April 13, 2008

Just To Be Sure...

..."Elite" means "bad", does it?

Because from what I seem to remember, when someone was "elite", it meant there were few who could match their accomplishments in whichever field they specialized. It's been generalized to imply someone who is at the top of the social class, certainly, but there again it's tough to argue that being in the top 1% qualifies you as being at least among the elite, don't you think?

As far as I can tell, the more important a job is, the more important it is to have an "elite" in the position. You want the person who designed the submarine you're in to be among the very best at his job, because otherwise you die in a truly horrible way. The person making your pastrami sandwich, on the other hand, can be as nice as you like but doesn't really have to be the best of the best - just good enough to know what mustard is and how to use it.

The electrician wiring your house? You need him to be good. The kid mowing your lawn? Good enough not to require immediate medical attention at any time and can avoid the roses.

In politics, perhaps "elite" means someone who actually speaks about specific people who are in hard times, instead of keeping all statements as vague as possible. Or perhaps it means being able to make complete statements about complex ideas all in one go without fearing that you'll lose your audience. Or even assuming that the people listening to you aren't complete idiots.

That, in politics, would seem to put someone into the realm of the very, very few.

Because surely it doesn't mean a fantastically wealthy coke snorting Ivy League trust fund brat from Massachusetts with a fake Texan accent that no one else in his politically connected oil baron family has who has somehow convinced people they'd "like to have a beer with" him?

Nah. That'd be crazy.


posted by Thursday at 8:50 pm


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