Movie Snobs & Music Snobs-- Do They Exist?

And the more interesting question is: Do you have any evidence to justify your opinion?

Naturally almost no one considers themselves a movie/music/book snob, but I think they do exist. However I’d like to hold off on elaboration until some other posters offer comments/stories.

It’s not movies

It’s Film!

Sheesh. Some people.

Of course they do. :wink:

Snobbery is in the eye of the complainer. Just because someone has different taste from yours, or a different approach to art, or a different way of expressing that, doesn’t mean they’re a snob. It means we’re all individuals.

“Snob” implies dishonesty: it implies that someone is pretending to like something in order to appear smart or exclusive or sophisticated or whatever: it implies that there is a disconnect between what they’re expressing and what they really believe. Accusations of snobbery, in other words, usually involve one person reading another person’s mind.

I don’t think the word has any place in a good-faith discussion; it’s thrown around way too much in these parts.

To the OP

How long have you been posting on this board?
Snob noun

  1. a person who imitates, cultivates, or slavishly admires social superiors and is condescending or overbearing to others.
  2. a person who believes himself or herself an expert or connoisseur in a given field and is condescending toward or disdainful of those who hold other opinions or have different tastes regarding this field: a musical snob.
    Now can we discuss?

I think you can be a snob without necessarily knowing what you’re getting into.

It’s particularly common among semi-educated folk - say, overspecialized film or music scholars - with aspirations to be artistically discerning, but no confidence in their own tastes. These folk tend to cling strongly to received judgments about what’s good, and regard those judgments as if they were incontestable facts.

You’ll seldom see a snob whose tastes are in any way quirky or unusual. The point of snobbery is usually that there’s safety in numbers. There’s the rare iconoclast (usually a music fan) who ranks on everyone that hasn’t heard every obscure artist he has. But that’s a different neurosis entirely, the kind that wants to one-up everybody. The common snob only wants to one-up you if you challenge his preconceptions.

You gotta be kidding me.

EVERY field of human endeavor has these IMO.

Folks that go way past informed opinion and defensible, though varied, if not actual opposite points of view.

Noob :slight_smile:

This is sort of the opposite of what I think of when I hear “snob”. I usually think of someone that dislikes something more or less because its really popular, and instead touts some obscure film that they think is great, just to show that their tastes are far more refined then the unwashed masses.

And here we get back to the mind-reading meme that lissener discussed. How does one know that Snob A is touting such a film just to show off their “refined” tastes, vs. Cineaste B who happens to actually see more and read more about movies than the average layperson and thinks said Film is a genuine diamond-in-the-rough? Sometimes from context or patterns of behavior, but mostly, the answer is “You can’t”, which is why the label Snob is a lazy one to throw around.

It’s just as easy to accuse “the unwashed masses” of having an inferiority complex that they try to hide by diminishing the opinion of people who might actually know more. That’s just as knee-jerk a judgment (in the other direction) and just as likely to be wrong.

That’s one of the problems with this kind of thing. I’ve seen the word used across a whole spectrum of meanings, including totally opposites senses.

For example. I’ve been called a snob when I’ve attempted to analyze *Showgirls *as a serious, multilayered, deeply textured piece of art. But on the other hand, how can anyone who appreciates a Z-grade piece of pulp like *Showgirls *be considered a snob? The term is basically nonsensical, and almost always is used by someone to express a sense of inferiority, and to blame others for that feeling. 99% of the time, in other words, it expresses nothing but sour grapes.

We may be feeling different parts of the elephant; then again, I may have mis-applied social snobbery to artistic values, where it might not be the primary factor. But I think I’ve encountered both kinds of snobbery - at least about music.

To me, the key to snobbery is believing that what you like is good, and what you dislike is bad, and thinking that someone with a different opinion is stupid or ignorant. So yes, snobs exist. I work with one.

Aw, you’re ruining it for the snobbery snobs.

The problem is still in the eye of the beholder: many people assume that if you don’t like what they like, you THEREFORE think they’re stupid or ignorant. Again with the mindreading. I disagree with a lot of people on things I like and don’t like; some of them as smart or smarter than me. But many people still take it personally, when they shouldn’t, and lob charges of snobbery where there is none. Personally I don’t have much time to devote to people who are too quick to read my mind and ascribe motivations to my taste that they have no right to presume.

Cervaise, one of the smartest Dopers around, agrees with me on some “difficult” movies–***Showgirls ***being one. He disagrees with me on other movies: he thinks Last Action Hero is unwatchable; I think it’s an absolutely flawless parody that I could watch another hundred times. I don’t think he’s stupid, or ignorant. (Retarded, maybe. :cool: )

But around here, if you say you don’t like a movie, fans of that movie will right away start accusing you of snobbery. This is defensiveness and sour grapes, not actual mindreading.

I think my brother and my boyfriend are both music snobs. My friend said to me “that’s great, I bet you could just leave them on their own to talk about music and they’d get along really well.”

I replied “No way. You know music snobs - they both know that they are snobbier than the other and would never speak a word about music to each other, other than perhaps a polite one-up nod with the thought in their heads of ‘pffft, he doesn’t know what he’s talking about!’”

My friend shook his head and said “Yeah, you’re right. That’s exactly how they would be.”

I posed the scenario to both the boyfriend and the brother and they agreed. They have no interest in talking music with each other, because they both know they are way too snobby :smiley:

OK, I’m going to come clean… I am a music snob. I tend to look down on people who have lowest-common-denominator tastes in music. I don’t like this about myself, and I certainly don’t act like a snob towards such people, because the rational side of me knows that people just have different tastes, and not everybody is that serious about music. Just like I don’t care that much about TV shows, and I know how irritated I get when I meet someone who simply cannot believe that I don’t know anything about the latest hit series… sorry, just not my thing!

(Thank goodness, my wife has impeccable taste in music. It’s not the same as mine, but I’ve never heard a song she liked that I didn’t.)

I’m an admitted movie/music/tv snob. I’ve had a girl tell me “Armageddon is my favorite movie”, yes I think less of her for that. I’ve had a different girl tell me that “she’d never seen a movie that she didn’t enjoy”. That tells me she’s easily amused by shiny objects.

I tend to think that my taste is better than most people around me and I tend to look down upon people who record & watch 90 minutes of “Whatever Martha” and laugh their ass off (last night, I was in a different room.

OTOH, I understand that I have my opinions and other people have theirs and it would be a very boring world if everybody thought the same way and had the same tastes. I appreciate the diversity, I just think that many people simply have bad taste.

OP here, and I thought I had some firm opinions on this, but am having trouble formulating. Lessee…

The main form of aesthetic snobbery --as it is popularly perceived-- is praising the obscure and dismissing the popular.

But ya know, the best examples I’ve personally seen of this were actually insecure people trying to protect themselves…

In both cases, (a fellow student without a father, and a girl friend heavily influenced by an older brother), they would talk about jazz-rock fusion when asked about musical preferences. In both cases I was apparently the first person they had encountered who was familiar with their favorite fusion artists and did not like them. The fellow student said as much and seemed visibly shaken. The girl friend (over the next couple of weeks) realized that she was burned out on fusion and she largely stopped listening to it.

I still see the (ex) girl friend occasionally, and her jazz and fusion collection has grown very little in the past 15 years.

Another thought: some forms of snobbery are based on money, for examples cars, restaurants, clothing, and maybe colleges. But movie/music snobbery (if it exists) is mostly based on being a contrarian. Music and movies pretty much all cost the same, so money is rarely an issue.

Okay - first of all, if you are going to be a rock snob, you should get the dictionary. (Amazon link; it is actually well-written and informative, with enough tongue-in-cheek awareness that it makes wanting to learning rock-snob trivia okay…)

You know, I am a total music snob, in that I have clear opinions about music quality and include, to myself, a judgment about folks I talk with based on their interest in, awareness of, and tastes about music. However - that is merely one facet of that person; I can meet someone I want to spend time with, but clearly not discussing music.

Also, a clear connotation of “snob” is “dismissiveness” or “condescension” - that was me back in my snotty teen years, but jeez, it’s music people. As I have gotten older and have kids of my own, I have really tried to treat people I encounter with respect, regardless of how they present themselves and their tastes to me.

So - am I a snob? Yeah. But that doesn’t mean it’s okay to treat people shabbily or base my opinion about them exclusively on their musical tastes.

But back to the OP, look, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, art is subjective, yada yada yada. As a musician with experience in a certain defined niche, united with a robust geek impulse, I have deep knowledge about some areas of music. So, can I establish a clear rationale for my likes and dislikes within that niche, and back it up with a structured, articulate argument? Yeah - that’s what I do. Does that make me objectively “correct”? Of course not - but I can, if I am not careful, come across like I am trying to establish what is “correct” and be all Jack Black-in-High-Fidelity intense on them ("You want to buy I Just Called to Say I Love You?! We don’t sell that crap here!!! ;)). In which case, see my comments about respect.

I don’t know if I’d call that “snobbery.” Maybe “hipsterism,” as in, “If I try to be different, I’ll be cool.” Something along those lines. Though the two probably sync up frequently.

Snobbery is when the opinion-holder actually does believe that s/he is a better person than somebody else because of their opinions toward movies/music. Digger touched on that with his comment about Armageddon and having “better” taste than others. Snobbery explicitly requires the belief that taste is objective.

I think some people certainly are snobs - especially on message boards, where you’re free to exaggerate as much as you want about how good/bad something is - but I would say that the vast majority of “snobbery” is projected by somebody who holds an unpopular opinion. It’s much easier to think that everybody else is being a stuck-up jerk by calling your favorite movie “bad” than it is to think that maybe you just happen to enjoy movies that the majority thinks are bad.

The few true snobs out there are dicks, but I think most of the time people are perfectly willing to think of you as their equal even if your opinions don’t match up evenly with theirs. And now I will put that theory to a test by proclaiming that RoboCop 3 wasn’t actually all that bad, and I much prefer Roberto Benigni to Fellini.