Rebecca Mead in The New Yorker:
It is to William Makepeace Thackeray that the English language owes the colloquial use of the word “snob”—a formerly obscure term that the novelist popularized in a series of satirical essays published in Punch in the mid-nineteenth century. In them, Thackeray—who went on to write “Vanity Fair”—attempted a taxonomy of the type, ranging from the Military Snob (“With his great stupid pink face and yellow moustachios”) to Sporting Snobs (“Those happy beings in whom Nature has implanted a love of slang”) and the Dinner-giving Snob (“a man who goes out of his natural sphere of society to ask Lords, Generals, Aldermen, and other persons of fashion, but is niggardly of his hospitality towards his own equals”). “I have (and for this gift I congratulate myself with a Deep and Abiding Thankfulness) an eye for a Snob,” Thackeray wrote. “You must not judge hastily or vulgarly of Snobs: to do so shows that you are yourself a Snob.”
This last observation has been taken as a motto by Snob, a Russian-language magazine that, having been launched in Russia and Europe, has just been rolled out in the United States. Snob, which is being funded by Mikhail Prokhorov, the Russian billionaire who recently acquired the New Jersey Nets and an interest in a big chunk of Brooklyn real estate, looks like a cross between Tatler and The New York Review of Books, printed on the kind of paper stock usually reserved for royal invitations. It features articles by Gary Shteyngart and Salman Rushdie, photography by Ellen von Unwerth and Francesco Carrozzini, and an alarming cover price of eight dollars. It is aimed at international Russians—those successful, educated cosmopolites who might live part of the time in London or New York but who, the folk at Snob like to say, think in Russian.