This is snobbery. It does not detract from your dining experience. If you have good company and the food is good, a slight visual smudge on the facade will do nothing. Loud talkers are different, but getting your boxers in a knot over a baseball cap reaks of something Dr. Frasier Crane would do...
I completely disagree with this. There are many people who would consider the wearing of a hat at a table as offensive as loud smacking of food, or loudly interrupting a speaker, and so on (if not more so). It is highly improper behaviour, period. Simply because the hat wearer is ignorant of the most obvious and basic table manners does not mean that those who suffer are somehow snobbish. Quite the opposite, actually. There is a reason we have etiquette. By observing it, we respect the rights of others
, and treat them with dignity. By ignoring it, we are telling those around us that their rights are less important to us than our own. Etiquette is the glue of social order. Without it, we fall into the lazy habits of barbarism. Would you prefer that we all ate from troughs like pigs, pushing and shoving each other for that last bit of slop? Or that during a conversation, people just all shouted at each other simultaneously? Only in America would etiquette be frowned upon, where the ignorant somehow think they have been born with a right to trample on everyone around them in the name of personal liberty. They feel they were born with a right to everything they want, and anyone or anything that might ask them to humbly respect, help, or observe the rights of others is somehow an offense against their own selfish rights. I consider this as snobbishness of the worst sort. IMO, any person wearing a hat at the table deserves a quick slap to the face, as my own parents would have done when I was a child. I applaud ViroBono for his actions with the umbrella, and it shows me that the British still take some pride in their personal discipline. I only wish that people in America would be so observant of others at times. I would love to slap some hat-wearing or food-smacking idiot, but that type of behaviour would get you sued here in the US.