Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Rise of Cultural Snobbery

I don't know if this is a recent thing, but I am continually frustrated by the rise of cultural snobbery.

What I mean by that is the notion that anything 'mainstream' is automatically dubbed crap by self-proclaimed hipsters who always choose the less well-known music, films, TV shows etc. There's almost an underlying competitiveness to it all (see the image above as my case in point).

I have a problem with this, mainly because – in the case of music, for example – I am known to listen to artists who have sold millions of albums. Yet, at the same time, I have listened to music by more obscure artists (thanks, mainly, to the wonderful Spotify music service). 

Does that mean I am 'betraying' those less successful artists? Am I letting the side down and succumbing to sub-standard cultural offerings when I could have so much more?

I certainly feel a bit like I am.

I could just call them 'guilty pleasures', so as to justify myself. Saying that seems to let you off the hook. Oh, he's having a guilty pleasure. Those are allowed once in a while.

I like to think that I don't totally follow the crowd. I'm a Christian, for starters. That's pretty unusual in today's secular, 'enlightened' Britain. I use a Mac (okay, I admit that ten years ago they were regarded with suspicion but not anymore). I drive a Skoda (even though they've gained credibility over the years, most regular people still look down on them). I don't drink excessive amounts of alcohol. I don't watch football.

Erm, okay that's about it.

I'm left-handed – does that count?

Okay, maybe I'm not as hip and alternative as I'd like to be. I'm a sheep, but at least I know I'm a sheep. That makes a huge difference.

I think, as always, we have the internet to blame. With the likes of Facebook, people can display their culturally superior feathers at the rest of us simpletons. Even though most people aren't doing it to rub others noses in it, culturally-inadequate plebs like me always feel left out, and a part of me is indignant that I haven't heard The Rainforest Tractor Collective's latest EP 'Starshine milkshake is better than the velcro boots you sent me last Thursday' as released on limited edition blue vinyl.

So let's not look down on each other. Let's embrace the muli-cultured and diverse world in which we live and let the obscure run alongside the mainstream, because one day your cherished band that no-one has ever heard of just might suddenly hit the big time and appear on – God forbid – Britain's Got Talent.

So what about you? Are you hip? Or mainstream?

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