Opinion Extra

Farrell: Snobby in SC?

If Bluffton is the third snobbiest city in South Carolina, then why did Donald Trump pick it for the site of his S.C. campaign kickoff?
If Bluffton is the third snobbiest city in South Carolina, then why did Donald Trump pick it for the site of his S.C. campaign kickoff? AP

There are three types of snobs.

First, there are the Brag-pologists, the ones who want you to know that they recognize superiority in certain areas of life, but they’re self-aware enough to pre-emptively label themselves as such just in case you think they’re insufferable.

These are the barbecue snobs, the wine snobs, the restaurant snobs, the music snobs, the film snobs in your life. They often identify themselves in a trail-off, which comes after a snobby comment then a pause to test for insult, “I wouldn’t really call that ‘cheddar’ … but then again I’m a cheese snob.”

They usually come by their snobbery honestly, through curation, curiosity and exploration, so they are forgivable — as long as they’re not snatching the ketchup out of my hands before I can douse my omelet, that is.

Then there are the Oh Snobs. This group doesn’t just think their taste is better than most; they think they are better than most. I picture them as malnourished and pulled tightly. They are unable to express their dismay beyond a scanning but blank look or a lip-purse. Their superiority is asserted through questions designed only to assess your value to them.

When your answer is of no use, they follow it up with “… oh.”

“Do you know the Carringtons?”

“No, I don’t think I do.”

“… oh.”

These snobs are outliers, but every community has a few.

Finally, there are the Falsely Accused.

These snobs live on Hilton Head Island and in Bluffton.

In the great modern tradition of geographical lists that are concocted solely for the purpose of generating an ad-viewing audience, Hilton Head and Bluffton have found themselves on yet another one: RoadSnacks.net’s “10 Snobbiest Places in South Carolina.”

Hilton Head is second to Charleston.

And Bluffton is third to both.

By the way, congratulations are in order for Bluffton residents. It’s a boy! RoadSnacks describes this town as “the slightly less snobby little brother of Hilton Head.”

I’m not sure what gender this makes Hilton Head, but there is some disagreement about the family tree.

“The snobby little brother of Hilton Head?” Bluffton Mayor Lisa Sulka laughed Wednesday afternoon when I shared the news. “Now, I’ve often said we’re the redheaded stepchild of Hilton Head, but little brother? … This is funny.”

RoadSnacks says its mission is to “paint a picture of what’s happening in a region based on ‘Friday Night Science’ — how you’d argue at a bar.”

The site is collection of what it calls “regional infotainment.”

The snobbery list ranked 93 S.C. towns by using median house prices and incomes, percentage of population with a college degree, number of private schools and … number of theaters and galleries per capita.

It’s an old equation really. If you read books and like art or theater then you must be a snob.

Here’s how much RoadSnacks has snobs figured out. Fort Mill is No. 8 on the snobbiest places in South Carolina list, and it has the distinction of being home to the Drum Corps International World Champion Carolina Drum and Bugle Corps, which RoadSnacks says “sounds like what snobs must go to watch on Sundays while the rest of the country watches football.”

You know snobs and their love of drums and bugles.

I can’t help but imagine the town gaily preparing crock pots of buffalo chicken dip to watch the drum corps perform. “Football? Call us when they can march and play an instrument, which is also highly associated with football games.”

I’ve often been falsely accused of being a snob. I’m sorry. Some gas station bathrooms are too scary for me. I like my drinks out of glass and not plastic tumblers. And the driveway is not a place for lawn chairs, especially when you have a backyard.

OK, maybe I’m not the greatest example of “falsely accused.”

But, come on. Bluffton? No. 3? Sure, there are three wine bars within walking distance of each other, but that’s just considerate planning. Bluffton is all beer coozies and smiles.

“I’ve never been called a snob in my life,” Sulka said. “Bluffton is the friendliest, most-welcoming …. people wave at each other and look each other in the eye and say ‘good morning.’ No. We’re not snobs.”

And Hilton Head? RoadSnacks says it’s “so snobby it actually has a moat around itself to keep the common folk out.”

Sorry, common folk. I guess you’ll have to take the multi-laned and free bridges to the island like everyone else.

Hilton Head is exclusive, sure. It takes more money to live there. And if we ever needed some snob-like extras for a film called “Snob,” we’d find plenty of typecasts there, but to assume those who live there view themselves as superior is just simple-minded.

… but then again I’m a “regional infotainment” snob.

Ms. Farrell is a columnist and senior editor at Hilton Head’s Island Packet. Contact her at lfarrell@islandpacket.com or follow her at twitter.com/elizfarrell and facebook.com/elizfarrell.

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