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I'm Hot, You're Not 

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Haven't yet read Joseph Epstein's Snobbery: The American Version? Really! Epstein says his book documents "the spread of snobbery after the fall of the WASPocracy," which began in the late 1960s "when the style page replaced the society page in the daily newspaper." The new snobbery is even more rampant than the old, Epstein says, expressing itself in the schools one's children attend (is that new?), one's politics, and, in general, the degree to which one is "with it." You are "with it" if you're up to the moment in clothing, social opinions, furnishings--the whole array of material and attitudinal trappings. Epstein sees snobbery in greener-than-thou politics, in "pretensions to knowledge about music and art," in "ambitious cooking," and in "the absurdity of spending $300 for a bottle of wine." The essence of snobbery, he says, is "trying to position yourself in society in such a way that you convince the other person of his own insignificance." Epstein, whose credentials include a long affiliation with Northwestern University and the editor's seat at American Scholar, will discuss his book at 7 on Tuesday, July 16, at Barnes & Noble, 1701 Sherman Ave. in Evanston. It's free; call 847-328-0883.

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