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We are all officially reverse snobs!

Mike G | Aug 4, 200211:41 AM

From today's Tribune book section, an interview with Northwestern prof Joseph Epstein, who has written a book about snobbery which, apparently, you're no one if you haven't read:

"Reverse snobbery is as it sounds. It's snobbery that entails directly going the other way that snobs are going. For example, a serious reverse snob would probably not be caught dead driving a Mercedes, Lexus or BMW. A reverse snob would avoid Oak Street at all costs and probably not want to live in Lincoln Park either, because it's just too stinking fashionable. [Note to Joseph Epstein: you might want to substitute Bucktown the next time you give this stock answer, you're dating yourself.] A reverse snob's idea of a swell meal would be an Italian beef and sausage combo, not dinner sitting in the kitchen at Charlie Trotter's."

So I guess that pretty much covers all of us (well, except me, who dines on foam every night and drives an ermine-lined Stutz Bearcat). And you thought you liked Gene & Jude's because you liked it. You snob.

There's not much to say about such silliness, except that, of course, the universe that divides itself into snobs and reverse snobs has no place left for the amateur enthusiast who simply and honestly likes what he likes. And, in most unsnobbish fashion, is enthusiastic enough to want it to share it with any likeminded person (surely that's the defining unsnobbish or un-reverse-snobbish trait). By definition, it seems to me, if you've ever posted a recommendation here, you're outside Epstein's universe.

In another part of the interview Epstein is speculating on what would make the ultimate dinner party in various cities-- in New York, dinner at Mike Nichols' and Diane Sawyer's with Robert DeNiro and Gore Vidal in attendance, in Los Angeles a party for the Clinton's at the Spielberg's. (Either of which would make my skin crawl, frankly.) Epstein can't find a Chicago equivalent-- he's a bit, well, snobbish on the idea of dinner with Ditka or Jordan [note to Epstein: they've moved]-- but I would be honored to have dinner with a certain Northwestern professor and author of thoughtful and provocative books on American society. I wonder if Garry Wills has ever been to Superdawg?

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