Perpetual Pretentiousness Prejudice

I’ve been accused of reverse snobbery more than once in my life. I wonder if this a particularly British thing as I don’t know of many other places quite so obsessed with the ‘class system’. I had a pretty pathological distrust of anyone who attended public school and attendees of what I now know to refer to as the Russell Group universities. Especially Bristol University. This was ingrained in me from a pretty early age and reinforced over the years. It wasn’t until I was pretty well established professionally that I started to let go of these prejudices. Well at least somewhat.

In recent years though it seems to have been replaced by a kind of reverse pretentiousness. I regularly find myself biting my tongue or grinding my teeth when another cultural phenomenon emerges that seems to exist only to create middle class conversation pieces.

When I was younger this seemed the exclusive province of wine bores, foreign film aficionados and perhaps the occasional bearded CAMRA member but these days it seems inescapable.

The coffee snobs seem the worst to me. Made more frustrating by the number of them that are close friends. Now I don’t drink coffee so perhaps I missed the point where it stopped being a hot beverage that helped with hangovers and instead became some kind of everyday ambrosia. People make their search for a decent ‘flat white’ (whatever the fuck that is) sound like the quest for the Holy Grail (and not the fun Monty Python version).

Another bug bear is the whole Scandinavian television obsession. If you remade Hollyoaks in Norwegian and put it on BBC4 it would probably find it self live blogged on the Guardian! Actually that isn’t fair — Hollyoaks would still be more fun 😉

Even my beloved beer has been corrupted. As if the CAMRA folk were not enough to deal with the craft beer hipsters have taken it to a whole new level. I recently had to wait 10 minutes to be served at a bar while the barman waxed lyrically about the history and brewing process of a particular beer. He then sold the customer a half. I’m not convinced on the return on investment there. Here is the thing though — I enjoy many of these craft beers. I like an American IPA a great deal and I, for the most part, enjoy the ambiance of these new bars. I also enjoy a number of real ales and the occasional pint of Red Stripe. There is a time and a place for all of them. In my world at least.

I’m even less forgiving when it comes to novels but I blame my degree for that. The minute anyone starts to try to convince me that stuff is ‘literature’ it moves straight to my ‘never gonna read’ list — alongside anything from the first couple of years of my BA and anything by Will Self.

Finally the affection that has longest annoyed me is the one that surrounds comics books. The entire creation of a term ‘graphic novels’ so that people who are ashamed to admit they still read stories with pictures and speech bubbles can feel better about themselves. It then is reinforced by people creating lists like this of the greatest ‘graphic novels’ that carefully avoid anything that might have been populist. I read comic books. Sometimes they are singles and sometimes they are collections. Occasionally they were written to be a single volume but most often they are not. They are always comics though.

Anyway I am aware this kind of reverse pretentiousness is as annoying to others as all this is to me so I will continue to try to be tolerant. That is unless I am kept waiting at the bar again. Some things are unforgivable.

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