Last night I was accosted with a real-life example of exactly what I was talking about yesterday, what with the folks trying to establish their coolness by exclusion. But this took it up a notch- the offender actually all but completely called out the subtext in his own words.
I was walking down the hall at school with a couple of classmates, and a guy passed us coming the other way.
“Hey, dig the Guns n’ Roses shirt!” he said. I thanked him and kept walking.
“I bet those two didn’t know what it was, huh?” he called after us. I turned around and gave him an Eyebrow.
“Actually, I would expect that they probably do.” One of my classmates, who I would say with 98% certainty knows exactly which band was represented on my shirt, snickered.
“Most likely, yes.”
“What was that about?” asked the other classmate.
“He was basically trying to point out how much cooler he was than you guys for knowing that my shirt was Guns n’ Roses.”
“What a weird thing to say.”
It IS a weird thing to say: “Hey- those fools you’re with don’t get it, do they? But *I* know where you’re coming from!” If my shirt had been particularly obscure, this would have been rude enough; if you recognize and like it, just leave it at that. Don’t drag others’ lack of knowledge into it. But the really odd thing about it is that my shirt was the iconic cross and skulls from Appetite for Destruction:
I’m not saying that everyone knows it, but people who were aware of pop culture around 1989- which my classmates, who are of my own age group, likely were- probably have at least a vague familiarity with it. So speaking out loud the assumption that they didn’t know it not only made him look like an ass because it was an assy thing to say, but also implied without any basis in fact that my classmates were kind of oblivious to pop culture.
Maybe this is just my own perception of the pervasiveness of GnR in mainstream rock, and most people my age really wouldn’t recognize the logo. I should’ve polled my class.
Either way, he was an ass.