This phrase could be a slogan right out of “1984”. A few years ago, a friend told me that his having purchased several expensive paintings at an art gallery (or antique store, or what have you) meant that he had “class”. (The paintings, by the way, were those sickly, life-deprived images of constipated French men against constipated French backgrounds fawning over their constipated French wives nursing their constipated French babies). To which I replied, “Well, if you equate spending money with class, I guess you’re right”. If one equals the other, of course, then Anna Niicole Smith is one classy silicone pack, and Tony Soprano is the classiest guy on the planet. Ho hum.
Another person, an acquaintance prides himself on knowing all things Southern (even though he is not Southern; this person, whom I’ve described before, has a bad case of George Allen syndrome). He thought that Scarlett told RHETT that “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn,” and further was “sure” that Scarlett’s declamation midway through GWTW was “As god is my witness, I will keep this land!” (She’s standing next to a shabby little tree, for crying out loud. What land?)
This friend, who thinks such “knowledge” makes him cultured and classy as well, recently stated: “I can’t wait to hear the strains of Space Odyssey 2001 when I get to Williams-Brice for the Georgia-South Carolina game on Saturday night”. I’ve never heard of a film named Space Odyssey 2001. Have you? I bring up these examples not to mock these people. Had they just bought their paintings and made their movie malapropisms, there would have been no need for me to comment. But their INSISTENCE that doing these acts makes them the supreme arbiters of taste, class, culture (read: I am better than you) and style gives me no choice but to point something out: it isn’t “classy” to drop names – of artists, musicians, movies, or whatever – for the sole purpose of trying to impress someone, as these two do (an act which by itself does not bespeak “class”) when you can’t even bother to get the names right. So, please, my “classy” friends – either have the class to realize that modesty and understatement are indicators of true class, and vulgarity, attempted razzle-dazzle, and “Look at me – how much class do I have or what? Want to touch me? ) are not.