Music snobs turn their noses on variety

(Devon Nitz | The Oswegonian)
(Devon Nitz | The Oswegonian)

The music snob is a figure that we are all quite familiar with and, most likely, despise.  It’s someone who gets on his or her high horse to criticize the so-called “inferior” music tastes of another person.

It would be one thing if they just criticized the music itself, but they don’t stop there. They criticize the taste – and even the character – of the person who enjoys it. But I would argue that it’s often the snob, and not the fan of bad music, who is making a shallow mistake.

As someone who likes bad music, I once felt the need to protect myself from snob scorn by hiding the many top 40 hits and screechy Japanese pop girl bands in my collection. For the safety of my self-esteem, I played this music only in the privacy of my ear buds, and I even deleted those sections of my collection several times, telling myself that this would be the time when I would finally “grow out of it.”

Instead, the opposite happened. As I grew older and wiser, I realized that music snobs can only enjoy one kind of music: the kind that they think is good in some abstract, semi-moral, semi-aesthetic sense. Their snobby conceptual scheme is simply not rich enough to make room for the unconscious and organic way one can enjoy music without making a judgment about its aesthetic value.

They assume that everyone approaches music like they do, and that fans of Ke$ha must think that she is actually making the finest of art. It’s no wonder they’re mortified. But they’re also just wrong.

I count myself lucky for being able to sometimes turn off my judging brain and simply let myself be affected by a song’s beats, textures, rhythms and tones. It’s not like I don’t often realize these sounds belong to vapid, terrible songs. Sometimes I actually pay attention to the bad songs I am listening to, and I have to laugh at how awful they turn out to be.

But why should I let that get in the way of my enjoyment? Only a snob would do that, and in doing so, they miss out on a whole way of relating to music that comes naturally to someone like me.

The next time you are accosted by music snobs, do what I do: understand that they are judging you wrongly and don’t take it personally. View their scorn for your songs as their inability to enjoy music without judging.

It might seem sensible that I would also recommend trying to teach music snobs to understand how you enjoy music. From my experience, however, such a discussion usually fails. Snobs try to compensate for their inability to unconsciously enjoy music by telling themselves that the thing they can’t do sucks anyway, and they wouldn’t want to be able to enjoy shallow, artless music, even if they could.