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Thread: Elitism

  1. #1

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    Elitism

    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

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    gr82bart's Avatar
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    The internet makes people think they are a lot more elite/more important/more righteous/more persecuted/more censored/more picked on/more whatever than they are in reality. It makes for good drama.

    Ever notice it's always men? Geeky, nerdy men too...

    Regards, Art. (D'oh! That last sentence will get me to the Star Chamber....)
    Visit my website at www.ArtLiem.com
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  3. #3
    Wigwam Jones's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger Hicks
    ... 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.
    The elite exist to keep the peasants in their place, of course. Of course, there is the ancient tradition of 'noblesse oblige', which works pretty well, until someone notices that they're the one being 'obliged', which tends to increase the dust kicked up in the general vicinity of that unfortunate and his or her 'noblessor', if I may coin a phrase.

    The mere existence of an elite gives the lie to the notion that all are equal, that there are no differences between human beings, this pervasive modern insistance that one ignore the evidence of one's own senses and intellect and pretend that every idea is equally valid, that every opinion is equally important, every thought equally worthy.

    ...So the Maples formed a Union
    And demanded equal rights
    'The Oaks are just too greedy
    We will make them give us light'
    Now there's no more Oak oppression
    For they passed a noble law
    And the trees are all kept equal
    By hatchet,
    Axe,
    And saw...

    -Rush, "The Trees," from "Power Windows"

    The elite ride horses, wave swords about, and pillage from time to time. Or was that a movie I saw?

    As to what the elite 'should' be for - what 'should' the sun be for? What is the purpose of the moon? The elite are.

    What shouldn't the elite be for? Whatever they choose not to be for, I suppose.

    But, of course I must add that I have always disliked the elite. And in any revolution, well, you know who is first for the chop. The guy with the monocle and the look on his face like he just smelled something awful, whose every third sentence drips with condescension.
    Best,

    Wiggy

    Note to Self: Tse-Tse Fly - No Antidote

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    Roger. That largely been my take on APUG. I have never been talked down to when seeking an answer. Just occasionally the supplier of information has assumed more knowledge on my part than is warranted and equally rarely has answered most but not all the questions contained in my post.

    The acid test is what response do I get when I need further info due to either reason specified above and it's been pretty well faultless.

    To borrow from the old joke:In this club, when I have asked the question about the fuel consumption of the Rolls Royce, I have yet to be told that if I have to ask the question then I can't afford to buy it.

    pentaxuser

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    The elite tend to believe their own press and in so doing become legends in their own minds.
    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

  6. #6
    roteague's Avatar
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    Hi Roger, it think it is one more example of how the meaning of words change over time. Here in the US, it seems that the print media (among others), uses the term 'elitism' as a means of disparaging some group.

    I agree with your observations about the base of knowledge here. I was just thinking, I don't do a lot of B&W, but if I ever did, I would bet that I could get dozens of very experienced people that would be willing to teach me advanced darkroom techniques. People can be generous with their money, but there are so many people here that are generous with their time, a much more important commodity.
    Last edited by roteague; 07-02-2006 at 01:05 PM. Click to view previous post history.
    Robert M. Teague
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    "A man who works with his hands is a laborer; a man who works with his hands and his brain is a craftsman; a man who works with his hands and his brain and his heart is an artist" -- Louis Nizer

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wigwam Jones
    there is the ancient tradition of 'noblesse oblige'.
    I had always understood that noblesse oblige referred to the obligations that come with nobility.

    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.

    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."

    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.

    Your point about condescension escapes me.

    Don't fight elites -- join them!

    Cheers,

    Roger

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by roteague
    Hi Roger, it think it is one more example of how the meaning of words change over time.
    Dear Robert,

    Or when they cross the Allantic. Much like 'liberal' or 'intellectual'.

    Cheers,

    R.

  9. #9
    Muihlinn's Avatar
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    there are people that needs to feel more diminishing others, or writting in the most confuse way possible. That only shows their limitations. The same on the other way.
    Luis Miguel Castañeda Navas
    http://imaginarymagnitude.net/

  10. #10
    Ole
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger Hicks
    ...

    Don't fight elites -- join them!

    ...
    Good advice as always. That's why I put what I did in my signature!

    And it also serves well to defuse the "elitist accusations": Yes, and so what?
    -- Ole Tjugen, Luddite Elitist
    Norway

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