I was on Facebook the other day and saw a couple of my friends commenting on a video featuring a lovely song that was arranged beautifully. My friends were commenting about how they disliked one of the singer's voices. I listened to the song and was annoyed at how snobbish they were being. I actually wrote a comment that said, "Have you guys ever thought about all the great things you're missing by being snobs?"
Thankfully, I took a moment before I published the (quite rude) comment to think about the hypocrisy of it.
I may not be a music snob, but I'm certainly a snob about other things. Especially when it comes to literature. I'm not super well-read by any means, but as an English major and a classics lover, I've started to let my love for (what I consider to be) the best literature drift over to snobbery about the average books.
So I started thinking: Is it a bad thing to be a literary snob? (I kind of think it is.) Are there levels of snobbery, and can I just be sort of a low-level snob? (Enter justification.) And perhaps most importantly: Am I missing out on great literature by being too much of a snob?
Part of me says no. After all, there are way too many good books in the world for me to ever read them all, so as long as I'm reading good books as often as I can (whether they're classics or not), then even if I am missing a lot of other good books, it's inevitable anyway. Right?
But another part me says that yes, I am missing out. I'm limiting myself from exploring genres I don't typically read, like sci-fi and kidlit. I may be reading good books all the time, but I'm not necessarily expanding my experience. I'm not being a well-rounded reader, and I can only relate to a certain number of people.
I've had somewhat of an epiphany: Snobbery is just a cheap way to feel better about ourselves.
Even if I do read a sci-fi book or two and don't love it, that doesn't mean I have to scorn people who do. (Even inwardly.) So, a lot of people like YA. What's wrong with that? Sure, there are things I don't like about it, but I don't have to make snap judgments about people who enjoy the genre. I don't have to think I'm somehow better than them. I can just accept that they enjoy different kinds of books than I do. What other people read doesn't lessen my reading experience.
What do you think? Is there merit in literary snobbery (or do you have a nicer name you like to call it)?