Thursday, October 23, 2008

What's an Elitist?

Liam and I came up with a lexically different outcome when discussing the notion of elitism as it relates to identity.
Brian Williams of NBC just asked Sarah Palin who she thought a member of the elite was and she replied:

PALIN: Oh, I guess just people who think that they're better than anyone else. And-- John McCain and I are so committed to serving every American. Hard-working, middle-class Americans who are so desiring of this economy getting put back on the right track. And winning these wars. And America's starting to reach her potential. And that is opportunity and hope provided everyone equally. So anyone who thinks that they are-- I guess-- better than anyone else, that's-- that's my definition of elitism. Look for the elitism discussion circa minute 4:05
Here is the McCain/Palin discussion of the term elite as seen on tonight's segment on the NBC Nightly News:
How do you define the term elitism?

11 comments:

Dana said...

How did you and Liam define it?

JJ said...

The almighty wiki tells me:
"Attributes that identify an elite vary; personal achievement may not be essential. As a term "Elite" usually describes a person or group of people who are members of the uppermost class of society. Personal attributes commonly purported by elitist theorists to be characteristic of the elite include:

* Rigorous study of, or great accomplishment within, a particular field.
* A long track record of competence in a demanding field
* An extensive history of dedication and effort in service to a specific discipline (e.g., medicine or law)
* A high degree of accomplishment, training or wisdom within a given field"

The above is not good because...?
I'd like my leaders to be all of the above.....

JJ said...

cont.
Also.
I tend to pay attention to those who are informed. I mean, as child, or adult for that matter, I run ideas past Mom&Dad because they've always known best and more. OOh, I'm the 'spawn' of elitist b/c they're well-educated?!? Puhlease.
What's a member of the elite?
One who conscientiously tried hard to learn more and be better.
And I'm out.

Nicki said...

Recently the way the popular jargon has it, there seems to be much negativity attached to the word 'elitist.' My understanding of it is along the lines of the definition JJ got from wiki.
Sure, there are elitists who think they are qualitatively better on account of what they know but, for the most part, my experience tells me that elitists are well-educated and cultured people primarily invested in helping the whole. This might sound a tad too romanticized to some but I stand by it.

becca said...

In my view, elitism is a carefully chosen/selected array of ideas and information set[s]. I, also, do not see why it's a 'bad' thing to be an elitist. Sure, there are some solid examples out there of individuals who want to be treated differently and better for being born to certain privilege or being educated a certain way or in a certain place, but for the most part I see elitism as a marker of a higher level of accomplishment, excellence even.

liam said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
liam said...

i just so happened to have this discussion with a judge at work today. wahnsinn! i'm all for open-minded elitism.

Dieter said...

And if standing up for one's hard work to learn more and accumulate more information as a result of heavy study and much work, then, by all means, call me an elitist. I might even wear a sign on a t-shirt. I might even buy one when the economy picks up.

Dieter said...

...
Open-minded elitism, as stated above. That, I dig.

Sra said...

I think the generally understood connotations for elitism have become more negative than the wikipedia definition.

But to me, there are two ways to look at elitism: (1) Someone who has some kind of privileged status, whether it be monetary, intellectual, etc., whether or not they feel superior; (2) Someone who feels superior to other people whether or not they have a privileged status.

So according to this model, elitism can be a good or bad thing. Which really gets us nowhere, I suppose.

Nicki said...

Oh, I suppose, we have to add fruit fly researchers in here.....