1. MatrixGravity
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    MatrixGravity Senior Member

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    What are examples of "Sophistication"?

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by MatrixGravity, Jun 27, 2012.

    Can somebody list some examples of how a sophisticated person would act? And how an unsophisticated person would act? A detailed answer would be greatly appreciated! :)
     
  2. huskylover103
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    huskylover103 Member

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    To me, a sophisticated person acts with pride. They sit straight, speak proper, have manners, are very tactful, and are well educated.

    An example.

    Unsophisticated lunch lady: I was moving through the lunch line, browsing my choices when I heard the loud ill mannered lunch lady. "Whaddaya want, boy?" she asked as she sloppily wiped her nose with her forearm... the one she was using to scoop the food with.

    Sophisticated lunch lady: I was moving through the lunch line, browsing my choices when I heard the soft voice of the lunch lady. "And what will you be having, sir?" she asked with a smile.

    There could be many more examples of this.... but its just what came to my mind. :)
     
  3. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    - has an awareness of and observes the social niceties
    - is up on latest national and international issues
    - can converse intelligently with people of any social level
    - moves in intellectual circles
    - dresses well
    - dines well
     
  4. AmyHolt
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    AmyHolt Contributing Member

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    I love Maia's examples of sophistication.

    I could probably give you many examples of being unsophisticated since the more of my brothers you put in a room together the more unsophisticated they become. Family reunions are a blast :) It has to do with being loud and not thinking before you speak or act. Generally acting unsophicated doesn't endear anyone to you but it often provides great entertainment.

    The thing I thought of first is the children's book called Fancy Nancy. She tries to teach her family how to act sophisticated.
     
  5. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'd say someone who is sophisticated eschews the vulgar, the petty, the shallow, and the trite. They are not prone to 'flying off the handle' or getting overly upset at the slightest provocation. Rather, they tend to take in new information and reflect on it. They will then either incorporate the new information into their understanding of the world or dismiss it as irrelevant or unhelpful. They tend not to get angry at those who hold opinions different from their own, but chalk it up to a difference in underlying philosophy or to the other person being uninformed or unable to understand the nuances and complexities of the issue at hand. They realize that almost any question has hundreds of different answers, in varying shades of gray, and that nothing is purely black or purely white. They are also able to understand and respect those who hold views different from their own.
     
  6. Darkkin
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    Darkkin Reflection of a nobody Contributor

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    These are very rare people indeed.

    This description seems more like that of an insightful or thoughtful individual rather than sophisticated, or possibly sophistication in its truest, cleanest form. With society today, we judge people by what we see and hear, by how they act. On appearance alone, the guy with the suit and briefcase or the guy with the Spam shirt? Visually most would chose the guy in the suit, but would you stop long enough to listen to the guy in the Spam shirt? Maybe.

    Sophistication isn't something that can be taken at face value. Look at Hollywood, everything is all shiny and perfect on the outside and then you have the tabloids, (Admit it, we all read them while standing in the checkout at the grocery store...;). Sophistication is a veneer, a shield for grace under fire or a cloak that hides a dark side. It hides all the messy, chaotic emotions people are endowed with.

    Back to Spam and Briefcase: They are waiting for coffee. Briefcase begins ranting, his order isn't right...although it was prepared correctly. Receives the new order, according to Briefcase the order still is not correct, insists on another replacement. Two more tries, Briefcase is finally appeased. Pays for drink, stalks off, slamming door on the way out, and bumps into a woman on the sidewalk, dousing them both with coffee. Briefcase begins ranting at the woman he ran down, berating her for clumsiness.

    Meanwhile, it is Spam's turn to order. Sees the server is frustrated and shorthanded. Instead of his usual, he orders a simple black coffee to go. He is polite, patient, and leaves a decent tip. On the way out hold the door for an elderly lady with a cane. Says a causal, kind hello. Sees Briefcase storming off, still muttering under his breath. Spam hands woman the napkins in his hands.

    - Darkkin
     
  7. Andrae Smith
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    Andrae Smith Gone exploring... in the inner realm... Contributor

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    To me, Sophisticated means cultured, mannered, well educated, yet well rounded. Think one of high society. Keep in mind that the character of that person can waver. Not all sophisticated persons are the nicest. Some can be snobs, that is they look down their noses ate others with different life styles, whitle others can be very humble and polite.

    Unsophisticated implies, under-educated, simplistic in nature, often coarse and unintentionally ill-mannered. Think maybe lower class, someone who was raised on a farm, very simple very direct, and may be considered uncultured with no real appreciation for "the arts".

    Keep in mind that the general populus will fall somewhere in between this.
     
  8. MatrixGravity
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    MatrixGravity Senior Member

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    Thanks for the input guys. I also wanted to ask. Does sophistication have anything to do with morals?
     
  9. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't think either of these necessarily speak to "sophistication." The example makes Briefcase a jackass and Spam a nice, decent guy. Briefcase would not be sophisticated. Spam may or may not be. A sophisticated person probably appreciates dressing well, but that doesn't mean that they always do so.

    I would say no. They are different concepts.

    I am curious, though, as to why you asked the question.
     
  10. maidahl
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    maidahl Banned

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    "pulsating pussy" was my favorite eloquent, sophisticated locution of the day. I think sophistication entails no morality, just worldly experience combined with artful rhetoric. It's kind of a unique, dynamic strata above the norm as far as anything considered ordinary. I agree with some of the above comments. Sophistication has nothing to do with niceness or character. It's just as much an art form of refinement and rounded culture as well-executed poetry.
     
  11. Andrae Smith
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    Andrae Smith Gone exploring... in the inner realm... Contributor

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    Sophistication has nothing to do with morality. One can be sophisticated, but have poor morals-- being unconcerned with anyone or anything outside of one's own self. While the unsophisticated farm boy knows right from wrong and will always help a person in need despite his rough way of doing so :p
     
  12. Thumpalumpacus
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    Thumpalumpacus Contributing Member

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    A cultural sophisticate has a grasp on the nuances of subjects like fine arts, language, history, and the like. The sophisticate has both the ability to acknowledge gaps in that education, and the good sense to not pronounce upon them ignorantly. That grasp of nuance usually brings with it refined tastes in selected fields.

    A rube doesn't value subtlety, but rather, grasps the most salient characteristic of the topic at hand and clings to it for dear life. He's generally intolerant of tastes or opinions which run counter to his own. The rube doesn't seek to expand his horizons, settling instead for a limited vista which supports rather than challenges the views or tastes he holds. Indeed, countervailing opinions are often waved away without consideration.

    These are, of course, generalizations.
     
  13. maidahl
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    maidahl Banned

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    Is a hick always unsophisticated? Like the word "rube"? I know "boor" is in denotation.
     
  14. Darkkin
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    Darkkin Reflection of a nobody Contributor

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    A hick is a slang term for rural dwellers, it doesn't necessarily denote a lack of sophistication, just a visual lack of polish. My sister, who is very near and dear to my heart is a hick. A large animal vet, she loves that land, cares naught for appearances, and is one of the brightest, kindest people I know. She can talk to just about any one on any subject. Her appearance might be ordinary, but do I think my sister is sophisticated, yes. All one needs to do is talk to her.

    A rube, defines crude manner, appearance, and understanding.

    A boor has similar connotations, but is not usually applied in a rural situation; more often it is seen when describing an individual who believes they are possessed of sophistication. More often then not, they do make an effort with their appearance, but can fall short of the mark. A boor is defined by certain overbearing personality traits that counter true sophistication of character. Because some have acquired a slight veneer of polish.

    It boils down, each to our own definition of sophistication. Some include appearance, behavior, and character. Many more judge on appearance alone, never delving to deeply. Personally, I think it is character that counts.


    - Darkkin
     
  15. maidahl
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    maidahl Banned

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    Social climbers. usually need sophistication. I don't think character matters. It can be flawed to sh!t. Superficial, vain people can be sophisticated. They can be cruel and cold and still be refined. How they act is almost an art form.
     
  16. Thumpalumpacus
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    Thumpalumpacus Contributing Member

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    Of course. And some of my favorite people are rubes, too -- I've got a family full of them. I love 'em dearly, but wouldn't expect to discuss the details of, say, the history of Impressionism with my Uncle Rip. He sure knows a hell of a lot about how to raise good beef cattle, more than any sophisticate I've ever met.

    The long and short of it is that "sophisticated" refers to learned worldliness, not moral value, it seems to me.
     
  17. MatrixGravity
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    MatrixGravity Senior Member

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    So let me ask you guys this then. If morals aren't related to sophistication then can you please clarify this for me? I was watching a movie. The main character John attended a strip club, and called one of the strippers an "unsophisticated hag". Stripping would be deemed immoral from what I understand. So why would he call her unsophisticated if that doesn't have anything to do with morals? In what context was it implied in? I just don't understand.

    I was looking at the dictionary definition for "unsophisticated", and it said "not wise in the ways of the world" so wouldn't that pertain to morals? I am just so confused :/.
     
  18. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think sophistication generally implies having an understanding of the nuances of the way things work. It's a difficult concept to explain in that having a sophisticated understanding of something means that one understands a great deal about the subject matter, as opposed to someone who has only a rudimentary understanding of a particular subject. When applied to a person overall, that usually means that the person described as "sophisticated" has a deep understanding about the world in general, and this has become intertwined with someone who can appreciate the finer things.

    It sounds to me, that in the movie you described, John as a strip club attendee, is not likely to be someone who would be deemed "sophisticated." He therefore would not be someone who could appropriately look down on someone else who is also unsophisticated. Strippers are not usually thought of as 'sophisticated' but not because what they do is necessarily 'immoral.' Rather, they would be considered unsophisticated because acts of a sexual nature are considered base and almost animalistic, being primarily biologically driven. Sexual acts are therefore intended to be done in private. Showcasing them in a public forum is going against this social more, so those who engage in it are generally considered to either not understand or not care about that social norm. They are therefore generally not considered 'sophisticated.'

    I don't know if that helps -- maybe someone else can explain it better than I can.

    Also, I don't know if this helps, but I've recently begun watching the television series Breaking Bad. There is a character named Gus, who dresses well, owns a chain of restaurants, gives to charitable causes, and is soft-spoken. He is very sophisticated. However, he also operates a huge drug business, has people killed, and will suggest to others that perhaps they should kill someone. He clearly lacks morals. He is the example that comes to my mind as I sit here drinking my coffee as a character who is sophisticated, yet immoral.
     
  19. Gallowglass
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    Gallowglass Contributing Member Contributor

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    There seems to be a monetary element to a lot of these definitions that doesn't really apply in real life. Some of my friends are flat-out broke and always have been, yet they're still sophisticated. They don't move in higher circles or dine well because they can't, but that doesn't mean they don't hold themselves to a higher standard of behaviour, language, taste, etc. Also a lot of my richer friends (there's a couple whose parents are multi-millionaires) would consider themselves nothing but sophisticated, with their emphasis on decorum, standards, and all that. It's all put-on. They're wild as soon as they leave their parent's sight-line. You can't tell sophistication from someone's bank balance, but from their behaviour and mindset.
     
  20. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think there's a monetary element present only because having a lot of money makes it easier to be sophisticated. If one has a lot of money, and therefore doesn't have to spend time worrying about where his next meal is coming from, there is a certain calmness that can arise from not having to worry about such matters. Having money also enables one to take classes, to read, to travel, and to think about philosophies and issues that one might not have the money or time to pursue otherwise. This does not mean that one cannot be sophisticated without having money. It's just that having money makes it easier.
     
  21. Thumpalumpacus
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    Thumpalumpacus Contributing Member

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    No. A newborn baby is not wise to the ways of the world. Precisely because of that naivete, they are not seen as moral agents, and are permitted behaviors that in adults would be seen as immoral to a degree (selfishness, mainly).

    I agree that being wealthy does not necessarily result in sophistication. The relationship is one of correlation, not causation. I think Liz's point above, that wealth gives the leisure time to nurture a sophisticated outlook, is very apt.

    I think you're right that there are layers to sophistication, and some are deeper than others; and that working stiffs like me can access some of the layers of sophistication without having a fat portfolio. Of course, that's a self-serving statement, too.
     
  22. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    Just because stripping is seen as immoral by some people doesn't mean that every observation about a stripper has to relate to morality. If he referred to her as a "dark-haired hag" that wouldn't mean that dark hair is immoral.

    A specific stripper might be dark-haired, blue-eyed, intelligent, tall, ambidextrous, asthmatic, and drive a Honda. None of those things necessarily have anything to do with morality. In this case, the character thinks that the stripper is unsophisticated - that she doesn't know much about the ways of the world. He may or may not also think that she's immoral.
     

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