July 21, 2017

"I'm not elitist. I'm elite. There's a difference."

Overheard on the street in University Heights (Madison, Wisconsin).

73 comments:

dhagood said...

uh-huh. sure.

'TreHammer said...

...whatev...

Big Mike said...

Not true. Real members of the elite possess self-awareness.

Drago said...

The "everybody gets a trophy"/"grade inflation" crew pipe up.

Freeman Hunt said...

He he he. A great line. Evokes a character instantly.

Bill R said...

Here's a quiz

That came from a ....
A) Physics Professor
B) Gender Studies Professor

rcocean said...

I'm not an elite, I'm just better than anyone else.

stever said...

I could be wrong, but I doubt it.

Bay Area Guy said...

Typical left-wing college professor!

Gotta take him out of his comfort zone -- how many push-ups can you do, Dr. Jagoff?

Sebastian said...

I am not a snob. I just have good taste. There is a difference.

rcocean said...

You can't destroy America by destroying our elite. Think about America's elite. Think about it down through history. Destroy our elite, and about half the time, you're doing us a favor - PJ O'Rourke

Fabi said...

A great way to put a stopper in a piehole like that is to ask them how much wealth they create.

Ralph L said...

This is what he thinks he is: "a size of letter in typewriting."

We are all elites here, whether we realize it or not, but how many consciously look down on others? I don't mean we're among the powerful, the ruling class, or the plutocrats.

mezzrow said...

Well, of course you are.

Angel-Dyne said...

Not knowing the context, I'd say it's possible that the comment could have come from someone who possessed both humility and a sense of humor.

But since it's Madison, I wouldn't bet that way.

sodal ye said...

Or an INTJ with the usual lack of filter.

Meade said...

I'm not an egalitarianist. I'm just no better or worse than anyone else. There's a similarity.

Dave from Minnesota said...

Let me take a crack at this one as I had a very similar discussion recently. I used to date a gal who wasn’t selfish, but she did always think of herself first. Whatever made her happy at that very moment is what she did, even if it was detrimental to others (say, like a boyfriend).

Selfish people know they are dicks and don’t care. They think everyone is else should bend over for them.

Someone who thinks of themselves first, aren’t aware of it. It’s more of being impulsive and unaware.

Elite person may be a high performer in whatever he is referring to.
An elitist is a dick. And probably actually inferior to those he thinks he is superior to.

The Cracker Emcee Activist said...

Sure that wasn't a New Yorker cartoon.

Fabi said...

"Or an INTJ with the usual lack of filter."

Hey!

Big Mike said...

@stever, I get it. I was wrong once. I thought I had made a mistake, but it turned out I hadn't.

n.n said...

[class] diversitists place class (e.g. race, sex) before diversity.

She's likely a Pro-Choicer, too, who denies intrinsic value and individual dignity.

Meade said...

I'm not a Marxist. I'm just opposed to exploitation on materialist grounds and economic logic.

Humperdink said...

I'm not deplorable. I AM a deplorable. There is a difference.

DanTheMan said...

I'm not an absurdist. I'm absurd. There's a difference.

Otto said...

Not enough details.

Nonapod said...

Being "elitist" is generally looked upon negatively. Being while being "elite" is looked upon positively.

If someone calls themselves an "elitist", I can at least I know they are able to acknowledge a shortcoming.

But if someone seriously calls themselves "elite", I tend to think "What a douchebag".

LarsPorsena said...

I'm not a specialist. I just special.

Scott M said...

That statement could make sense, in context, if spoken by a gold-medal-winning athlete, no?

exhelodrvr1 said...

The "There's a difference." comment pretty much says it all.

Fernandinande said...

The Cracker Emcee Activist said...
Sure that wasn't a New Yorker cartoon.


I'm not a cartoonist. I'm a cartoon. There's a no difference.

traditionalguy said...

Elite is as elite does. Forest Gump's mother said that.

But actual elites are a bloodline that gets inbred to keep the inheritance in the hands of First Born Sons. I.e., its a patriarchy or its nothing.

Meade said...

I'm not a malapropist. I'm abstruse. There's a difference.

J. Farmer said...

Taken as a self-contained statement absent any context, it's an absolute true statement. To take just one example of a name that has been in the public consciousness for a bit--Steve Bannon. Georgetown School of Foreign Service, Harvard MBA, Goldman-Sachs pedigree, and yet, Bannon is not what I would call an elitist. Jared Kushner on the other hand.

Kevin said...

A legend in his own mind.

J. Farmer said...

Another example that just popped into my head: George W. Bush. Undoubtedly elite, the son of a former president and an Ivy league education. Did he strike anyone as an elitist?

n.n said...

That statement could make sense, in context, if spoken by a gold-medal-winning athlete, no?

Yes, achievement is redemptive. Still, it's a desperate woman who must assert her status. Perhaps there is a missing context that would justify a defensive statement.

Fabi said...

Very witty, Meade.

h said...

Elitism: the advocacy of an elite as a dominating element in a system or society.

I realize that this comment is supposed to be highly risible, but I don't see why it's any sillier than saying, "I'm white, but not a white supremicist" or "I'm feminine, but not a feminist."

n.n said...

George W. Bush... Did he strike anyone as an elitist?

Elite, yes, but not an elitist. Not at the height of power and since. He is very humble for a man of his status and achievement.

vicari valdez said...

is it time to sharpen the guillotines? lmk

dbp said...

The statement could be true, we do not know if the speaker is being truthful.

An elitist believes that the elite should be in charge. You can be elite, but want common people to be in charge.

J. Farmer said...

@n.n:

Elite, yes, but not an elitist.

Precisely.

Meade said...

I'm not a meteorologist. I'm Meade.

Humperdink said...

"I'm not elitist. I'm elite."

One of Pauline Kael's progeny speaks up.

Ann Althouse said...

"That statement could make sense, in context, if spoken by a gold-medal-winning athlete, no?"

You can think of many examples. I thought of:

A person who gets a high score on a standardized college entrance test might think that test scores should not be a very important criterion in college admissions.

A highly accomplished scholar might think that it's a good thing that highly accomplished scholars are sidelined into academia and not putting their hands directly on the levers of power.

A member of a royal family could support democracy.

Todd said...

The appropriate reply is: Yes, dear, yes you are. Bless your heart.

Balfegor said...

Re: Althouse:

A member of a royal family could support democracy.

Lots of royals support democracy. The real question is their position on morganatic marriages and Ebenbürtigkeit.

traditionalguy said...

IIR, a 1965 classic defined elite as the seventh son of a seventh son. More reliance on Patriarchy lines of descent.

Mere talent comes and goes. It is the Familial Descent that ranks the elite. Ask the Untouchable Caste in Hindu India and the Royals in Europe. But the Reformation's Protestant Presbyterian viewpoint has so warped the thinking in the USA that a hierarchy of Class has become invisible to us. Oh, well. We are born and bred to be Jacksonian.

Left Bank of the Charles said...

The elite use of parentheses: University Heights (Madison, Wisconsin). We are not to want to mistake this place for any other University Heights.

Let's also consider what "overheard on the street" might encompass:

(A) Althouse overhears someone say "I'm not elitist, I'm elite".

(B) Althouse says "I'm not elitist, I'm elite to Meade and is overheard by some third party.

Is it a lie if the third party is a squirrel or a tree?


CJ said...

Definitely a man with an MFA in creative writing. That's what makes him elite. And he can't stand that some bumpkin with a high school degree and a *landscaping business* lives in a bigger house and has a wife and a family.

"I dont want any of those things" he lies to himself.

William said...

There are those members of the elite who get put in tumbrels and go to the guillontine. Then there are those members of the elite who decide who gets put in the tumbrels. Some elites are more elite than other elites.

Susan said...

A friend once remarked that people were often surprised to find out she had a genius level IQ.

"I guess they never expected to meet a real-live genius," she supposed. Which would be one way of looking at it.

deepelemblues said...

There isn't a difference when you think you're elite but you aren't.

Virgil Hilts said...

William F. Buckley (of Skull and Bones) said it with more eloquence (though I think he should have used Yale rather than Harvard in his example): "I would rather be governed by the first 2000 people in the Boston telephone directory than by the 2000 people on the faculty of Harvard University."

dbp said...

The speaker's honesty and/or judgement are called into question, which is why the statement seems ridiculous. Or really silly AND entertaining, much like the Killers, "I got soul, but I'm not a soldier"

Comanche Voter said...

Graduate of a top ten law school; law review; Order of the Coif; worked in big law firms and Fortune 50 legal departments. I have spent my working life surrounded by highly educated, highly credentialed people. More than a few of them have been highly educated fools.

I was amused by a qoute in this Friday's Wall Street Journal section on housing. Their lead story involves a very wealthy Houston oil man who collects ranches. He's 66 years old now; his father was a policeman, his mother was a cleaning lady. The family came from poor folk in Louisiana. One of his Louisiana uncles supposedly told him, "If you are lucky, s#$t is all you need for brains".

Color me distinctly unimpressed by fancy degrees (although I've got them). Show me somebody who can build something, and I'll be impressed.

David Begley said...

Probably my daughter.

But she is moving from Madison soon. Sad! I loved Madison.

J. Farmer said...

The more I've thought about this statement, the more it resonates on a certain level with me. I used to joke that I am an egomaniac with low-selfesteem. Many in my family and social circle find it odd that I make a nationalist, America First argument for immigration. I am a pretty cosmopolitan person who spent a good part of my 20s living in another country and being the only pale-faced English speaker for miles. However, part of self-awareness is understanding that most people are not like me. Most people are rather provincial and more at ease with familiarity. There is nothing wrong with that. However, many in elite circles do see it as a problem need fixing. Andrew Neather, a former advisor to Tony Blair, admitted that the UK pursued a policy of mass immigration in order to "to rub the Right's nose in diversity and render their arguments out of date." Sounds familiar.

exhelodrvr1 said...

I'm not a Republican. I'm a life-long Republican. There's a difference.

buwaya said...

"Another example that just popped into my head: George W. Bush. Undoubtedly elite, the son of a former president and an Ivy league education. Did he strike anyone as an elitist?"

Possibly a very clever elitist. Julius Caesar is an excellent example. As elite as anyone could be in Rome, but he had the common touch.

"However, many in elite circles do see it as a problem need fixing. "

Many in elite circles are themselves dreadfully provincial, in a different way from the provincials they despise, but provincial nonetheless. They can't handle "diversity" because they don't understand the diverse people they are dealing with - none of them, natives or immigrants.

rcocean said...

"Andrew Neather, a former advisor to Tony Blair, admitted that the UK pursued a policy of mass immigration in order to "to rub the Right's nose in diversity and render their arguments out of date." Sounds familiar."

Economics played a big role. The Well-to-do either benefit -or are insulated - from mass immigration and bad trade deals.

When the WSJ and the NYT times agree on an issue, you can be sure the average American will be screwed over.

J. Farmer said...

@buwaya:

Possibly a very clever elitist.

Possibly but highly doubtful in my estimation. GWB never struck me as particularly clever, which of course is not the same as stupid. If I were to play armchair psychologist for a moment, Bush always seemed like someone who felt overwhelmed by his family and made great effort to distance himself from it. This is not an all together uncommon phenomenon for children in powerful and wealthy families.

Jamie Johnson, an heir to the Johnson & Johnson fortune, created a documentary in the early oughts called Born Rich in which he interviewed and profiled such people, including Josiah Hornblower of the Vanderbilt-Whitney lineage, S.I. Newhouse IV whose family owned Conde Naste publications, Georgina Bloomberg of the Bloomberg clan, and Ivanka Trump. Incidentally, Ivanka came across as the most likable, down-to-earth, and grounded of the entire film.

J. Farmer said...

@rcocean:

Economics played a big role.

Undoubtedly. That famed profession that uses a lot of math and complicated jargon to hide the fact that it's basically a social science throwing darts at a dartboard in the dark. Just last week The Economist published an article with the absurd headline A world of free movement would be $78 trillion richer.

rcocean said...

George W. Bush was a cultural rube - but politically an elite. No doubt growing up in West Texas, being an Air Force pilot and born again Christian helped his image as an average guy.

Clinton gave off the same air of being a "Regular guy" despite being a member of the elite (Georgetown/Oxford/Yale Law).

But when it came to economics, trade, immigration, foreign policy, both of them were elite globalists.

MadisonMan said...

Excellent Meade but not as witty as the talking about their grandchildren quip.

Meade said...

Thanks, Fabi and MadMan. But, MadMan, I'm stumped on the grandchildren quip.
(And I see now how I could've added one more layer to the malapropist joke by changing there's a difference to there's a diffidence.)

"I'm not a Republican. I'm a life-long Republican. There's a difference. "

LOL

Scott said...

An elitist is a person who believes in elitism; that is, the existence of a class in society that is dominant due to its superiority (in whatever measure you choose to evaluate it).

An elite is a member of this elite class. If you recognize yourself as an elite, then you are by default an elitist. So the elite who says they are not an elitist either doesn't have the discernment to be an elite (and just has their head up their ass); or they're lying, in which case they probably are an elite.

Or something. (This is like a Martin Gardner puzzle.)

Scott said...

Actually, you don't have to be an elite to believe in elitism. You can be a stooge, lackey, or peon. But in common parlance, an elitist is almost always a self-styled member of the elite.

Ann Althouse said...

One could say I'm a Christian, bur not a Christianist.

Meade said...

I'm not a horticulturist. I'm a hoer. There's a difference.

Laslo Spatula said...

Meade said...
"I'm not a horticulturist. I'm a hoer."

Are you sure you're not actually a Proheauxer?

I am Laslo.

Meade said...

Sounds a little elitist. But sure.