Snobbery: Discussion

Snobbery is not so common in England today as it was at the beginning of the century. It still exists, however, and advertisers know how to use it in order to sell their goods. 

A snob, the dictionaries tell us, is a person who pays too much respect to social position or wealth, the popular newspapers know that many of their readers are snobs. That is why they give them unimportant and useless information about persons of high social position, photographs of «Lady X and her friends» at a ball, or «Lord V and his friends» at the races. 

It is snobbery that makes some men feel annoyed when on the en-veloped of letters addressed to them, they find «Mr.» before their names instead of «Esq.» after their names. 

Snobbery explains why many people give their suburban house a name, such as «The Oaks, The Pines, TheCedars», even though there are no oak trees, pine trees or cedar trees in their gardens. People of high social position have country houses with names, so a house with a name seems «better» than a house with a number. Numbers make the postman’s work much easier, but that is not important. 

The advertisers are very clever in their use of snobbery. Motor-car manufacturers, for example, advertise the colours of their cars as «Balmoral Stone». Balmoral stone is the grey colour of ordinary stone, butBalmoral is also the name of the residence in Scotland of the British royal family.

Answer the questions on the text:

  1. Is there any snobbery in your country?
  2. Is it increasing or decreasing?
  3. Which do you think is more to be respected, a man's social position and wealth or his character and achievements?
  4. Do advertisers in your country use social snobbery?
  5. If you saw a bungalow in the country with the name “ Journey’s End", what would you think about the people living in it?
  6. If the saleswoman in a fashionable hat shop speaks of her “clients” instead of “customers”, what might you accuse her of?
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