Tokyo Damage Report


I don’t like the term ‘snob’, because it means ‘you think your neighborhood’s culture is superior to everyone else’s – which is how EVERYONE thinks, for christ’s sake – but it’s only applied to rich people.

The only special thing about rich people’s contempt for different cultures is, they control the media, so their point of view is amplified unfairly.  Or how cops listen to complaints from affluent gentrifiers about how people act in the street, but cops don’t listen to more serious complaints from longtime (poor) residents, about more serious problems (slumlords, wage theft).

So why not criticize the inequality itself (i.e. unequal access to media / police protection / etc), rather than the very normal, common, parochial behavior of holding other social classes in contempt? (I’m using words like ‘common’ and ‘parochial’ on purpose, because the term ‘snob’ -though negative- still flatters the upper classes that they alone possess the finesse to be judgmental about petty bullshit)

The term ‘snob’ lets the rich off for their structural advantages while letting poors and suburbers off the hook for being just as closed-minded.  Plus, like every other label in today’s dumb discourse, there’s the childish tendency to reduce questions of morality or identity to yes or no answers.

I mean, am I a snob?

I like AC/DC, Foghat, and David Foster Wallace.

I am bored to tears by football and baseball, but also by regattas and polo.

I hate apostrophe’s in place’s there not s’upposed to go, but I also hate when people use polysyllabic obscure jargon – excuse me – when people use big words to hide the fact that they don’t have a point.

I’m scared of bars, but hate the kind of restaurants where shorts are frowned upon. You tell me if I’m a snob.


But if I’m too complex for yes/no labels like ‘snob’, that doesn’t mean I’m exceptional or unique. I think most people are just as hard to pigeon-hole, if you look at their tastes in that amount of detail. We all judge those both below and above us, and of course suburb-ers are famous for even hating ourselves.  Again, it’s a combination of [the reductive yes/no labels], and [avoiding the power imbalances of class] which makes ‘snob’ such a frustrating term.


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