In response to the Stouts and Stilettos article Don’t Label Me, Bro
Ever since we are pushed out of the womb we have been force fed labels of things, its how we learn to communicate and compartmentalize the world around us. Some labels are more divisive than others and sometimes inappropriate but nonetheless a way for someone to compartmentalize stuff around us. Those labels allow us to clearly understand the world around us and understand their place in our world.
When questioning the intent of a label one should not try and solely define the label based on its definition in a dictionary but rather context and etymology. This is where labels can go from 0-60 in a fraction of a second. Words throughout history evolve and change but sometimes can take on drastically different meaning by who’s speaking or writing the words. We see that with the N word, with words in the LGBTQ community and many more, words on paper are just words but in context those words can transform beyond meaning.
What the hell did I just say?
When being labeled as a beer geek, beer snob, beer nerd, etc I take in the context of those words and who’s writing or saying that. I know if I’m around a group of fellow beer enthusiasts and they call me a beer snob, that’s negative. If I’m at home with my family, who know nothing of beer, I know it’s a compliment or at the very least they are trying to say that I know a shit load about beer.
What about the perpetuation of a seemingly negative connotation in the mainstream?
Unfortunately there is nothing we can do that will stop the gravy train of labels. We are a subset of the norm and for that, the general public, needs a label for us deviants. We are the minorities and if history has taught us anything about the co-opting of labels, maybe we should embrace them and make them our own. Take a page from the playbooks of Chicano, Queer and Black Power movements and turn that pejorative term into a positive self identifier.
Beer Snobs UNITE!