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<   No. 1303   2006-08-21   >

Comic #1303

1 Shakespeare: No Harry Potter... So have you read Artemis Fowl? Lemony Snicket?
1 Loren: Er... no.
2 Shakespeare: Narnia? Oz? The Little Prince? Roald Dahl? Kipling? Milne? Lewis Carroll??
2 Loren: Should I have heard of these?
3 Shakespeare: {increasingly desperate} Le Guin? Pratchett? Verne? Tolkien?
3 Loren: Tolkien! Does seeing the movie count?
4 Shakespeare: Um. No.
4 Loren: Oh good, because I didn't see it.

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Will is considerably more of a literature snob than I am.

I've met a lot of people and seen a lot of people on the net who make judgments about the worth or intelligence of other people based solely on what books they haven't read.

What? You haven't read Tolkien? How can you not have read Tolkien? What sort of uneducated ignoramus are you?
If not said quite so literally, you can tell when the implication is there.

In this day and age it's easy for someone to grow up and never be exposed to certain elements of literature through no fault of their own. Just because someone has never read Tolkien, or never even heard of Tolkien, or any of the other authors commonly touted as "must-reads" by various subculture enthusiasts, does not make them stupid, worthless, or barbaric.

2016-02-15 Rerun commentary: To be fair, I've never read any of the Narnia books myself. Nor Lemony Snicket - though I've seen and enjoyed the film.

It's not just books, by the way. This sort of unsupportable snobbery can also be based on films, TV shows, music, sport, food - almost anything really.

The converse sort of snobbery - also annoying and completely silly - is deliberately avoiding or remaining ignorant of cultural phenomena out of some feeling that it's not worth experiencing or is somehow beneath you.

I try to keep an open mind and experience as many different things as I can. Then I can at least say, "I tried it, but I didn't enjoy it, and that's my opinion and it's perfectly okay for other people to like it", rather than, "I'm not going to bother trying it, because it's inferior and I'm too refined, and anyone who likes it is inferior as well."

Besides, I figure it's better to like lots of stuff, than to dislike lots of stuff!

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