A Snob in the UK
I’ve never been an anglophile and, frankly, always gone a little out of my way to make the point. When the opportunity to have dinner at the House of Lords with Lord Wei came up in our trip planning for London I was the first one to say, “That’s not the kind of thing we want to do for dinner.” What’s the attraction of having dinner with someone just because they have a title? My assumption has always been titles have been handed out for the same reasons major donors to successful Presidential political campaigns are awarded positions as ambassadors. It’s patronage pure and simple.
As well, the word “peer” means something totally different in our two countries. For me, it means someone of equal standing and by whom I am willing to be judged should I go to court. For our UK friends it means a member of one of the ranks of nobility. We are more than an ocean apart on that one!
However, I was in the minority so I tagged along with the rest of the group.
In the course of the evening I changed my mind about dinner with Lord Wei and learned a lesson in the process. Years ago, a woman named Gert Behanna was a popular speaker. She was raised in the Waldorf-Astoria hotel as the irresponsible child of a wealthy and dysfunctional family. She was brought up to be a snob. After her remarkable conversion from “alcoholism and boredom” she would tell people,“I’m a snob above snobs because I look down upon people who look down upon people.”
While I was not raised at the Waldorf, I recognize the painful truth of Gert’s comment. It’s easy to make assumptions about people and to fit them into simple categories. It’s easy to look down on people who we believe look down on people. The only snob I met that night was me.
I’m going to say more about our dinner and conversation with Nat Wei in the next blog. He was not at all what I was expecting.
|Howard Freeman||October 31, 2011, 3:29 pm|
|As an Upper East Sider, schooled at Trinity (named by Forbes as best prep school in the country), and spending summers in an exclusive beach community on Fire Island--(do you hear shades of St. Paul in Philippians 3?)--I have every reason to be a snob.
I especially smirk at those who "come" to my native New York and then they look down on others who are not New Yorkers--even if they do it unwittingly. I was an alcoholic and bored like Gert, and the only thing I lacked from her upbringing was good room service.
I look forward to hearing more about your dinner.
|Jerry Brewer||October 31, 2011, 2:07 pm|
This post really touched me. I had to meditate and examine myself. Guess what, I did not like what I saw.
It is too easy to let a title or a position that you may have, cause you to build yourself up to a point that you will begin to look down on others that do not have a title or a position. May God forgive me and humble me so that I may be like him.
Thank you Fred again for allowing God to speak through you. I needed this !