I’m afraid I’m going to have to respectfully disagree with Owen.
(I know, big shocker. Maybe next time, I’ll tell you that the sky is blue and that fish swim in the ocean.)
But that said, I really can’t wrap my head around the idea that elitist might actually become a “good” word. And no amount of semantic reconstruction is going to change the fact that the root for elitist is not elite but elitism. Which has a slightly different definition than Owen proposed. From dictionary.com:
- 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.
2 a. The sense of entitlement enjoyed by such a group or class.
b. Control, rule, or domination by such a group or class.
Simply put, elitism is snobbery. Not just snobbery in some sort of passive “I don’t watch that kind of show sense” but snobbery in its most vile form. In the form that says, “I’m better than you and it does matter.” It’s the fundamental belief that somehow the pedestal that you’re on is well deserved and frankly been touched by the hand of God almighty.
Yeah, I get kind of angry about it.
But that’s because I’m a bit of an elitist myself. I mean I certainly think my viewpoint is important enough that I should write blog posts about it. And I even think I have some good points that I’d like to voice to the vast chasm that is the Internet. In fact, I’d say that every blogger has a little elitism to think that.
That doesn’t make them elitists though. It’s funny because TheBigN’s post about elitism reminded me of my own experiences with role playing. And when I say role playing, I mean table top gaming. The type with all of the strange dice. And why do I have to explain that? Because there are people out there who get dressed up in funny costumes go to hang out in nightclubs and pretend to be vampires. They give me the heebie jeebies partly because I don’t like crossing that line between fantasy and reality.
And because frankly, I worry that they’re going to give role playing a bad name. (I mean a worse name than it already has.)
Even that though, doesn’t really qualify me for elitism.
It’s that next step. The one where I say, “What’s wrong with those people? Don’t they understand that what they’re doing is stupid? Shit, I wish Gary Gygax was still alive to kick them in the ass. They should just act normal.”
You see, true elitism isn’t a preference (even a loud or particular preference). I’m sure a lot of people prefer quality or a particular genre or age of show. In fact, it isn’t even just saying that my anime is better than yours. True elitism is taking the next logical step and saying not only is my anime better than your anime, but it’s adding on, “So you should sit down and shut the fuck up because you’re not worthy of having this argument with me.”
This ironically is why I think most bloggers aren’t actually truly elitists. Sure we’ve got opinions. Sure we think we’re right. And occasionally we might yell or rant or rave at each other. Even Owen, who might occasionally be a little low in the tact department (or high in the brutal honesty department, take your pick), generally respects other people’s opinions or at least their right to have them.
But in the back of our heads, we know that it isn’t that important that we’re right. I mean it’s not like we’re professionals.
This was mostly inspired by reading Martin’s interesting post on elitism, whose title really says everything I just said.