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Thread: Elitism

  1. #41
    Bob F.'s Avatar
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    `When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, `it means just what I choose it to mean -- neither more nor less.'

    `The question is,' said Alice, `whether you can make words mean so many different things.'

    `The question is,' said Humpty Dumpty, `which is to be master - - that's all.'

  2. #42
    Curt's Avatar
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    Roger, I just wanted to be an elitist for a little while, that's all.

    Curt

  3. #43
    David H. Bebbington's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger Hicks
    Twice today I've seen the term 'elitist' used as a term of disapprobation or even abuse.

    This puzzles me. If I want to learn something, I want to learn from the best: the elite.

    To be sure, if that elite doesn't want me, I may be less than enchanted with them, but from what I can see here on APUG, most of the people who have a lot of experience and knowledge are more than willing to share it with those who have less -- and indeed to learn from anyone, regardless of how humble or mighty the source of the information, in those areas where they are less knowledgeable. I don't see the 'elitism' that some deprecate.

    Obviously to ask for examples of 'elitism' would be to invite a flame war, but I'd be interested in others' views on the very concept of what an elite is for, should be for and shouldn't be for.

    Cheers,

    Roger
    Speaking personally (as always), I would define "elitism" as "a desire, usually based on illusion, to place oneself above others, to believe oneself to be superior to others, and to segregate others out of the particular area in which the elitist believes him/herself to occupy a superior position."

    In other words, the main things on an elitist's mind are self-glorification and exclusion of others. For an artist, this is tantamount to imminent brain death. Again speaking purely personally, I have been taking pictures for over 50 years and know a hell of a lot about photography (knowledge stronger in some areas rather than others). I would, however, consider it a personal and creative disaster for myself if I ever thought I was a member of an "elite" and had lost the ability to respond to and learn from the work of others, even beginners and people who by conventional standards "don't know what they're doing." And, believe me, there are a frightening number of elitists and so-called gurus in photography who HAVE lost this ability.

    Just - as the saying goes - my $0.02 worth!

    Regards,

    David

  4. #44
    jovo's Avatar
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    I think the notion of an elite went downhill rapidly with the circulation of C. Wright Mills' "The Power Elite". People who had no idea they were bottom feeders were suddenly, and rudely reminded.

    "The power elite theory, in short, claims that a single elite, not a multiplicity of competing groups, decides the life-and-death issues for the nation as a whole, leaving relatively minor matters for the middle level and almost nothing for the common person. It thus paints a dark picture. Whereas pluralists are somewhat content with what they believe is a fair, if admittedly imperfect, system, the power elite school decries the grossly unequal and unjust distribution of power it finds everywhere."*

    *H. T. Reynolds, PHD 1996

    In the domains of art and culture, the average person couldn't care less if he has a say in those expressions. But when it comes to the future of the planet, well....to basically be told, outright, that one sucks algae from swamp scum is exceedingly unpalatable.
    John Voss

    My Blog

  5. #45
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    John,
    What Reynolds describes as the Power Elite is essentially what was taught in my HS govt classes as elitism along with pluralism and ultra pluralism.

    Elite is not bad on its own. Elitist can be derogatory and I believe David's post covers it well. Aspirations of elitism is what may have pushed the GOP to go for GWB over John McCain (btw I'm not looking to start an argument). It is hard for me to use all three as interchangeably as has been done here.

    *

  6. #46

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    I have been watching this circle jerk all day. I find it really humorous and enlightening at the same time that this whole thread is an attempt by the originator to justify why he is appropriate in acknowledging himself as being an elite individual. In lieu of that, depending on the direction of the wind it seems, why he should not be termed as being elitist. I am not sure which side of the fence the originator will land on next.

    The real issue here, it seems to me, is not a matter of definitions of words but one of behavior. This is a behavior that some here, including myself I might add, have observed and addressed. As I observe, there are a fair number of us here who have arrived at the same viewpoint. Our viewpoints are based in observable behavior.

    The objective of this site is to have a community of like minded individuals. That would seem to mean a fellowship. A fellowship indicates a group of equals. I think it is damned arrogant to assume that I or anyone has anything worthwhile to teach another or that they need to be taught, for that matter.

    We can have a group of equals. We can have differing strengths in our practice but we don't need to assume that our specific strengths place us in an elevated position to another person on this site.
    Art is a step from what is obvious and well-known toward what is arcane and concealed.

    Visit my website at http://www.donaldmillerphotography.com

  7. #47
    bjorke's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger Hicks
    Twice today I've seen the term 'elitist' used as a term of disapprobation or even abuse.
    Roger, I think you'll have to name names or people will just spew in circles about Noah Webster or how sensitive they are or whatever ever-more-tangential nonsense they can wander across.

    What I love about all denouncements of elitism is that the speaker has, by their statement, declared themselves and their values to be of a superior sort -- in other words, they declare themselves as some more significant sort of elite.

    "What Would Zeus Do?"
    KBPhotoRantPhotoPermitAPUG flickr Robot

  8. #48
    David H. Bebbington's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bjorke
    Roger, I think you'll have to name names or people will just spew in circles about Noah Webster or how sensitive they are or whatever ever-more-tangential nonsense they can wander across.

    What I love about all denouncements of elitism is that the speaker has, by their statement, declared themselves and their values to be of a superior sort -- in other words, they declare themselves as some more significant sort of elite.
    And how about the people who denounce the people who denounce elitists? One thing's for sure, we're not going to get anywhere until we take all those sensitive and tangential people out and shoot them !

  9. #49
    DBP
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    Quote Originally Posted by David H. Bebbington
    And how about the people who denounce the people who denounce elitists? One thing's for sure, we're not going to get anywhere until we take all those sensitive and tangential people out and shoot them !
    But shoot them how? Color or black and white? MF, LF, or ULF? Printed how? What do we do with all the shots? Would we have to shoot them using a 7x17 camera, ISO 25 Ortho, and print as bromoils to properly capture the sensitivity? How do you handle the tangents, by using a normal lens?

  10. #50
    David H. Bebbington's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DBP
    But shoot them how? Color or black and white? MF, LF, or ULF? Printed how? What do we do with all the shots? Would we have to shoot them using a 7x17 camera, ISO 25 Ortho, and print as bromoils to properly capture the sensitivity? How do you handle the tangents, by using a normal lens?
    This is the eternal creative quandary which we elitists face! One thing we can be sure of - the results will be MUCH better than anyone else's pictures!



 

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