Never mind that Marie Antoinette didn't say it, "let them eat cake" continues to capture the smug ignorance that can exist in well-heeled realms. The "great princess" who supposedly spoke those words was referring to the hungry peasants in the midst of a French famine.
Smug ignorance ... which among us can parry that well-aimed barb? Few (though there are some) exercise it on purpose and yet there it is -- a rousing bias or a casually-dropped word that betrays the speaker.
A few years back I was talking casually with a friend, John, when he observed, "If times are so tough, how come people still drink bottled water?" And today, in the local newspaper, there was a puff piece about a do-it-yourself dog-washing emporium.
Is there anything -- anything at all -- that cannot be viewed as frivolous or possibly even obscene from the point of view of another who is either envious or deeply in need?
And who is worse off -- the one who acts or speaks out of a smug and assured ignorance or the one who finds that action or speech so outlandish?
I'm not sure, but I am sure that I am embarrassed when my lackadaisical ignorance or drooling envy catches me flat-footed.
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