Man, people are the worst, right? But there’s a specific type of person who permeates almost every aspect of life: the snob. Snobs are generally sort of a mile wide and a foot deep. They can be found in any interest, but generally don’t represent the majority of folks with that interest. Case in point: I like beer, many other people like beer, but beer snobs are awful. That said, beer snobs make up a very small portion of beer enthusiasts. This got me thinking: what are the worst kinds of snobs?
Now, before we get into the list, I want to define what I mean by “snob.” “Snob” means someone who is both very knowledgeable and enthusiastic on a subject and is also a total dick about it when interacting with someone less knowledgeable on said subject. There are plenty of enthusiastic people who know a great deal about a subject. They might even privately look down on people who we could say are casual observers. But, if they keep those thoughts to themselves, they’re not a snob.
Okay. Onto the list!
9. Coffee Snobs
Ah, the coffee snob. The coffee snob often overlaps with the general description of a hipster. When I hear the phrase “coffee snob,” I think of a man in his late 20s wearing chukka boots, skinny jeans, a plaid shirt, and suspenders. The hair on his head is fashionably short on the sides and fashionably long on top. The hair on his face is stubbly, except for the giant turn-of-the-twentieth-century barber mustache kept so meticulous with little scissors and a jar of mustache wax. Sometimes it’s a person with a communications degree who’s working at Starbucks until something in the communications field becomes available. Of course, that’s not a universal description of every single coffee snob, but you get the idea.
Coffee snobs like asking a lot of questions that they know less-informed coffee drinkers can’t answer. “Do you prefer arabica or robusta? Do you want something from Africa or something from South America? What kind of whole-bean coffee do you make at home? How long do you like to roast your raw coffee beans?” Coffee drinkers largely don’t know the answers to those questions. And they don’t care. I love coffee, but I like drinking Folgers Breakfast Blend black and couldn’t begin to tell you the difference between Colombian coffee and Ethiopian coffee. You know why? Because it doesn’t matter to me. I’m drinking coffee because it’s 6:15 a.m. and I want a jolt of energy. The reason this snob isn’t higher on the list is because they’re generally relegated to coffee shops. You’re unlikely to see this side of anyone at a party or work function or whatever.
8. Movie Snobs
I’m not talking about movie buffs. People who just love cinema and watch a lot of movies and reminisce about Old Hollywood are fine. I’m talking about snobs. People who only call them “films.” People who judge you for only watching movies in the language you actually speak and understand. And people who talk about a lot of technical crap in casual conversation. “Oh, yeah, I really loved the director’s choice to allow the key grip to add angled lighting so you could really see the frown on Humphrey Bogart’s face in better contrast.” Who cares? I mean, if that’s something you look for in a movie and honestly adds something to it for you, awesome. But if someone replies to that comment with, “what do you mean?” and you just scoff and condescendingly explain what you mean, you’re the worst.
The problem, of course, is that movie snobs can be found anywhere. They are the Viet Cong of snobs. Hiding, sometimes in plain sight, and ready to ambush you at any moment. Sometimes they even set traps like the VC. They’ll purposely say something about the cinematography because even casual moviegoers kind of know what that is. And when you fall into the trap by saying, “I agree, the cinematography in 1917 was fantastic,” they jump on you with some other crap. “Oh, well did you know cinematographer Sir Roger Deakins also did the cinematography in Skyfall? What’s your favorite Deakins movie?” And they ask it just to watch the unassuming casual movie buff squirm.
7. Board Game Snobs
There’s a balance to be struck here. On one hand, you’re unlikely to run into a board game snob unless you voluntarily put yourself near one. On the other hand, if you do that, you will absolutely meet with one of the more severe types of snobs. If it wasn’t for a lack of general accessibility, this might have been the number one worst snob. And I want to clarify that I’m not talking about people who like board games, have a lot of board games, bring many different board games with them to social gatherings, or anything like that. I’m talking about people who, like coffee snobs, ask you a bunch of esoteric questions that only serve to entertain themselves as the respondent clearly struggles to comprehend the question itself.
Here is a Wikipedia page on board games and categories thereof. I was once asked what my favorite deduction game was. I was so confused I literally didn’t even know I was being asked about board games. My reply was, “what in the hell is a deduction game?” They responded with a hall of fame eye roll and said, “obviously it’s a game where you win by deducing the answer.” Turns out they were talking about games like Clue, where you take in information and ultimately determine (or “deduce”) the solution to the game. Any game where you have to use clues to find a treasure or whatever. But the worst part of that whole exchange was the satisfied smirk on that neckbearded, fedora-wearing snob as he realized I had no clue (pardon the pun) what he was walking about.
6. Food Snobs
Food snobbery is harder to pinpoint, which in itself makes it a dangerous category of snob. There are subtle differences between snobs and picky eaters, snobs and Food Network viewers, snobs and professional cooks, and snobs and food critics. Food snobs are also unique in that often they are uneducated in the food itself but think they’re better than you because they’ll talk about presentation and use terms like “mouthfeel,” “umami,” “fusion,” “deconstructed,” and “rustic” simply because they’ve heard those terms on TV. Sometimes they’ll even try to pass chicken nuggets off as chicken piccata.
And again, just being like that isn’t enough to be a snob. What makes someone like that a snob is when they judge others out loud. True story time: I was once at a Texas Roadhouse with some people for a work thing. The Food Snob (“FS”) in the group was waxing poetic about how the restaurant was arranged, how the rolls were served, how the steaks were presented in front of the kitchen, and how he was disappointed that he had to choose his own side dishes instead of the menu having a “meal” that included an entrée, starch, and green. When the food was delivered, FS sent his back because it wasn’t “plated in an appetizing way.” Seriously. FS sent his $18.99 steak dinner back just to be re-plated because he didn’t like that the steak was in the middle of the plate with mashed potatoes on one side and green beans on the other. At Texas Roadhouse. Where he paid less than $20 for a steak dinner. Unbelievable.
5. Wine Snobs
Wine snobs would be higher on the list, but they’ve done a very clever thing and embraced the snobbery. “Yes, I am a wine snob,” they said collectively. Wine snobs tend to stay to themselves these days, sitting in private wine clubs or congregating at someone’s house. But occasionally you’ll catch one out in the open, and boy are they the worst. Oh, man. I can’t even…I don’t even know where to begin. They’ll make comments about the wine you’re drinking with the food. “Oh, you’re having a merlot with duck a l’orange? Pfuh.” It’s never a full chuckle. Just a little “pfuh,” sound. And even if they approve your choice of grape, they’ll judge you for the quality of wine you’re drinking. “Oh, you decided to go with that pinot grigio? I found that a little acidic, but then again you’ll get that sometimes with budget wines.” That’s how they make fun of you for being poor. So pretentious.
We need to talk about Frasier for a second. Aside from giving us this absolute gem of dialogue (pictured), the show also lampooned wine snobs perfectly. “Oh, for God’s sake, Niles! That wine spent less time in the bottle!” “Please, prepare to be stomped like a late-harvest Gewürztraminer” (pronounced “guh-VURTZ-truh-meen-er”). So great. Frasier is a really underappreciated show by folks my age. Anyhow, they pretty much nailed it. Wine snobs are ridiculous and annoying. But for the fact that they tend to keep to their own, they’d be nearer the top of the list. As an aside, you should really watch the movie Somm, about some guys preparing for the sommelier test. (Quick shoutout to our own Blaze Fyre for recommending Somm to me.) Fascinating.
4. Pet Snobs
Pet snobs are the most dichotomized. You are either a pet snob or you are not. Pet snobs judge you for many things. Dogs versus cats. “conventional” pets versus unconventional pets such as snakes, exotic birds, or piglets. Rescue versus bred. Pedigree versus mutt. I want to focus on the rescue versus bred bunch, because they are the most vocal and the most hostile.
I agree that rescuing pets is a great thing. Our dog Ollie (pictured with his pure-bred German Shepherd “brother” Apollo) is a rescue. Getting an animal from the shelter is a noble thing to do because you’re providing a home for an animal that is otherwise unwanted. That said, rescuing doesn’t put you on the fast track to sainthood. There are reputable breeders who do great jobs ensuring their animals are bred and raised in ethical, safe environments. And if someone wishes to have a purebred dog from one of those breeders, that’s okay, too. The real bad guys in the pet raising world are those who run mills where female animals are exploited dangerously and their offspring are raised in gross, unsafe conditions. Those people suck. But other than that, people should be able to own a dog or cat or whatever without the harsh judgment of a snob.
3. Book Snobs
It was difficult for me, personally, to put this one so low on the list because this is probably the type of snob I hate the most. I love reading. I read all the time. Fiction, nonfiction, whatever. It doesn’t matter. I read because I enjoy it. And I think reading should be encouraged, regardless of content. If someone wants to only read biographies of World War II leaders, go for it. Maybe you’re an adult who only reads Dr. Seuss books? Sure. Whatever. It’s harmless to read what you enjoy reading. And this isn’t limited to hard copies of books. I don’t like e-readers and I don’t like listening to books on tape, but if you like that and you’re able to enjoy it more because of that, go for it! Reading is wonderful.
But then there’s the “well, the book was better” crowd. These are folks who refuse to let others enjoy movies and tv shows adapted from books. I love Harry Potter. I re-read the entire series every year. But I hate the movies because they leave stuff out, add stuff in, and generally run contrary to my mental image of the HP world. But do I judge others for watching the movies? Of course not! If someone wants to watch an HP movie, I don’t care. Same with Lord of the Rings, the Jason Bourne series, Hercule Poirot, and any other movie ever made adapted from a book. It doesn’t matter. They are two different media with largely separate target audiences. Just let people enjoy what they enjoy. Is that so hard?
2. Beer Snobs
I want to begin by saying that I am a recovering beer snob. It was a dark time in my life. I was stressed out all the time, felt lost and aimless, and desperately wanted a way to feel better than others. But I’m in recovery. It’s been six years since the last time I told someone I’d rather drink warm cat piss than a Bud Light. I know that one is never fully free of these kinds of demons, but every day I feel a bit stronger.
Anyway, beer snobs are the worst. There’s a lot of overlap with the coffee snobs on this one, except the craft beer industry has really enabled beer snobs to be out in the open more. Asking condescending questions about hops selection, quality of water, number of barrels produced, type of conditioning used, and the proper glass for a given beer is unnecessary and stupid. Yes, I know that beer will taste a little different depending on the temperature it’s served at, the glass it’s drunk from, and a million other factors. And yes, whenever possible, I try to consume beer in a way that maximizes enjoyability. But beer should be enjoyed. If someone enjoys room temperature Coors Light, then more power to them. It’s not my business, and I don’t need to be an ass about it.
1. Music Snobs
Oh, man. This is a tough one because almost every day I have to stop myself from being a music snob. I love music. I love learning about music, playing music (poorly), thinking about music, and talking about music. In fact, I’ve been known exhibit some top-tier douchebaggery by saying things like, “yeah it’s good, but you gotta listen to it in mono on vinyl. It really affects how the music provokes your senses.” I hate being that guy; 99% of the time I avoid being that guy, but I slip sometimes. My wife has a godawful taste in music, so having to deal with nothing by Billboard Top 40 when she controls the radio has made me a more patient man because I don’t want to start a fight by criticizing Taylor Swift. That said, Forever Young Records in Grand Prairie, Texas happens to be my happy place.
Anyway, music snobs have the same problem that movie and book snobs have: they refuse to allow people to just enjoy what they enjoy. If EDM makes you happy, then what do I care? I have no reason to point out that any idiot with a MacBook could make that noise and call it music. Same thing with three-chord, cheesy, chintzy, bubblegum pop. If One Direction puts you in a happy place, that’s fine. It shouldn’t bother me or anyone else. And for covers of songs? Forget about it. “I love that Jimi Hendrix song, ‘All Along the Watchtower'” is something I’ve heard several times. And I’ve pointed out that that song is, in fact, a Bob Dylan song that Jimi covered. But you know what? That doesn’t matter. It’s okay for someone to not know that. And it’s okay to admit that Jimi’s version is better. It’s completely harmless.
The List is Incomplete
Well, not really. This particular list is complete. But I meant that there are many other types of snob out there. Fashion snobs. Car snobs. Gun snobs (especially here in Texas). Sports snobs. Spirit snobs (whiskey, vodka, gin, etc.). If it involves equipment in any way, there’s a snob for that. If it involves art in any way, there’s a snob for that. And if it involves anything that a person could possibly judge another for, there’s definitely a snob for that. All we can do is sit back and try to avoid becoming “that guy.”