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Thread: Elitism

  1. #11
    blansky's Avatar
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    I think that usually an "elitist" is a term thrown at people by inferior people, and let's face it, the world is full of inferior people.

    People who are cultured, understand the finer things in life are often labelled elitist by the great unwashed. Interestingly enough, most people aspire to become part of the so called elite but alas what real chance do they have.

    It is much like the people here who aspire to the Star Chamber. I'm terribly sorry but, FAT CHANCE.


    Your humble servant,


    Michael
    I couldn't think of anything witty to say so I left this blank.

  2. #12
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    Personally, I strive to be among the elite, at certain things, however at most things I am content to be merely competent. I think that when one thinks that because they are among the elite in a particular pursuit that it makes them better at everything, and better than everybody, then the word, like so many english words, becomes another thing.

  3. #13
    Wigwam Jones's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger Hicks
    I had always understood that noblesse oblige referred to the obligations that come with nobility.
    And what are members of the nobility if not also members of an elite class?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elites

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nobility#Western_nobility

    The meaning of the term 'noblesse oblige' has clearly been modified through popular usage to encompass the elite of nearly any society, including supposed meritocracies such as Western democracies give rise to.

    I find it therefore germane and appropriate to the conversation.

    What have you against monocles? I started wearing one because I'm strongly right-eyed and am losing ever more accommodation in that eye. If I close the left eye to assess a scene, I can barely see it with my right eye. Hence a monocle. Also a lot harder to lose than spectacles, because it's on a piece of string.
    I have nothing against monocles, any more than I have anything against walking sticks, pince nez glasses, or morning coats. All give the impression of an affectation. Affectations are often seen as pretensions of the leisure class, who are often mightily resented by those who work. I am not suggesting that you do not work, sir, just to be clear. I am pointing out the effect of the affect, as it were.

    Then again, it's curious that some people see monocles as a class indicator. Or as another friend pointed out when I mentioned fencing at school, "The working classes don't fence."
    Some traditions happily pass into antiquity. I am pleased to discover that a facial dueling scar is now seen as the result of an unfortunate accident, rather than a rite of passage into the moneyed Germanic cultures; a permanent cigarette-holder, a welded-on cravat.

    Actually my grandfather was a miner (admittedly clay, not coal) and my great-grandmother on the other side joined the Communist Party in 1917 (admittedly when her father's iron foundry went broke through his unwise investments). Both facts seem to surprise some people.
    You act as though you had been accused.

    Your point about condescension escapes me.
    Imagine my surprise.

    Don't fight elites -- join them!
    Roger - who wrote "A Modest Proposal?" A hint - it was not a starving Irishman.
    Best,

    Wiggy

    Note to Self: Tse-Tse Fly - No Antidote

  4. #14
    c6h6o3's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger Hicks
    If I want to learn something, I want to learn from the best: the elite.
    I don't equate 'elite' with the 'best'. I agree that we all should seek to learn from the best, but the use of the word 'elite' introduces all kinds of political connotations which have nothing to do with photography. Perhaps this is what people are reacting to instead of artistic considerations. From dictionary.com:

    elitism

    1. The belief that certain persons or members of certain classes or groups deserve favored treatment by virtue of their perceived superiority, as in intellect, social status, or financial resources.
      1. The sense of entitlement enjoyed by such a group or class.
      2. Control, rule, or domination by such a group or class.
    3.the attitude that society should be governed by an elite group of individuals

  5. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by c6h6o3
    From dictionary.com:...
    From the Oxford English Dictionary:

    Elite: The choice part or flower (of society or of any body or class of persons).

    So it comes down to your dictionary against mine. Personally I'll back the OED.

    Cheers

    Roger

  6. #16

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    Dear Wiggy,

    There seems to be a continuing misunderstanding here. The 'oblige' in 'noblesse oblige' is an obligation upon the nobleman to behave well to his inferiors; it is the very opposite of what you implied in your original post.

    As for Wikipedia, well, I will muster all the scorn I can. A worthless trifle, by the ignorant, for the ignorant. Facts are not democratic. The meaning of words may be, but I'd even there I'd rather read a definition by someone who knows what he is talking about, and has the respect of his peers, than one by a fellow who has, in effect, wandered in off the street.

    Cheers,

    Roger

  7. #17

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    In the degraded substandard dialects written on bulletin boards, "elitist" is just another insult. A shorter form of "you seem to think you're better than I am, I think you're mistaken."

    Interesting that "snob" isn't much used. Moi, je suis tres snob. I wear a Casio diver's wristwatch instead of a Rolex, look down on the ignorant fools who wear Rolexes in the hope that wearing a Rolex will impress such as me.

    Cheers,

    Dan

  8. #18
    Steve Smith's Avatar
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    It is possible to be elitest without actually being part of the elite.

    Hope that makes sense!


    Steve.
    "People who say things won't work are a dime a dozen. People who figure out how to make things work are worth a fortune" - Dave Rat.

  9. #19
    c6h6o3's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger Hicks
    From the Oxford English Dictionary:

    Elite: The choice part or flower (of society or of any body or class of persons).

    So it comes down to your dictionary against mine. Personally I'll back the OED.

    Cheers

    Roger
    That wasn't my point, which is that in common usage (at least here in the US) the word connotes other things to which I think these posters are reacting.

    I prefer the OED, too. Not being among the flower of society myself, it's difficult for me to afford.

  10. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by c6h6o3
    I prefer the OED, too. Not being among the flower of society myself, it's difficult for me to afford.
    The flower need not be rich: one should not confuse wealth with such things as social class, education, wit, charm or membership of any elite.

    Even at half price (anyone who has written anything for OUP can apparently get this discount, and I contributed to the Oxford Companion to the Photograph) I still can't afford a proper one in 14 volumes. I have only the book-club photographically reduced version in two volumes.

    But your argument comes back to the point of words changing their meaning as they cross the Atlantic, something that should, perhaps, be aired more often.

    The British tend to think they're right, because they got there first, and Americans tend to think they're right, because there are more of them. Both tend to forget Australian and South African English, and indeed, English as spoken in the biggest democracy in the world, India.

    Cheers,

    R.

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