Another one of those "woe is me!" cultural "decline" posts
Then again, if too many people are stealing up the books I want and making them unavailable instead, I'd be pretty pissed.
It used to be if you wanted to "look" educated, you'd actually--gasp!--get an education and, y'know, read so that you could rattle off useless information in conversations. I guess now you can just buy the books and not be expected to be able to discuss them.
But it seems pretty transparent to me. If I walk in to somebody's house and see certain books prominantly displayed, I ask them about them. If the person can't answer, then s/he's revealed as the shallow being s/he is.
It reminds me of those Latin tattoos people (who don't known Latin) get, though. Why get it if you have no real interest in it? Why pretend to be a snobbish intellectual if you're not? Frankly, I have a lot more respect for people who actively despise and fight against academics because we're (supposedly) all snobby and elitist. They may be wrong about (some of) us, but at least they're honest.
Then again, this isn't exactly a new phenomenon among humans, now is it?