The argument goes that preserving a proper, professional environment means enforcing standards in attire. Uniforms, after all, are a good way to promote unity in schools, in the military, and in a lot of professional environments. No one is saying that you can't do that. But it's also insanely obvious that sometimes it's just an excuse for people to be sexist, racist, or just exclusionary dicks -- like the bar in New York City which made up a rule banning "baggy jeans and bling," but had no problem with ripped jeans, baseball hats, and "stylishly" filthy backpacks (just typing that phrase made me realize that not only am I no longer cool, but I have no interest in it whatsoever).
"Sure, but wash it."
For a social species, it's weird how obsessed we are with being exclusionary and condescending. We don't want to admit to ourselves that we're talking down to people, so we come up with arbitrary rules which just so happen to keep a certain type out, and then shrug our shoulders and say, "Hey, it's just the way things are." (For an example, scroll down to the comments!) Or we just come up with labels for people we don't like. Labels like "outsider" or "snob."
"Pretentious" Isn't Even the Right Word
The problem with outsnobbing the snobs is the same as the problem with staring into the abyss: It stares back, and eventually you become the monster you sought to destroy. I understood that from the beginning. By teaching you how to trounce this fictional snob at this fictional party, I've infected myself with snobbery. Now I'm a monster, and there's no place for me in this world, so let my final act be one of sacrifice.
Before you call me "pretentious," realize that "pretentious" doesn't mean what you think. Its root word is "pretense," which means "false" or "an attempt to make something that is not the case appear true. Technically, "pretentious" only refers to people or ideas that pretend to have ideas that they don't actually have. But it is usually used to refer to people that are full of themselves, or impressed with their own importance. Cockiness. When Damien Lindelof described himself as "pretentious" on the Prometheus commentary track, he wasn't calling himself a liar -- he was just saying that he liked to show off his knowledge. Ironically, he was in fact exposing himself as an idiot, because the word he was trying to use is "sententious," which means "given to moralizing in a pompous or affected manner." Or "sanctimonious."
This is my absolute favorite fact, because it is so devastatingly pretentious. I mean "sententious." Wait ... using the word "pretentious" there makes it pretentious. I'm going to stop this paragraph now, because it sucks.
Anyway, it's clearly too late for me. I'll never be able to take myself seriously again, and neither will anyone reading this. But please, use what I've taught you here to go out and make the world a better place. And remember me as I was before I wrote this insufferable goddamn article.
JF Sargent is an editor and columnist for Cracked, and something of a snob, if we're going to be totally honest. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook.
Find out why the snobs were right all along in 5 Things Every Snob Says (Confirmed By Science) and then tear them right back down again in 6 Snobby Claims That Science Has Officially Debunked.
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