far as wine goes there are plenty of excellent wines for less than $20, hell, for about $10 or less you can get bottles that taste fine. Robert Parker has said words to this effect. A lot of wines are overpriced. No one should spend more than $30 a bottle IMO.

You pays your money and you makes your choices. Mr. SCL recently asked me if he should bid on a 2 carat diamond ring on e-bay for me. My reaction? Oh hell no - do you know how many game-worn Cottonmouths jerseys I could get for that much money?

I have diamonds I inherited from my mother, but I very seldom wear them - I prefer turquoise. I wear the diamond/ruby/sapphire/emerald medieval style ring much more often than I wear Mamas large diamonds. I wear the hockey jerseys every chance I get. :slight_smile:

I guess it boils down to whether you consider sopistication to equal knowledge or to be snobbishness. I am always willing to learn from someone who knows more than I do (one reason I am a member of SDMB) but I actively dislike snobs.

Dude you ain’t never been to no opera, if you can say that.

Nope, but it’s easy to find.