Snobbery, and other challenging behaviours

There is a certain class of writers that I observe with increasingly decreasing patience.  They know who they are: pseudo-intellects that insist on European spellings (see “behaviours”), constantly talk about art as if they created the idea, and drop names of people no one casually hears about.  They speak as though reading from a thesaurus, and you can hear their snobbish, East-coast, nasal whining through their writing.  They talk casually about architecture in a way that no one should casually talk about architecture.  They know and think way too much about wine.  Everything is chic or passé and, of course, they are the authority on EVERYTHING.

What or who has instigated this tirade, you might ask?  What brought on this particular disloyal rant of defiance? (disloyal because I, too, am a writer, that on occasion refers to a thesaurus, I will confess; but that does not make me one of them).  I wish I could say.  I wish I could narrow it down to one particular author, one particular incidence.  But I can’t.  Just once, I would like to read something by someone smart, only they don’t know they’re smart, or, at the very least, they are not encumbered by it.  You know?

Does anyone know what I am talking about?  It is like they have a learning disability, only it as an intellectual disability.  They are disabled by their learning and smugness.  It is too much.

I’m not just making this up.  It is an evidence based practice.  Or evidence-based (these insistent intellectuals heart their hyphens: “-” = L-O-V-E).  You don’t need a degree from a national training institute to be annoyed by this.  If you can read, you have a right to be angry.

For example, the other day I was reading this book about a man and his dog.  Salt of the earth stuff, right?  But then he used the word “flaneuse.”  As though in total passing.  As if this is a word we have all been using casually since middle school (or is it “middle-school”?  or “middleschool”?  I’m sure this guy would have an opinion.  And of course he would be right; they always are).  Just a couple pages later, he references, super casual, almost as an aside, Gene Krupa (whoever that is).  Not that s/he isn’t important, or even not a household name (depending on the house).  But the way the author just casually threw about these huge words and casual artsy/worldly/wordy references.  It is just so presumptuous.  And calculated in its casualness.  How much is one supposed to stomach?

(Later he referred to “ofsted,” as if I was supposed to know what that meant or was.  I could have looked it up, I suppose.  Instead I threw the entire book out the window in disgust).

I wouldn’t call this a personality disorder or a psychiatric disorder per se (or “per se,” these guys always love their italics), but enough, as they say, is enough.  The writing is on the wall.  They must be stopped.  Time for remedial measures, even if it requires some thinking outside the box.

Who is with me?

15 thoughts on “Snobbery, and other challenging behaviours

  1. I once heard a man break out the word Heideggerian over the breakfast table. This was a man who was far too intense and incapable of breaking character.

    As to annoying, pretentious phrases, I’d add: “as it were” and “if you will.”

    What was the book about the dog and the man? Watchers by Dean Koontz? The Dog that Could Not Bark by that Cesar guy?

    • “As it were” and “if you will,” if used in complete seriousness, are indeed indicators of one who is way, way too tightly wound. Perhaps every now and again in jest, or with tongue in proverbial cheek (adding “proverbial” to that same list).

      Well, it wasn’t Old Yeller.

      Nor was it Where the Red Fern Goes.

      And it certainly wasn’t The Pokey Little Puppy (this last one, in my experience, truly, the best piece of canine literature out there).

  2. It was not Dean Koontz. It is actually a newer author. I was going to give him a pass (hey, at least he’s trying). I was even going to give him another chance. So I went into the alley, retrieved the book, and decided to continue with my reading. And I tell you, I hadn’t made it 3 pages when he used the term “Bourgeois.” And that was it. I threw the book, Drinking with Miss Dutchie, by Ed Breslin, right back out the window, never to return. Anyone who uses “Bourgeois” and “flaneuse” deserves a little good-natured skewering.

      • Unfortunately, I’ve already got that figured out: Dog the Bounty Hunter. And that is what we should do: become Bounty Hunters. Can you imagine how terrified people would be when the two of us came knocking on their door? They would be begging to be handcuffed and taken away peacefully. But I’m afraid they would be out of luck.

  3. “Flaneuse,” as it turns out, does not have a direct translation in English. It comes from the masculine French word flaneur, which has been described as “gentleman stroller of city streets.” And while I have no problem with flaneurs as people, one who would use “flaneuse,” a word not appearing in other than the unabridged version of Merriam Webster’s Dictionary, is trying too hard.

    • I gave up on that set after about 9 volumes. They were old and crumbly, but I just couldn’t. I don’t know about the OED, but whatever it says is right.

      • Old and crumbly is nice, but you can only take so much.

        I’m not contesting the authority of the OED. If I had a copy, I would carry it around with me ALWAYS.

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