Oikophobia Rears Its Ugly Head

Glenn Reynolds writes about Oikophobia in his USA Today column. Oikophobia is defined as an “irrational fear of the familiar.”

In this case Ned Resnikoff, a senior editor for the Think Progress website, was left fearful and shaken after his plumber, a fellow he describes as “a perfectly nice guy and a consummate professional. But he was also a middle-aged white man with a Southern accent who seemed unperturbed by this week’s news,” repaired his clogged drain.

So he was terrified of his plumber, a hard working Middle American, because he might be thinking something about Resnikoff ? Yet what he was probably thinking about was getting the job done and moving on to his next customer. Some of these snowflakes like Resnikoff need to take a chill pill and stop thinking that everyone is as judgmental as he is. I think I can safely say that a very large majority of Middle America could care less about him or what he stands for. They just want to be paid for the work they've performed for him and little else. And should they actually be thinking 'something' about him it is likely because Mr. Resnikoff himself brought up the subject.

While I've seen oikophobia first hand, it hasn't been to the paranoid and wholly irrational level we've seen in Resnikoff and his fellow travelers. Around here, 'here' being New Hampshire, it's been seen in what we have come to call summah people and, their winter counterparts, ski people. While both are a small subset of the usual summer and winter visitors, they exhibit less obvious and more benign signs of the malady. These are usually limited to less than friendly side glances, snide sotto voce comments about the locals, or barely suppressed outrage at not being able to find some obscure foodstuff or liqueur that they can procure only from some exclusive shoppe in The Big City for an exorbitant price, and then only if you personally know the owner.

I have seen other less subtle signs when one of these snowflakes won't even consider hiring local tradesmen because they don't see them as competent, trustworthy, skilled enough, or worse, “they might steal something.” So they hire overly vetted tradesmen from The Big City to do the work instead, pay far more than the work is worth, and still end up with something with less quality than the locals would have provided. It's even worse when one of the folks “from away” (that's what we call folks who move here from out of state who haven't a clue about how things work out here in the country). On more than one occasion I have seen one of these oikophobes denigrate, disparage, and stiff local tradesmen to the point where none of them would ever work for these nutjobs again. Then they're forced to hire someone from The Big City because they can't find anyone local who will take on a job for them. Why would anyone take a job from one of those folks knowing it will be likely they won't get paid or will have to go to court in order to get paid for the work they've done? Or worse, they get sued by the oikophobe which ties things up in court for months or years before they get paid, if at all.

I know I have painted a very small percentage of the visitors and folks from away with a rather broad brush, but sometimes it is the only way to bring such problems to light. While we have no irrational fear of these precious snowflakes, they do tend to be an inconvenience or, dare I say, a pain in the ass. If nothing else, we pity them because the world they live in would be horrifying to anyone else in their right mind.