The Breakfast Table

Snobs Are Snobs Are Snobs


I was, like, 3 in the late ‘70s, so I really can’t say for sure, but I’m pretty sure you’re remembering your beloved Minnesota through rose-colored glasses (and I don’t doubt, having seen you in striped orange shorts and sandals with flowers on them that you own rose-colored glasses).

True, it wasn’t the naked cash grab that dot-com fever exhibits. But the race for points in whatever currency–coolness, attention from the opposite sex, Friday night gigs at the 7th Street Entry–was certainly just as hotly competitive. I’ve known plenty of record-clerk types, and the casting of them in some sort of purity archetype just doesn’t mesh with the “come see my band, ya loser; bring some shrooms” music snobs I remember most of them to be.

And just the other day, the Journal did a story about simple-living dot-com types, not even electricity in their homes. There are plenty of dot-com types who are doing what they do because they believe a better world lies at the end of their efforts.

The ideal of a totally nonmaterialistic Jesus is of course a compelling image. But the reason it’s resonated for 2000 years is because it’s always been an ideal, something his followers cannot seem to live up to, with all that camel-through-the-eye-of-a-needle stuff. And I, too, believe that there will be a big comeuppance for those who have sacrificed all that has traditionally fulfilled us in the name of paper wealth–friendships, marriage, leisure time, exercise, fresh air, contemplation, sleep. But you’re kidding yourself if you think today’s youngsters are any baser or shallower than the record-store clerks of your Proustian vintage. Today’s options-drenched, Transformer-collecting, Armani-wearing VP of Biz Dev is yesterday’s King Crimson defender. They’re the same guy.