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William and Kate and Not-Quite-Snobbery


Forgive me for revisiting a topic. But, perhaps Jay or Rick or Linda could help me out with this: Is there a word — preferably something outlandishly German — for the unique pleasure that some people derive from the disgust they cultivate regarding the amusements of other people? If there is not such a word (“snobbery” is not quite it), somebody should coin one. It would be useful for royal-birth commentary.

It is a strange phenomenon. There are many entertainments the attraction of which escapes me — watching (but not playing) golf, reading celebrity magazines, enduring the State of the Union address — but I do not understand why people who do not enjoy, e.g., NASCAR, reality television, or news of the British royals get so scandalized over the fact that somebody else does. You would feel silly shouting: “How dare you have interests that do not coincide precisely with my own!” but it amounts to the same thing, with a heavy dose of smugness.

As a conservative, I am inclined to nod to tradition; as an American conservative, I sympathize with the feelings of British monarchists in the same way that I sympathize (apologies to H. L. Mencken) with a man’s belief that his wife is beautiful and his children intelligent. For those for small-r republicans inclined to mock our royalist cousins, ask yourselves this: If there were a beautiful young first lady in the White House giving birth, would our attention to the blessed event be any less unhinged than what is transpiring in the United Kingdom? 


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