Snobbery Quotes

Authors: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Categories: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Oh, would that I had died the way the Sikh did! I can not go forward. I shall not submit to being made to see more clearly than I do. Yet, if I turn back I am self-confessed coward! Furthermore, how can I turn back! How shall I reach India, alone, alive? As a corpse I should no longer interest myself. And if I should succeed in reaching India, I should despise myself, because you and Jimgrim treated me as fellow man and yet I failed you. On the other hand, if I go forward they will teach me the reality of things, of which already I know much too much! It has been bad enough as failed B.A. to stick my tongue into my cheek and flatter blind men- pompous Englishmen and supine Indians-for a living. I have had to eat dust from the wheels of what the politicians think is progress; and I have had to be polite when I was patronized by men whom I should pity if I had the heart to do it! And I could endure it, Rammy sahib, because I only knew more than was good for me and not all of it by any means! I do not wish to know more. If I saw more clearly I should have to join the revolutionaries- who are worse than those they revolute against! It is already bad enough to have to toady to the snobs on top. To have to agree with the snobs underneath, who seek to level all men to a common meanness since they can not admire any sort of superiority-that would be living death! I would rather pretend to admire the Englishman whose snobbery exasperates me, than repeat the lies of Indians whose only object is to do dishonestly and badly but much more cleverly what the English do honestly and with all the stupidity of which they are capable!

Talbot Mundy
To return to my point about the immense power that his enemies attribute to him, Orwell once wrote about the 'large, vague renown' that constituted the popular memory of Thomas Carlyle. His own reputation has long been of that kind, if not rather greater and more precise. But this is not the same as moving millions to despair and apathy (Deutscher), or spoiling the morale of a whole generation (Williams), or authoring a work of fiction that was in fact, in rather cunning disguise, the work of an entire 'culture' (Thompson). In some semi-articulated way, many major figures of the Left have thought of Orwell as an enemy, and an important and frightening one. This was true to a somewhat lesser extent in his own lifetime. And, again, the dislike or distrust can be illustrated by a simple-or at any rate a simple-minded-confusion of categories. It was widely said, and believed, of Orwell that he had written the damning sentence: 'The working classes smell.' This statement of combined snobbery and heresy was supposedly to be found in The Road to Wigan Pier; in other words-since the book was a main selection of Victor Gollancz's Left Book Club-it could be checked and consulted. But it obviously never was checked or consulted, because in those pages Orwell only says that middle-class people, such as his own immediate forebears, were convinced that the working classes smelled. Victor Gollancz himself, though hopelessly at odds with Orwell in matters of politics, issued a denial on his behalf that he had ever said, or written, that 'the working classes smell.' It made no difference. As his published correspondence shows, every time Orwell wrote anything objectionable to the Left, up would come this old charge again, having attained the mythic status that placed it beyond mere factual refutation. It feels silly even to go over this pettiness again, but the identical method-of attributing to him the outlook that he attributed to others-is employed in our own time in critical discussions of 'Inside the Whale.

Christopher Hitchens
Fiction has two uses. Firstly, it's a gateway drug to reading. The drive to know what happens next, to want to turn the page, the need to keep going, even if it's hard, because someone's in trouble and you have to know how it's all going to end ... that's a very real drive. And it forces you to learn new words, to think new thoughts, to keep going. To discover that reading per se is pleasurable. Once you learn that, you're on the road to reading everything. And reading is key. There were noises made briefly, a few years ago, about the idea that we were living in a post-literate world, in which the ability to make sense out of written words was somehow redundant, but those days are gone: words are more important than they ever were: we navigate the world with words, and as the world slips onto the web, we need to follow, to communicate and to comprehend what we are reading. People who cannot understand each other cannot exchange ideas, cannot communicate, and translation programs only go so far. The simplest way to make sure that we raise literate children is to teach them to read, and to show them that reading is a pleasurable activity. And that means, at its simplest, finding books that they enjoy, giving them access to those books, and letting them read them. I don't think there is such a thing as a bad book for children. Every now and again it becomes fashionable among some adults to point at a subset of children's books, a genre, perhaps, or an author, and to declare them bad books, books that children should be stopped from reading. I've seen it happen over and over; Enid Blyton was declared a bad author, so was RL Stine, so were dozens of others. Comics have been decried as fostering illiteracy. It's tosh. It's snobbery and it's foolishness. There are no bad authors for children, that children like and want to read and seek out, because every child is different. They can find the stories they need to, and they bring themselves to stories. A hackneyed, worn-out idea isn't hackneyed and worn out to them. This is the first time the child has encountered it. Do not discourage children from reading because you feel they are reading the wrong thing. Fiction you do not like is a route to other books you may prefer. And not everyone has the same taste as you. Well-meaning adults can easily destroy a child's love of reading: stop them reading what they enjoy, or give them worthy-but-dull books that you like, the 21st-century equivalents of Victorian 'improving' literature. You'll wind up with a generation convinced that reading is uncool and worse, unpleasant. We need our children to get onto the reading ladder: anything that they enjoy reading will move them up, rung by rung, into literacy. [from, Why our future depends on libraries, reading and daydreaming]

Neil Gaiman
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