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Class is still in session for bogans and snobs

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But you don't necessarily need to be a low income earner to be considered a chav or a bogan. As David Nichols has argued in his new book, The Bogan Delusion, and in the Herald, by stereotyping ''bogans'', Australians have ''found a new way to sustain class resentment, to pigeonhole people and places. They've created this creature that is a lesser human being to Omega Speedmaster Alaska Project

Enjoying a period piece or a $5 coffee is one thing, but pooh poohing how the other half lives is just as bad as Lady Crawley sniffing about the heir to the Crawley pile being ''common''. In fact, it's dull. Omega Brown Leather Which is a far worse dinner party faux pas than not knowing which fork is for the fish.

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(A brief and hopeful investigation into my own family history found an ancestor who was said to have stolen a rope, which unfortunately had a cow attached to it, and was thus deported to Australia.)

express unmentionable class hatred''.

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If we peer into our family lineage, it's likely most of our ancestors were well meaning kitchen maids rather than grand dames who crushed people with a single raise of an eyebrow.

Here and in Britain, Downton Abbey is being cited as an example of how far we haven't come. In The Guardian, the columnist Polly Toynbee writes of the repugnance of the use of the word ''chav'' to demonise and denigrate people, and that the ubiquity of that word means self confident classism is back.

True snobbishness, however, is not merely being particular about the things that you like, but enjoying a sense that you are better than everybody else and so much so that it never occurred to you to think otherwise.

Most people are snobby about something. It might be Jodi Picoult novels, mock Tuscan architecture or pure coffee beans passed through golden unicorns before reaching your Keep Cup. Harmless, mostly.

the Edwardian era of unbridled snobbery. When safely reproduced in Downton Abbey, as the lady sneering at the scullery maid or the landowner bullying his workers, we are encouraged to look back smugly as if these shocking class differences were long gone. The form and style may have changed but the reality of extreme inequality and self confident class contempt is back,'' Toynbee wrote.

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But coffee snobs we can live with: soy/decaf/no foam/orange infused mochas are simply, to borrow from Prince Philip, ''ghastly''.

There are so many definitions of a bogan that Nichols concludes the creature doesn't really exist, except as a label applied to an ''other''.

It turns out Australians are rather fond of snobs.

Class can be tricky to define. If it is about disposable income, the gap between low and high earners according to the the 2007 08 Australian Bureau of Statistics Household Income and Income Distribution report is an average of $1237 a week.

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As we laugh at Dame Maggie Smith playing the delightfully imperious Lady Crawley, we would do well to remember that there are snobs and there are snobs. Just like unrequited love and tapeworm, the real thing is so much better in books and on TV than in real life.

The same kind of parallel lives snobbery exists today in the assumption that ''bogans'' and ''chavs'' go places we don't and like things we don't.

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''Over the last 30 years the public monstering of a huge slice of the population by luckier, better paid people has become commonplace. This is language from Omega Seamaster First Watch Worn Moon

In Downton Abbey, the lives of the haves and the have nots operate mostly on a comforting parallel axis. The creators also show the lives of the ''unseen'' the maids and cooks and butlers who ran the improbably large houses of the ruling classes.

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The best place for snobbishness is on the telly. Omega Speedmaster 38 Price

Huge numbers of us have tuned in to watch the first two episodes of Julian Fellowes's brilliant series Downton Abbey. The attraction of the show goes beyond the interesting characters with A Past, studied manners, whiffs of scandal and gorgeous grounds. It is also the voyeuristic thrill of seeing how proper snobs once lived.

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