I am looking for an expression which is somewhat of a merger of "any port in a storm" and "can't beat the ass so he/she beats the saddle"

Examples of when you would use it include:

  • UFC championships boasting about B or C actors/musicians/athletes in attendance as if it were a heavy weight boxing championship with A list actors.
  • Relatively rich members of community (ie. 1 million dollars) being pointed out at local mall as if they were billionaires.
  • Foreign celebrities acting like divas at family events.
  • A doctor claiming that a lawyer is not that educated.
  • A lawyer claiming that an accountant is not that educated.
  • A accountant claiming that a real estate agent is not that educated.
  • Senators would look down on the plebs the same way the imperial family would look down on them.

EDIT: I got several complaints that this question is too vague, so allow my to be more specific:

What is at least one expression one can use to describe a member of society's ability/desire to emulate the actions of other members of society which are of higher status/standing/worth/fame.

One example would be a conservative person, hypothetically, looking down on homosexuals because they perceive them to be inferior. Those homosexuals would then, hypothetically, look down on transvestites because they perceive them to be inferior.

Is there an expression to describe this desire to live in one's own universe and be blissfully unaware of the fact that there are many other people who are, by some arbitrary definition, better than one's self?

EDIT: Here is an example exchange between two friends to illustrate what I am looking for

  • Bob: Hey, do you remember that fat guy/ugly girl Jack/Jill?
  • Bill: Ya
  • Bob: Well he/she wouldn't stop talking about how fat/ugly John/Jane was. I realize John/Jane is fatter/uglier than Jack/Jill, but c'mon man!?!?
  • Bill: Well, I suppose even dead rats need truckloads of tampon factories.

What would be an appropriate expression to put in place of "even dead rats need truckloads of tampon factories" to illustrate the fact that everyone dumps on someone else?

closed as not a real question by Gnawme, user2683, James Waldby - jwpat7, kiamlaluno, Kris Apr 26 '12 at 20:44

It's difficult to tell what is being asked here. This question is ambiguous, vague, incomplete, overly broad, or rhetorical and cannot be reasonably answered in its current form. For help clarifying this question so that it can be reopened, visit the help center. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • 1
    Your clarifications obfuscate. If I look down on someone else because I am being looked down on by others, then by definition I am not "blissfully unaware of the fact that there are many other people who are, by some arbitrary definition, better than [me]". Please choose one or the other, then we may be able to help you. – Eugene Seidel Apr 25 '12 at 6:53
  • What about smug? – Tobias Kienzler Jun 4 '13 at 9:16

Your list of examples is too disparate.

The first one is simply hype.

The second is of hayseeds who are in awe of their local social betters (who are nothing special in the larger scheme of things)... I can't think of a single word to capture that right now.

The third, why foreign? Would it make a difference if these were domestic celebrities? You could say these people are putting on airs.

Four through six, why did you give three instances of the same behavior? I fail to see how they are different. Each of these people is being arrogant, obnoxious, pretentious... you get the idea. If these people's station in life were clearly superior to their counterparts (which I don't perceive) then you could say they are pulling rank.

Seven, haughtiness would fit the bill.

Neither "any port in a storm" nor "can't beat the ass/donkey so..." have anything whatsoever to do with what is being asked, as far as I can tell.

Finally, I am puzzled by "tenancies" in your title. Do you mean "tendencies"?

EDIT: In Asker's second edit, they clarify that what is being asked is a colorful expression for "everyone dumps on someone else" and then offers "even dead rats need truckloads of tampon factories". I hadn't heard that one but I like it! (Reminds me of, "Do you want to chop me up and feed me to the poor?" in The Departed; Asker should consider hiring on as dialogue specialist in Hollywood.)

I'll leave it to others to come up with additional pithy phrases for the human penchant for finding someone we can feel superior to.

  • Seems very like 'tendencies' to me. In any case, the Q. is ill-formed. You can't make too many conjectures/ presumptions before trying to answer. – Kris Apr 25 '12 at 5:25

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.