Classic or classy?
Martha had a conversation with an older woman the other day who was complimenting her on what she has been doing for the front of the sanctuary. Each week Martha and a friend arrange the altar in the apse of the chancel with arrangements that reflect, compliment and illustrate the text for the day. They are wonderfully creative. You can see some photos of them at the church web site in its blog category www.mcchurch.org.
When the woman talking to Martha got to her point, she said: "it's just that it makes the sanctuary so beautiful, so meaningful, so, so classy..." and then she put her hand over her mouth and said; "Ooops, I really shouldn't use a term like that. It sounds snobbish."
Martha and I had a long talk about our aversion to the word "classy" because it sounds so anti-egalitarian, elevating one person's tastes over the tastes of another and, we all know, tastes are subjective and neutral. Or are they? Is there a difference between "classic" and "classy" and "snobbish"? I think so.
I think we have llumped "classic" with "classy" and "snobbish" to our loss. The column in the photo is classic. It is a style of architecture that is defined and lasting. It has survived many style changes and people keep returning to it. So is a while shirt or pearls on black. There are classical styles of music and classical authors like Shakespeare and Plato. You just can't ignore the classical. They are the foundations upon which modern and contemporary is built and based. It does not mean they must dominate, but they have survived and endured.
Classy and snobbish are different in that they are self referential and usd to self-elevate. When those in power or affluence want to demonstrate their status, they flaunt some thing or another: clothing, jewelry, housing, boats, cars or numbers of books published. Those do not necessarily endure. The classic lasts.