Originally Posted by Nantucket Red
I would also object to being referred to as a commoner. Fortunately, I have never been addressed as "folks" at a restaurant, or at least not at any restaurant where I would not expect to be addressed as such.
Not that I ever imagined I'd be defending KP, but I believe his complaint was with the level of restaurant service in general sinking to a lowest common denominator. I don't believe he ever claimed that anyone who did not prefer a superior level of service was by definition a "hick" or "redneck." What I believe he objected to is being talked down to by the waitstaff as if he had never eaten in a restaurant before and needed to be guided like the children in Fabienne's translation exercise.
Finally, let me say that I'm baffled by the use of "aristocrat" as a term of derision. While this might once have connoted the oppression of others by a hereditary class, in this age of egalitarianism doesn't it rather represent an ideal we can all attain? Why drag everything down to a lower level when we can raise it to a higher one?
Honestly, I need to stop reading this thread, because I don't even care that much about it. I have no wish to argue any of these points. For the record, to explain myself:
1) "Folks" is not considered to be in any way demeaning by the vast majority of people that I have met, and I would be willing to stake money that the majority of Americans feel the same way.
Further, being referred to as "a commoner" would be offensive not because it is horrible to be lumped in with all the rubes and commoners of the world. It would be offensive because of what it says about the attitudes of the person using it as an "insult"--in other words, it would speak volumes about the snobbishness of the person who felt that being a "common" person was somehow an insulting state of affairs.
2) KP has consistently stated that the sort of treatment he decries is "hick service" and service "for rednecks". If a person prefers "hick" or "redneck" service, what does that make him? KP simply believes, against all evidence, that most people in America actually do *not* want familiar and friendly service, which is the only way he avoids the obvious conclusion, based on his premise, that most Americans are in fact hicks and rednecks. I think GT has sufficiently demonstrated that he's wrong about what people in America do and do not want from their servers.
3) What is so baffling about the use of "aristocrat" as a term of derision? The entire notion of aristocracy *necessitates* that the "aristocrat" be considered superior to the "commoners". The folks, even! If we raise all the "commoners" to a higher level, they're still commoners. In fact, that new level of excellence becomes, by definition... common. On the other hand, if everyone's an "aristocrat", they're really all just "commoners" after all, aren't they?
"Aristocrat" is a term of assumed superiority. Anyone who assumes themselves truly superior to the "masses" or the "commoners" has earned my derision tenfold.
If other people want to reappropriate the word and use it positively, though, then that's fine, but then I don't see how class enters into the discussion at all.
Look, some of KP's pet peeves bug me, too. If someone else, in a different tone, without KP's obsession with class and status wrote what KP had written, I would probably have chuckled. It's the kind of thing I might have written as a self-mocking but pseudo-serious joke. But if it's not--and I'm still not convinced the whole thread wasn't just a well-executed prank on the whole forum--then surely you must understand why KP's post has more than a few of us a bit riled up.
I think I'm with whnay in the end, though. I have got to leave this thread alone, it's not worth it.