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The Subtleties of Snobbery

Of course it is ridiculous to be a snob? Yet it would seem everybody is a snob about something and doesn't that make us all a little ridiculous? 
'Take that book off the shelf if they are coming round or place the New York Review of Books over it.
I have been guilty of such inverse acts of snobbery.  Although we are class ridden, especially so in the UK
and I would imagine the Easter seaboard of the United States, we deem it, well, you know vulgar to talk about class, so we remain in the class closet, so it would be vulgar to talk about class, 'oh the 'working classes' they are just impossible to talk to',
well they are not really middle class, more lover middle class.'
There is a story going round that Prince Harry's friends found it hilarious that Carole Middleton, the mother of  the oh see near the crown, Duchess of Cambridge, when they heard that shee actually kept her tomatoes in the fridge. So what had them falling about with laughter?  Well, that they might have found
an arriviste in their midst, yea a parvenu, someone who had been found out who was aspiring to be one
of 'us' but actually wasn't
Amongst a certain class of people and this applies across the board there is an  antennae for social nuance, that would make me better than you.

Class snobbery depends on collusion and in England it is the upper and lower middle classes who form the firmest alliance. The social aspirations of the English lower middle class are finely calibrated In England there is a pride in knowing your place and respecting your 'betters' 
In the UK John Vincent said Margaret Thatcher was ‘the point at which all snobberies meet’, for she represented the compacted prejudices of the nation. The dislike she aroused was couched in terms of condescension that had nothing to do with policy. Mary Warnock objected to her clothes, her Oxford tutor Dorothy Hodgkin famously brushed her off as ‘a perfectly good second-class chemist.

Anthony Powell,  the writer was the snob’s snob, whose obsession in his fiction and his life with heredity and recondite forms of etiquette was epitomised by his insistence that his name was pronounced ‘poel’. As his Telegraph obituary explained, this was because the family had been traced back to ‘the early kings and princes of Wales’, albeit with the deflationary qualifier that it had been traced only ‘by himself’.

Debrett’s: Ask the Expert’, turned its attention last September to the question of what to wear to interviews. Debrett’s answer, citing a recent report by the Social Mobility Commission, strongly recommended against ‘brown shoes, ill-fitting suits, garish ties and poor haircuts’ which were looked at askance as part of ‘a wider bias against applicants from less privileged backgrounds who may be lacking the “polish” of their upper-middle-class, better Universities, educated contemporaries’. The justification for this, as old as snobbery itself, is that the brown-shoe wearer would simply not ‘fit in’.

Even if your child attains the higher echelons of academia Oxford/Cambridge in the UK, once there your oh so brilliant child will discover there are some Colleges that rank higher than others, 'oh a pity you couldn't make it to 'this' College,'I have first hand experience of that. She went to Cambridge? Groan,
couldn't make it to Oxford then?

Food can be a veritable Sherlock Holmes in exposing your culinary crimes; especially how you deal with artichokes, or asparagus, do you eat the whole thing or just the top?  And if you go to dinner or invite others to dinner, the snobbism of  book choice casually lying around is a dead give away, especially French Country Cooking which might give an effect of oh so effortless sophistication,  And if your hostess enquires of you before you have got your coat off where one might find some Membrillo or Stilton Quiche, you know you are in for an evening with an upwardly mobile snob.

However as you try to keep up the UK smart set has already shot past in the opposite direction. At the peak of his heroic social climbing a UK grandee Jeffrey Archer’s annual Christmas party invited politicians and film stars to tuck into 'shepherd’s pie'. The Ivy (a very fashionable London restaurant) prides itself on its 'fish pie' it takes the confidence of an aristocrat to carry off such simplicity.

So in the snob race, if you want to keep up with 'them' you will find 'they' are always one step ahead,
because 'they' don't you to be one of 'them'.

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