s/o of classism thread...does liking classical music/classic literature make you... - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 44 Old 12-18-2007, 04:01 PM - Thread Starter
 
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a snob?

Both sets of grandparents were working class. My dad was "lifted up" into the middle class with his white-collar job (first in the family) with an auto company in the Detroit area. I was the first (and will be the only) grandchild on my dad's side to attend college, let alone graduate (I'm also the oldest).

So, very middle-of-the-road middle class.

Does liking things - like classical music, art, classic literature - simply because I like them - that are generally associated with the upper class, when you are MIDDLE class, make you a snob? From the comments I'm getting from some folks I know, comments over the years from family members when they looked at my books, I get the impression this is true.

However, I've got tons of friends of the working class/middle class who like "high culture" things.

I don't lord my tastes over someone, but they get put off just when they seem me reading Dickens (at lunch at a previous office job, for example).

I'm confused...:

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#2 of 44 Old 12-18-2007, 04:03 PM
 
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I'm so mean, but in my head, I finished the title of your post as.....


boring

:



Sorry! I just don't like classical music.

I think liking classical music just makes you someone who likes classical music. I mean, there are radio stations that play it all day, so I don't see why someone who had next to no money but has a radio couldn't enjoy classical music.

And look at Pretty Woman! She LOVED the opera!
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#3 of 44 Old 12-18-2007, 04:15 PM
 
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I think it depends WHY. If you love them because they resonate with you and you just love them, then no of course not, though you're most certainly going to catch flack for it from some people. If you however (and I know the OP said she didn't, just speaking about the royal "you" lol) like fine wine and classical music and Shakespeare because of how it makes you look, then yeah, you're a snob, or at the very least, shallow and boring.

Like everything else, it's all about intent.


p.s., I also can't stand 99% of classical, romantic, etc. music! Nails on a chalkboard. Dh loves Handel's Messiah and plays it every Christmas, and I'm like, will you puh-lease turn this crap off??!
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#4 of 44 Old 12-18-2007, 04:17 PM
 
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I think liking classical music just makes you someone who likes classical music. I mean, there are radio stations that play it all day, so I don't see why someone who had next to no money but has a radio couldn't enjoy classical music.

Totally agree. I'm about as middle-class as they come, and I love classical music. I listen to it almost every day. None of my "upper-class" friends are as knowledgeable about it. Many of them don't have the general interest in the arts as dh and I do. It's just our thing, I guess.
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#5 of 44 Old 12-18-2007, 04:19 PM
 
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ITA with Periwinkle....I know people who are major wine "snobs" Ugh!!! It's totally about what wine goes with what and blah blah blah. I think they DO get something out of knowing all the different details (I equate it to knowing baseball stats....another phenomenon I don't get), but I think they get MORE out of the fact that they know this stuff about wine, and aren't they so cool.... Blech!

It's ALL about intent!
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#6 of 44 Old 12-18-2007, 04:20 PM
 
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It generally says more about the insecurity of the other person, that they are threatened by you merely listening to music and reading books.

I'm always snobbily amused by people who are offended by me reading things they think of as being unnecessarily smart.
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#7 of 44 Old 12-18-2007, 04:22 PM
 
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No, I don't think it makes you a snob, but historically there have been real issues of access to classical music and training and a lot of that had to do with class.

For example, my ex, toad, and her sibs all had classical training and grew up winning competitions and things. Of the seven of them, two had successful high-profile careers and another did some music on the side. Her family, including her grandparents, were all highly education. A master's degree was a minimum for them.

I met her when I was 21--until that point, I had never listened to (much less gone to a concert of) classical music that wasn't background for cartoons. I was the first person in my family to earn a college degree.
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#8 of 44 Old 12-18-2007, 04:23 PM
 
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unnecessarily smart.
Heehee. Unnecessarily smart. I don't even know what would fall into that category, but I like it!
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#9 of 44 Old 12-18-2007, 04:26 PM
 
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I don't think it does. I have always been lower class and the classics were always highly encouraged for us to appreciate. To a certain point. I certainly love classical music and art museums more than your average person because I was taken regularly to our free art museum and my mother always played classical music for me as a kid.

It is quite expensive in some places, though. There's no way I can afford to even just take *me* to the Nutcracker here, but where I used to live, it was affordable. The art museums all cost money, which I can understand, but it does make it so that some people can't afford to regularly expose their kids to the art.

And we get free art and music lessons from dh's work (he's a teacher), so it's one way we can afford it.

I know lots of other "lower class" people who love the classics, too. I don't think it's snobbery. It's personal taste, I guess.

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#10 of 44 Old 12-18-2007, 04:33 PM
 
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I was raised by a middle class single mom that introduced me to all things cultured at a very early age.

I love classical music, fine art (I worked at the Dallas Museum of Art for a while), good literature and quality things in general.
I am a snob : but, does appreciating these things make me a snob? hmm, tough one...
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#11 of 44 Old 12-18-2007, 04:33 PM
 
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ITA with Periwinkle....I know people who are major wine "snobs" Ugh!!! It's totally about what wine goes with what and blah blah blah. I think they DO get something out of knowing all the different details (I equate it to knowing baseball stats....another phenomenon I don't get), but I think they get MORE out of the fact that they know this stuff about wine, and aren't they so cool.... Blech!
Yeah seriously. Can we have a moment of silence for wine snobs. They're the worst of the worst. And most are idiots and you're right... it's about the encylcopedic knowledge and out-doing everyone else, NOT about the enjoyment of the drink.

I'm an anti-wine-snob wine snob. I take personal pleasure in spending $5 for a cheap but delicious bottle of red wine that *certain* people I know oooh and ahhh over and swirl around grotesqely in their mouths then ask me what it is and I'm like, "oh this? eh... it was on sale at Costco.... I think it was $4.99 a bottle.... and it's amazing what Mexico is doing with pinot noir these days and don't you love those cute little screw caps "



Sorry... back to boring music choices. I mean, classical music :
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#12 of 44 Old 12-18-2007, 04:35 PM
 
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Yeah seriously. Can we have a moment of silence for wine snobs. They're the worst of the worst. And most are idiots and you're right... it's about the encylcopedic knowledge and out-doing everyone else, NOT about the enjoyment of the drink.

I'm an anti-wine-snob wine snob. I take personal pleasure in spending $5 for a cheap but delicious bottle of red wine that *certain* people I know oooh and ahhh over and swirl around grotesqely in their mouths then ask me what it is and I'm like, "oh this? eh... it was on sale at Costco.... I think it was $4.99 a bottle.... and it's amazing what Mexico is doing with pinot noir these days and don't you love those cute little screw caps "



Sorry... back to boring music choices. I mean, classical music :
*snort* :

I'm joining the Periwinkle fan club. It's a good color, too.
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#13 of 44 Old 12-18-2007, 04:45 PM
 
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Does liking things - like classical music, art, classic literature - simply because I like them - that are generally associated with the upper class, when you are MIDDLE class, make you a snob? From the comments I'm getting from some folks I know, comments over the years from family members when they looked at my books, I get the impression this is true.

However, I've got tons of friends of the working class/middle class who like "high culture" things.
It used to be normal for everyone to like serious music and high-culture literature. I think when Chuck Berry and the Beatles sang "Roll Over, Beethoven"--they sang it because they actually knew and liked Beethoven! Nothing enhances the enjoyment of popular music like knowing its jazz and blues and classical antecedents.

All this stuff about class and taste serves the interests of people marketing drek. It's of a piece with the anti-intellectualism that tries to persuade people to vote for the person who can't pronounce poly-syllabic words. It's all our culture, we own all of it, and anyone who tries to make you feel bad for what you have in your CD player is a creep.

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#14 of 44 Old 12-18-2007, 04:46 PM
 
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I'm an anti-wine-snob wine snob. I take personal pleasure in spending $5 for a cheap but delicious bottle of red wine that *certain* people I know oooh and ahhh over and swirl around grotesqely in their mouths then ask me what it is and I'm like, "oh this? eh... it was on sale at Costco.... I think it was $4.99 a bottle.... and it's amazing what Mexico is doing with pinot noir these days and don't you love those cute little screw caps "

Any real wine snob should know that there are many, many excellent bottles of wine to be had for less than $10. And screw caps? BRING 'EM ON!
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#15 of 44 Old 12-18-2007, 05:01 PM
 
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Any real wine snob should know that there are many, many excellent bottles of wine to be had for less than $10. And screw caps? BRING 'EM ON!
Okay... so now's where you get to wax philosophic about screw caps and offer data regarding the P values of tests analyzing to what degree they minimize the oxidation of Bordeaux compared to cork.... Ready set go! :



(Just feeling silly, not trying to be, um, rude or anything.
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#16 of 44 Old 12-18-2007, 05:06 PM
 
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I'm the first one in my family to get a college degree too, but I had parents who always indulged my love for the library and a lot of curiousity, so I learned about everyone from Henry Purcell to Miles Davis by browsing in the music section

If you think you're better than other people because of what you read or listen to (from indie rock and manga to opera and Shakespeare), then you're a snob. Otherwise, you're just a person who enjoys stuff. Carry on!
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#17 of 44 Old 12-18-2007, 05:22 PM
 
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I grew up lower middle class, and we're pretty solidly middle class now.

My dad LOVES classical music. He can turn on the classical music station and, within a few minutes of listening to a piece, tell you the composer. I grew up in that environment, took piano lessons for years, and love classical music too.

To me, it has nothing to do with class, or shouldn't, at least. I love what I love. It shouldn't matter why or how much money I have, you know?

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#18 of 44 Old 12-18-2007, 05:34 PM
 
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No, I like classical music. My background is working class, but there are certain appreciations that I keep private because I know that some family/friends cannot comprehend my passion for art, literature and some music.

My best friend, well she loves me, but she finds my interests a little 'odd' sometimes But she wouldn't consider me a 'snob'.

There are some people though, who are 'snobs' when it comes to music, art, literature & food.


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#19 of 44 Old 12-18-2007, 05:44 PM
 
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I was raised on classical music and literature. Never saw it as a snob thing, maybe just a cultural one. My dad just loves classical music, and took me to concerts whenever he could. Every birthday I get a stack of new classical CD's-- my collection is getting huge! And he read good books to my sister and me, long after we were old enough to read on our own-- Great Expectations, Kidnapped, Swiss Family Robinson, Treasure Island, Huckleberry Finn, stuff like that-- until we were maybe 8 and 10 or so. Now I have a burgeoning list of classics I hope to read to my own kiddos.

Whether liking that stuff makes you a snob probably depends on several things: why do you like it? If nobody knew what you listened to/ read, would you read/listen differently? Do you press your knowledge of the greats on others, and/or shame others for not knowing Bach from Beethoven, or Austin from Bronte? Is "classical" the ONLY stuff you like, or can you mix it up? If you can't admit to liking any book written after 1950 or any music post-1900, you may have problems. At the same time, being unable to admit that the old standards are first-class just makes you an anti-snob, which is just as bad. (They're called classic for a reason, ya'll.)

I like Pride and Prejudice, and Persuasion, sure. Also Bridget Jone's Diary, and Harry Potter. I love Bach with a burning passion, but probably listen to more classic rock than classical.

Read what you want, and screw anyone who gives you grief about it, seriously. Tastes in music and literature aren't dictated by "class".

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#20 of 44 Old 12-18-2007, 06:02 PM
 
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Read and listen to what you want. However, I think the issue is whether you'd have an outlet to express what you've read and heard. The lower the class, the possibility to share is lessened.
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#21 of 44 Old 12-18-2007, 06:34 PM
 
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All this stuff about class and taste serves the interests of people marketing drek. It's of a piece with the anti-intellectualism that tries to persuade people to vote for the person who can't pronounce poly-syllabic words. It's all our culture, we own all of it, and anyone who tries to make you feel bad for what you have in your CD player is a creep.
Marry me.

OP...dh and I get this a lot. We've had some family members tell us that "real people" don't read the books we read (contemporary literary fiction, classics, literary biography, etc.) and tell us we're snobs because we don't watch television (although we have never criticized them for watching television). A few years ago, I was reading Susanna Clarke's _Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell_, which isn't even particularly high falutin' literature, and had a family friend make fun of me because of how long it was (900 pages)....as though reading one 900-page book is patently ridiculous, but reading two or three shorter ones isn't. The ironic part about this is that our families/friends are very educated (graduate degrees all around) and upper middle class. So I don't think it's just working-class people who look down on "high" culture. I think it has more to do with an attitude of wanting to "fit in" and be "cool" than about how much money or education one has.

We took Dickens on our honeymoon--I read _David Copperfield_ and dh read _Bleak House_--and if that isn't romantic, I don't know what is! (We went to London, by the way.)
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#22 of 44 Old 12-18-2007, 06:39 PM
 
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Okay... so now's where you get to wax philosophic about screw caps and offer data regarding the P values of tests analyzing to what degree they minimize the oxidation of Bordeaux compared to cork.... Ready set go! :
Now, see - my dh would do that. But, he's not a snob - he just likes to research everything that catches his attention.


I definitely don't think liking things makes you a snob. My mom was a university drop out who worked as a waitress when she met my dad. My dad was a furniture mover (for over 40 years before he retired). They both loved 50s rock and country music, and my mom loved classical. When they could afford it, she bought seasons tickets to the symphony. I went with her sometimes. I don't love it as much as she did/does, but I love it. I don't know one composer from another most of the time, but I don't care. I love to listen to it...and I'm a lower middle-class (maybe) slob, not a snob. Hey...if liking classical makes me a snob, but what does liking AC/DC make me?

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#23 of 44 Old 12-18-2007, 06:58 PM
 
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What if you're a mixture?

I love literature, including so-called 'highbrow'/intellectual/arcane stuff like Les Miserables and ancient Finnish sagas. However, I'm not so keen on classical music--if Mozart comes on the playlist on random, I tend to tune it out. It doesn't bug me, I just don't love it.

DH, on the other hand, adores classical music (and can whistle complicated Mozart tunes with incredible agility--one of the few people I've met whose whistling is actually pleasant to listen to!). But he's barely read a work of fiction since he was 12, wouldn't know which century Dickens wrote in, probably couldn't tell me if Jane Eyre was an author or a book.

So who's more highbrow? I like arthouse cinema, he likes action films... I can't stand the taste of alcohol, he has at least a vague idea which kinds of wine and spirits he likes... he'd probably enjoy going to the opera more than me, but I'd probably enjoy going to the ballet more than he... we both love Broadway and musical theatre, which has struck certain people as 'highbrow' of us, although I don't really think it is... So who knows?!

Not claiming not to be a snob, of course. I'm almost certainly a snob--but probably more because of what I don't watch/read/listen to than what I do. What I like, I like just because I like it!

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#24 of 44 Old 12-18-2007, 07:18 PM
 
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I think it's only "snob"-like if you have contempt toward people who don't share your knowlege or appreciation or access. Be it music/wine/yarn/literature, whatever.


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#25 of 44 Old 12-18-2007, 07:39 PM
 
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Absolutely not.

I grew up broke, and love to listen to early polyphony. Nothing makes me happier than an Anonymous 4 performance, or a cd of Palistrina. I lived in NYC until 2004, so I went to the Metropolitan museum of art and the Cloisters alot.

I love to read gothic lit.

Really, I know lots of snobs who wouldn't know a single classical composer or book if you smacked them with it.
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#26 of 44 Old 12-18-2007, 07:41 PM
 
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Does liking things - like classical music, art, classic literature - simply because I like them - that are generally associated with the upper class, when you are MIDDLE class, make you a snob?
No. Why should you limit your experiences and enjoyment or stifle your tastes and interests based on what some other person conceives as inappropriate for your perceived "class"? Ridiculous. Enjoy what you enjoy. Be who you are.
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#27 of 44 Old 12-18-2007, 08:12 PM
 
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Does liking things - like classical music, art, classic literature - simply because I like them - that are generally associated with the upper class, when you are MIDDLE class, make you a snob?
No and anyone who tells you that is mean and wants to drag you down.

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#28 of 44 Old 12-18-2007, 10:29 PM - Thread Starter
 
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It generally says more about the insecurity of the other person, that they are threatened by you merely listening to music and reading books.

I'm always snobbily amused by people who are offended by me reading things they think of as being unnecessarily smart.
I think this has to be it! Like my reading X reflects badly on them.

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#29 of 44 Old 12-18-2007, 10:30 PM - Thread Starter
 
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No and anyone who tells you that is mean and wants to drag you down.
Thank you!

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#30 of 44 Old 12-18-2007, 11:18 PM
 
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I've had a few people give me grief because I enjoy listening to and playing classical music. I read classical literature (and pretty much everything else I can get my hands on). I also have a fairly decent vocabulary and use whatever word I feels fits best in the situation.

I hate being teased for using a word that contains more than three syllables.

A few members of my husbands family gives me a hard time about it because they claim that they celebrate their redneck roots where "we don't go learnin any of dem big words".

I don't say boo to anyone about their choices in literature, music, or anything else. But I always seem to run into people who don't like me because "I think I'm better than them."

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