I have a confession to make, but this isn’t really a secret, because most people learn this about me pretty quickly: I’m a snob for quality when it comes to almost anything.
There’s exceptions to this, of course, but for the most part I’m pretty snobbish. When I can, I pay more to get the better cheese at the grocery store. If I’m going to a concert or a show, I’ll look for the best tickets I can get–because I don’t go to a lot of shows, I want that experience to be exceptional. I’m picky about the books and music that I buy and they’re almost never on the bestseller lists. I’m critical even when I enjoy something–I can list the problems with my favorite book or album just as easily as I can describe why I love them.
Many people find this personality trait annoying, so I try not to express my snobbery too often, but it does lead to conflicts. It’s hard not to point out, when someone listens to a popular music artist all the time around me, that the artist relies too heavily on autotuners or they recycle the same drum machine track for half of their songs. Or when someone invites me to watch their favorite movie for the fifth time and I have to say, “While there’s funny parts of that movie and I like some of the actors, the racist, sexist, and sizeist jokes just make me sick after a while, and I can’t really enjoy it right now.”
Because yeah, “politically incorrect” stuff does get to me, too. I think that the creators of this material can and should do better about evaluating what kind of messages their material is sending. I’m not advocating censorship–not saying that these movies shouldn’t get made–but I choose not to invest much of my time and money in media that’s just going to make me sad, angry, or disgusted. And I will keep looking for the media that celebrates more female characters, more respect for diversity, and refuses to keep falling into these negative stereotypes.
I think that I’m a snob because I’m a perfectionist. I keep trying to learn more and improve myself, and I hold myself up to high standards in anything that I do, so I apply those standards to the things that I enjoy. I have a hard time stepping back from something that I made and saying, “Oh, that’s good enough. I just did it for fun, and people will understand that I’m just a product of the culture that I live in, so I don’t have to question my beliefs or how those are reflected in my work.”
No. I demand more from myself. And so I demand more from the things that I enjoy.
I want music that has layers of complexity, so that I find something new to appreciate every time I listen to it. I want movies that challenge Hollywood formulas and give work to actors that fall outside the ideal physical appearances. I want TV shows that give me so many wonderful female characters of all sizes, shapes, colors, sexualities, and personalities that I’m overwhelmed when I try to pick a favorite. I want books that make me imagine worlds and scenarios so different from my own that they make me reevaluate the things I take for granted. I want food that’s filled with rich new flavors and combinations I’d never dreamed of, and I want to try doing things that I’m afraid of.
So I am a snob. I’m picky about the things that I like. And I am happy with living this way.
This post was partially inspired by How To Write Suckitudinous Fiction by Holly Lisle.