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The Annals of Rock Snobbery

Declamations Archives


There’s still time to get a copy of The Wine Snob’s Dictionary (nicely written up in USA Today) as a last-minute holiday gift. But at Snob HQ we’re looking to the future. Having exposed the snobby underbellies of Rock, Film, Food, and Wine, we’re contemplating applying the template to sports (e.g. “The Pro Football Snob’s Dictionary,” short versions of which actually appeared in Vanity Fair in 2004 and 2005) and/or race, religion, and ethnicity (e.g., the as-yet-unwritten “Black Snob’s Dictionary,” “Jewish Snob’s Dictionary” and “Irish-American Snob’s Dictionary”). In every area of cultural and social inquiry, there is a deep seam of snobbery that is waiting to be tapped and exploited.

Let us know what you’d like to read next, including Snob’s Dictionaries not proposed above.

December 19, 2008 More Declamations »



This site was an early and frequent champion of Yacht Rock, the brilliant Web series, and the online “TV network” that birthed it, Channel 101. After Yacht Rock was cancelled, falling victim to Channel 101’s mercilessly democratic voting process, the program’s creator, JD Ryznar, intimated that he’d make at least two more episodes of Yacht Rock and simply post them on YouTube or his own MySpace page. That, alas, never happened, but for good reason: Viacom, forever sniffing around for new ideas and cheap comedy labor to exploit, decided to co-opt the whole Channel 101 concept, sweeping up Ryznar and 101 creator Dan Harmon in the process. Their new program, Acceptable TV, premieres on VH1 on Friday, March 23. (The other main architect of Channel 101, Rob Schrab, has also found undercompensated employment at Viacom, as the producer-director of Comedy Central’s Sarah Silverman Program.)

Already, Acceptable TV’s Web site has gone live with some very funny explanatory videos, such as this one (featuring the grab above), in which Harmon’s pal Jack Black serves as narrator. Acceptable TV will operate on the same premise as Channel 101: regular-guy would-be filmmakers create short pilot episodes (albeit at a mere three minutes to Channel 101’s five minutes); a panel chooses which pilots to air; and these pilots’ viewers are given the opportunity to vote on which shows should return for another episode.

Yes, it’s an “interactive” program, and it’s likely that Acceptable TV will take some potshots from fuddy-duddy reviewers, who will condescend to it as a pathetic corporate sop to the “You” phenomenon.

But give this show a chance. Channel 101 and its New York counterpart, Channel 102, have showcased some wonderful young talent, giving inspired youngsters like Ryznar an outlet denied them by cruel establishment Hollywood. (Before Channel 101, Ryznar was a struggling schlump who toiled as the hapless assistant to a former Vanity Fair event planner! Oh, the indignity...) There’s no reason why this formula shouldn’t succeed on a larger scale via VH1.

On top of all this, the Acceptable TV brain trust has put together some zippy sample pilots for your viewing pleasure. You must check out Ryznar’s reality-TV sendup My Black Friend (pictured below) and the Ryznar-Harmon team’s Prison Prison Break.


March 11, 2007 More Declamations »


We apologize for this site’s relative inactivity over the last few months; other responsibilities have claimed our time. But come 2007, the site will be retooled somewhat to acknowledge the all-encompassing international juggernaut that brand Snob has become.

Why, already, The Rock Snob*s Dictionary has been translated into French and issued in France as Le Dictionnaire Snob du Rock:

French Rock Snob.jpg

And over in Italy, the publisher Enzo Sellerio has issued a gorgeous, pocket-sized version of The Film Snob*s Dictionary, known to Italians as Dizionario Snob del Cinema:

Italian Film Snob.jpg

The Dizionario has already received a rave in La Republica delle Donne, if any of you know how to read Italian.

Up next in America: The Food Snob’s Dictionary, by David Kamp and Marion Rosenfeld, coming from Broadway Books in autumn 2007. Happy New Year, and, to quote Rock Snobbishly from an early Mercury Rev album title, see you on the other side.

December 23, 2006 More Declamations »


Have you read Steely Dan’s marvelous open letter to Wes Anderson? It’s even better than their open letter to Luke Wilson! Someone should give these guys a magazine contract!

August 17, 2006 More Declamations »


The co-author of the two Snob books thus far, David Kamp, has an altogether weightier tome en route, called The United States of Arugula. It’s a nonfiction account of the rise of American food culture, from pioneers like James Beard, Julia Child, and Alice Waters to celebrity chefs like Emeril, Mario, and Wolfgang, from the dark days of tinned Spam to our current lattes-and-sushi Age of Aquarius.

In preparation for the book’s September 12 release, Mr. Kamp is preparing a new Web site,, that will also include an archive of his music and film writings for Vanity Fair and GQ. Right now, the site is just a place-holding “splash page,” as the young people say, but it should be up and running in a few weeks. Please pay the site a visit soonish.

July 18, 2006 More Declamations »


Sometimes, a Web site gets exhausted, overextended, and just plain preoccupied. It goes dormant for weeks, un-updated, and the colors on its title page peel and fade and get unsightly splotches from water damage. (Note to Stacy, site designer: will budget cover this effect?)

Snobsite was not exactly in an abandoned building smoking crack, but it was, for much of June, in Ireland enjoying the craic. And now it’s back and active again. Thanks for your patience. Here are a bunch of bullet-point items.

–Want to hear a clip of Film Snob Lawrence Levi on the nationally syndicated program Culture Shocks with Barry Lynn? Click here and scroll down to #643, the interview with Mr. Levi dated 3/10/06. If you hit the interview with Bernard Henri-Levy dated 2/20/06, you’ve scrolled too far–and confused an Italian Jew with a French one.

–Lawrence and David Kamp also appeared on Tribeca Radio’s Alan Smithee Internet Radio Experience with Josh Horowitz and Josh Block, but they don’t have their archiving act together yet so it’s not available for podcast. But keep checking.

–Good lord, Yacht Rock has been canceled!

–Rock Snob couture! Check out all the stuff this dude on eBay regularly has for sale.

–British Rock and Film Snob Humo(u)rist Peter Serafinowicz has edited together his two previous Macca-heavy video shorts and added a new Snobberific bit pertaining to Scorsese’s Raging Bull. Watch it here. Peter alleges that a TV series based on this stuff is in the offing.

–We lament the recent passings of two very different Snob causes célèbre, Arif Mardin (who warrants his own entry on page 65 of The Rock Snob*s Dictionary) and György Ligeti (who, perhaps, should have been an entry in The Film Snob*s Dictionary). Actually, maybe the two men weren’t so different: Both were responsible for stunning soundtrack music involving strangely timbred high voices. Mardin, a longtime arranger and producer, revived the careers of fading ’60s Britpoppers the Bee Gees by encouraging Barry Gibb to try out falsetto vocals and take up R&B rhythms. This experiment, first attempted on the song “Nights on Broadway,” set the stage for “Jive Talkin’,” “You Should Be Dancing,” and, in 1977, the whole Saturday Night Fever juggernaut, whose songs should simply be considered pleasures, not guilty pleasures. Before and after the Bee Gees, Mardin was at the helm of some of the twentieth century’s great recorded music: Aretha Franklin’s late-’60s peak, Dusty Springfield’s Snob-tastic Dusty in Memphis (“Son of a Preacherman” and all that) and Chaka Khan’s “I Feel for You.” Ligeti, on the other hand, was the avant-garde composer responsible for one of the most evocative pieces of music ever used in a film, Lux Aeterna, otherwise known as “the scary, disembodied yi-yi-yeeeee voices during the weirdest scenes in Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey.” Kubrick didn’t seek Ligeti’s consent to use the piece for the film (along with two others in the Ligeti canon, Atmospheres and Requiem for Soprano, Mezzo Soprano, Two Mixed Choirs and Orchestra), and evidently Ligeti wasn’t happy about this. But the microtonal a capella weirdout that is Lux Aeterna was the perfect musical expression of the spooky unknowability of outer space, suggesting the language of an advanced alien race, or the ghostly cries of the explorers who’d come before, or the electronic hum of the matrix that secretly determines all experience. It’s fun to ponder what the recording session for the German Lux Aeterna choir was like–did the participants sway and jovially sing through mikes while clutching headphones in “We Are the World”-chorister style, all the while making terrifying sounds?

June 27, 2006 More Declamations »


The explosive growth of SnobCorp Holdings Ltd continues: Broadway Books, our publishing partner for The Rock Snob*s Dictionary and The Film Snob*s Dictionary, will saddle up with us for two sequels, The Food Snob*s Dictionary and The Wine Snob*s Dictionary, provisionally scheduled for fall ’07 and/or spring ’08 publication. Who knows, there may even be apparel and calendars and cross-media synergy and stuff.

For now, completely out of season, here’s a link to one of the other Dictionaries that have appeared in Vanity Fair, Volume II of the as yet un-book-dealed Football Snob*s Dictionary.

May 09, 2006 More Declamations »

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