On Being an Elitist

Discuss whatever you want here ... movies, books, recipes, politics, beer, wine, TV ... everything except classical music.

Moderators: Lance, Corlyss_D

Post Reply
Ralph
Dittersdorf Specialist & CMG NY Host
Posts: 20996
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2005 6:54 am
Location: Paradise on Earth, New York, NY

On Being an Elitist

Post by Ralph » Tue Jun 24, 2008 10:25 am

On another thread a forumite termed me an elitist with, perhaps, a whiff of disapproval. Corlyss chimed in agreeing that I (and others here) fit that description which she finds positive, not derogatory. As is so often the case on this and similar boards, no definition of a term is offered for debate and, possibly, consensus.

So what does it mean to be one of the elite? When a major marathon is run, the first ranks are reserved for "elite runners." To be so designated requires a prior history of achieving certain times in similar races. But within this elite cohort are runners with every level of education, all races and religions, all income levels, all sexual orientations and so forth. The concept of elite is narrowed to the particular activity at hand. A marathon today is not the tattered glory that once was Ascot (and make no mistake about it: HM the Queen's recent ukase about dress in the Royal Box is nothing less than throwing sand against the tide).

So how elite am I? Well I have a law degree but so many do in this country. I am a tenured law professor and that certainly narrows my status and role within the larger profession. But I don't teach at an elite law school so I'm not quite as elite as, say, Alan Dershowitz. And my professional status doesn't get me reservations at in-demand restaurants as would a call from the fifth Earl of Crummystone Manor. He's elite (probably near broke too).

I love classical music and opera - does that make me elite as Corlyss suggests? Have music and opera lovers ever been but a minority in the rich cultural matrix of America? Is mere participation in an avocation that does not attract the masses reflective of elitism? I certainly don't consider those who on weekends jump out of perfectly well-functioning airplanes as elite (foolhardy, perhaps).

And, yes, I am one of a minority that voraciously consumes nonfiction books and magazines and journals galore. Is that elitism or simply an intellectual direction? Why am I more of an elite than a fellow who reads car or sports mags by the score?

Ah, but my demand that Asian food be authentic, not of the Chow Mein-Chop Suey-Egg Roll class. Years ago seeking hot and sour soup in New York City was actually viewed as a kind of culinary snobbery, snobbery being a kissing cousin of elitism. But now the hoi polloi everywhere orders hot and sour soup with abandon. (I'll not discuss Wine Snobs whom I do consider a form of endlessly amusing pseudo-elitism).

A true elite, historically in America, was socially, politically, economically and even with regard to religion discrete as a class. From that time and tempo we had the not infrequently heard "My doctor [lawyer, whatever] is a Jew. Perfectly good chap." But of course never part of the speaker's social world.

To really understand what elite meant at one time in America read the novels of Louis Auchincloss who captures WASP domination in all its often foolish but imperious glory. He writes of an age bygone with more than a bit of nostalgia for a lifestyle that can't be replicated by nouveau riche Masters of the Universe.

So who on this board truly is elite? Not me. Are you?
Image

"Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former."

Albert Einstein

RebLem
Posts: 9075
Joined: Tue May 17, 2005 1:06 pm
Location: Albuquerque, NM, USA 87112, 2 blocks west of the Breaking Bad carwash.
Contact:

Re: On Being an Elitist

Post by RebLem » Tue Jun 24, 2008 11:43 am

Ralph wrote:On another thread a forumite termed me an elitist with, perhaps, a whiff of disapproval. Corlyss chimed in agreeing that I (and others here) fit that description which she finds positive, not derogatory. As is so often the case on this and similar boards, no definition of a term is offered for debate and, possibly, consensus.
Actually, I was the one who originally found it positive. Corlyss merely quoted me and agreed. How did I get to be a non-person?
Ralph wrote:So what does it mean to be one of the elite? When a major marathon is run, the first ranks are reserved for "elite runners." To be so designated requires a prior history of achieving certain times in similar races. But within this elite cohort are runners with every level of education, all races and religions, all income levels, all sexual orientations and so forth.
Not quite all sexual orientations. I've never noticed any crossdressers in high heels. :wink:
Ralph wrote:I love classical music and opera - does that make me elite as Corlyss suggests?


There you go again.

Posted on June 24th, 2008, the 1,882nd day after Shrub announced that major combat operations in Iraq had ended, the 132nd day before the November 4th US general election, and the 210th day before the end of the Cheney Kakistocracy. RebLem
Don't drink and drive. You might spill it.--J. Eugene Baker, aka my late father
"We're not generating enough angry white guys to stay in business for the long term."--Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S. Carolina.
"Racism is America's Original Sin."--Francis Cardinal George, former Roman Catholic Archbishop of Chicago.

Ralph
Dittersdorf Specialist & CMG NY Host
Posts: 20996
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2005 6:54 am
Location: Paradise on Earth, New York, NY

Re: On Being an Elitist

Post by Ralph » Tue Jun 24, 2008 1:08 pm

RebLem wrote:
Ralph wrote:On another thread a forumite termed me an elitist with, perhaps, a whiff of disapproval. Corlyss chimed in agreeing that I (and others here) fit that description which she finds positive, not derogatory. As is so often the case on this and similar boards, no definition of a term is offered for debate and, possibly, consensus.
Actually, I was the one who originally found it positive. Corlyss merely quoted me and agreed. How did I get to be a non-person?
Ralph wrote:So what does it mean to be one of the elite? When a major marathon is run, the first ranks are reserved for "elite runners." To be so designated requires a prior history of achieving certain times in similar races. But within this elite cohort are runners with every level of education, all races and religions, all income levels, all sexual orientations and so forth.
Not quite all sexual orientations. I've never noticed any crossdressers in high heels. :wink:
Ralph wrote:I love classical music and opera - does that make me elite as Corlyss suggests?


There you go again.

Posted on June 24th, 2008, the 1,882nd day after Shrub announced that major combat operations in Iraq had ended, the 132nd day before the November 4th US general election, and the 210th day before the end of the Cheney Kakistocracy. RebLem
*****

You are certainly a "person." I just didn't recall that post of yours. :)
Image

"Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former."

Albert Einstein

jbuck919
Military Band Specialist
Posts: 26739
Joined: Wed Jan 28, 2004 10:15 pm
Location: Stony Creek, New York

Re: On Being an Elitist

Post by jbuck919 » Tue Jun 24, 2008 2:14 pm

I missed any exchanges that may have motivated this, but to the extent that "elitist" does have a pejorative connotation, and it seems to me that it does no matter how the individual chooses to bandy about the semantics of the thing, then Ralph is in no sense elitist. Ralph is a good, old-fashioned Mensch who uses his considerable acumen for the greater good not to mention the enormous benefit of CMG. In plain English, he's got class, and as something of a loner by nature I consider myself lucky to be numbered among his friends.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

RebLem
Posts: 9075
Joined: Tue May 17, 2005 1:06 pm
Location: Albuquerque, NM, USA 87112, 2 blocks west of the Breaking Bad carwash.
Contact:

Re: On Being an Elitist

Post by RebLem » Tue Jun 24, 2008 3:01 pm

jbuck919 wrote:I missed any exchanges that may have motivated this, but to the extent that "elitist" does have a pejorative connotation, and it seems to me that it does no matter how the individual chooses to bandy about the semantics of the thing, then Ralph is in no sense elitist. Ralph is a good, old-fashioned Mensch who uses his considerable acumen for the greater good not to mention the enormous benefit of CMG. In plain English, he's got class, and as something of a loner by nature I consider myself lucky to be numbered among his friends.
It was the thread begun by BWV 1080 titled Where [sic!] the A-Bombs irrelevant to Japanese surrender? My point was that he is and we all are elitists, that there's nothing wrong with that, and Corlyss agreed.

Posted on June 24th, 2008, the 1,882nd day after Shrub announced that major combat operations in Iraq had ended, the 132nd day before the November 4th US general election, and the 210th day before the end of the Cheney Kakistocracy. RebLem
Don't drink and drive. You might spill it.--J. Eugene Baker, aka my late father
"We're not generating enough angry white guys to stay in business for the long term."--Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S. Carolina.
"Racism is America's Original Sin."--Francis Cardinal George, former Roman Catholic Archbishop of Chicago.

JackC
Posts: 2987
Joined: Tue May 20, 2003 10:57 am

Re: On Being an Elitist

Post by JackC » Tue Jun 24, 2008 3:29 pm

Any field or activity has its "elite" ie best, most capable, etc. No one disputes that.

As I use the term "elitist" and "elitism" is has to do attitude more than capability (or wealth). We are all familiar with people who have a smug attitude of superiority, who seem to constantly need to reassure themselves that they are great and who just look down their noses at others they feel are inferior to them. I know lots of people who are "elitist" in this sense, but who have nothing really to feel so smug about. Conversely, I know lots of people who are really quite accomplished, but who for some reason feel less adequate than others less capable.

Seán
Posts: 5333
Joined: Tue Dec 18, 2007 3:46 pm
Location: Dublin, Ireland

Re: On Being an Elitist

Post by Seán » Tue Jun 24, 2008 4:17 pm

As Ralph is a Dittersdorf Specialist perhaps that puts him in a special position relative to every one else here and may even warrant his inclusion in an elite category? :lol:
Seán

"To appreciate the greatness of the Masters is to keep faith in the greatness of humanity." - Wilhelm Furtwängler

Seán
Posts: 5333
Joined: Tue Dec 18, 2007 3:46 pm
Location: Dublin, Ireland

Re: On Being an Elitist

Post by Seán » Tue Jun 24, 2008 4:22 pm

RebLem wrote:Posted on June 24th, 2008, the 1,882nd day after Shrub announced that major combat operations in Iraq had ended, the 132nd day before the November 4th US general election, and the 210th day before the end of the Cheney Kakistocracy. RebLem
"Kakistocracy" :lol: :lol: :lol: , Reblem, this countdown gets better with each passing day.
Seán

"To appreciate the greatness of the Masters is to keep faith in the greatness of humanity." - Wilhelm Furtwängler

jbuck919
Military Band Specialist
Posts: 26739
Joined: Wed Jan 28, 2004 10:15 pm
Location: Stony Creek, New York

Re: On Being an Elitist

Post by jbuck919 » Tue Jun 24, 2008 6:17 pm

Seán wrote:
RebLem wrote:Posted on June 24th, 2008, the 1,882nd day after Shrub announced that major combat operations in Iraq had ended, the 132nd day before the November 4th US general election, and the 210th day before the end of the Cheney Kakistocracy. RebLem
"Kakistocracy" :lol: :lol: :lol: , Reblem, this countdown gets better with each passing day.
Yes, for his wit he certainly deserves a maconium, er, encomium.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

Teresa B
Posts: 3057
Joined: Thu May 26, 2005 11:04 am
Location: Tampa, Florida

Re: On Being an Elitist

Post by Teresa B » Tue Jun 24, 2008 7:05 pm

jbuck919 wrote: Yes, for his wit he certainly deserves a maconium, er, encomium.
Eeyewwwww.
"We're all mad here. I'm mad. You're mad." ~ The Cheshire Cat

Author of the novel "Creating Will"

greymouse
Posts: 205
Joined: Mon Mar 13, 2006 8:42 pm
Location: MI

Re: On Being an Elitist

Post by greymouse » Tue Jun 24, 2008 7:31 pm

When people use the word elitist nowadays, it's just a fancy way of saying snobby. Usually the word is used by conservatives as a way to brand liberals as out of touch. JackC's post says it well.

Wine snobbery isn't in fashion anymore. Now it's beer snobbery. A stereotypical elitist wouldn't be caught dead drinking any large corporate beer such as Budweiser. They would instead drink some obscure microbrews and be very ostentatious and vocal about it to let others know their superior taste and discernment.

Using the word elitist in this sense is a passive aggressive way of lashing out at white urban culture that leans hard left. It's a way of expressing frustration with people who claim to have the poor's best interests at heart while trying very hard to separate themselves from the poor with their lifestyles. Other stereotypes of elitists are Walmart bashing, other brand name bashing ("only trashy people eat ..."), whole foods/organic obsessing, and rejection of any popular music regardless of its merit. In this modern sense of the term, elitists don't have to be rich or successful - they just have to feel superior to others.

Although I agree with many of these stereotypes of a typical elitist because of an unusually rude and liberal area I live in, I do feel the word is abused. I think it's often used as a way to try to shut up a liberal who made a really good point. And in my opinion, nobody should ever be condemned for being rich, educated, successful, or living a lifestyle they're happy with as long as they respect others. I don't read much elitism on this board - there are just really scholarly opinionated successful people.

Elitism is also sometimes used by liberals as a way to describe corrupt political and corporate culture, but usually the word elites would be preferred in this case.

RebLem
Posts: 9075
Joined: Tue May 17, 2005 1:06 pm
Location: Albuquerque, NM, USA 87112, 2 blocks west of the Breaking Bad carwash.
Contact:

Re: On Being an Elitist

Post by RebLem » Tue Jun 24, 2008 8:03 pm

jbuck919 wrote:
Seán wrote:
RebLem wrote:Posted on June 24th, 2008, the 1,882nd day after Shrub announced that major combat operations in Iraq had ended, the 132nd day before the November 4th US general election, and the 210th day before the end of the Cheney Kakistocracy. RebLem
"Kakistocracy" :lol: :lol: :lol: , Reblem, this countdown gets better with each passing day.
Yes, for his wit he certainly deserves a maconium, er, encomium.
You got the spelling wrong. Its meconium, not maconium.


Arugula lovers of the world, Unite! You have nothing to lose but your guilt! RebLem
Don't drink and drive. You might spill it.--J. Eugene Baker, aka my late father
"We're not generating enough angry white guys to stay in business for the long term."--Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S. Carolina.
"Racism is America's Original Sin."--Francis Cardinal George, former Roman Catholic Archbishop of Chicago.

Ralph
Dittersdorf Specialist & CMG NY Host
Posts: 20996
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2005 6:54 am
Location: Paradise on Earth, New York, NY

Re: On Being an Elitist

Post by Ralph » Tue Jun 24, 2008 10:03 pm

Seán wrote:As Ralph is a Dittersdorf Specialist perhaps that puts him in a special position relative to every one else here and may even warrant his inclusion in an elite category? :lol:
*****

Well, it goes almost without saying that those who profess to love classical music and do not appreciate Dittersdorf are surely...
Image

"Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former."

Albert Einstein

Gary
Posts: 1802
Joined: Fri Sep 09, 2005 2:16 am
Location: Houston, TX

Re: On Being an Elitist

Post by Gary » Wed Jun 25, 2008 1:49 am

When you had an elite, you had an example for the people who looked up to those who provided the works of art. All the artistic treasures we admire today were brought about by these people; the popes and the Medicis. If it were not for them we would have no idea of what happened in the past. In order to recapture this love of music and the need for great artists, we must bring back the kings and princes. We must have an elite. Today we have no group whom we can respect spiritually, and we are losing ground all the time.

--Nathan Milstein
"Your idea of a donut-shaped universe intrigues me, Homer; I may have to steal it."

--Stephen Hawking makes guest appearance on The Simpsons

Ted

Re: On Being an Elitist

Post by Ted » Wed Jun 25, 2008 10:22 am

I can't be bothered to address this pedestrian issue***

Madame
Posts: 3552
Joined: Wed Apr 27, 2005 2:56 am

Re: On Being an Elitist

Post by Madame » Fri Jun 27, 2008 5:49 pm

Before the Selectric, I had two options -- elite and pica -- I liked the former. What does that make me? 8)

Ralph
Dittersdorf Specialist & CMG NY Host
Posts: 20996
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2005 6:54 am
Location: Paradise on Earth, New York, NY

Re: On Being an Elitist

Post by Ralph » Fri Jun 27, 2008 6:47 pm

Madame wrote:Before the Selectric, I had two options -- elite and pica -- I liked the former. What does that make me? 8)
*****

Could you type with both hands?
Image

"Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former."

Albert Einstein

jbuck919
Military Band Specialist
Posts: 26739
Joined: Wed Jan 28, 2004 10:15 pm
Location: Stony Creek, New York

Re: On Being an Elitist

Post by jbuck919 » Sun Jun 29, 2008 5:32 pm

Ralph wrote:
Madame wrote:Before the Selectric, I had two options -- elite and pica -- I liked the former. What does that make me? 8)
*****

Could you type with both hands?
Did you intend the pun? (If she could not, she was a "pica.") For those who don't know, pica was ten-pitch and elite eight-pitch. Just thought I'd clear that up. (One could of course get a small variety of fonts including OCR--optical character recognition--which was the early way to make text scannable and machine readable. And to think, we're not even talking about thirty years....

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 9 guests