(Postdated so everybody gets to play.)
Right, my darlings. We’re overwhelmingly for a Carnival of the Elitist Bastards, which must mean we’re all elitist bastards. ¡Viva los bastardos del elitista!
For those of you just joining us, or who haven’t yet decided to make your opinions known, there’s still time. Go here and weigh in. There’s room for more than one Carnival on this site.
And I do not want to hear, “But Dana, I’m not good enough to write for a carnival!”
Of course you are. We’ll have no more of this crazy talk.
I might hear, “But Dana, what is a Carnival of the Elitist Bastards?”
That’s what we’re here to discuss.
First, for those of you who already plumped for being elitist bastards, I’d like you to stop reading. Yes, right this instant. Go write down what you thought such a carnival would be, and then come back for the rest. Don’t let my opinions sully your original ideas.
Got it down? Good. I’ll just continue, then, shall I?
It’s always helpful in these cases to start with a definition. Being elitist bastards, we are likely elite, are we not? Here’s what the Free Online Dictionary has to say about that:
e·lite or é·lite
n. pl. elite or e·lites
a. A group or class of persons or a member of such a group or class, enjoying superior intellectual, social, or economic status: “In addition to notions of social equality there was much emphasis on the role of elites and of heroes within them” Times Literary Supplement.
b. The best or most skilled members of a group: the football team’s elite.
2. A size of type on a typewriter, equal to 12 characters per linear inch.
Somehow, I don’t think #2 works for us, but if one of you clever buggers just felt an idea go “ding,” run with it.
An “elitist” is defined as “someone who believes in rule by an elite group.” Seeing as how we expect our fearless leaders to have two brain cells to rub together, I believe that puts us firmly in the elitist camp.
But what kind of elitists are we? Thankfully, they have a quiz for that.
I happen to be a Book and Language Snob.
You speak eloquently and have seemingly read every book ever published. You are a fountain of endless (sometimes useless) knowledge, and never fail to impress at a party.
What people love: You can answer almost any question people ask, and have thus been nicknamed Jeeves.
What people hate: You constantly correct their grammar and insult their paperbacks.
Yes, that’s me. Hi, me. And what sort of elitist are you?
And what’s so wrong with being an elitist, anyway? The Washington Post, never known for its brain power these days, likes to think it has our answer:
Other than being called a criminal, a philanderer or a terrorist sympathizer, is there an accusation in American politics worse than being branded an “elitist”?
The word supposes something fundamentally effete and out of touch, a whiff of brie and latte. There’s something about it that grates against our Jacksonian, egalitarian self-image.
Admittedly, it’s a fine line. It’s okay to be perceived as smart (Bill Clinton) but it’s not okay to be perceived as bookish and intellectual (Adlai Stevenson). And it’s okay to be elite. Olympic athletes are elite, as are Marines and Navy SEALs. But it’s not okay to be insufferably proud of your elite skills, which is just obnoxious.
Could we expect any better of a newspaper owned by Reverend Moon? Probably not. And that was a terribly elitist thing of me to say, wasn’t it? (Update: I just realized it’s the Washington Times that’s owned by Rev. Moon, not the Post. How silly of me. I wonder what in this article could possibly have led me to confuse the two? Apologies to the Post – you’ve actually displayed a little less fuck-wittedness than the average mainstream newspaper lately.)
Here’s how I see things: I think it’s time to plant a boot firmly in the arse of the anti-elitist bastards. I think it’s time to show the world that there’s nothing wrong with being “bookish and intellectual.” That, in fact, the world needs to celebrate more thinkers and fewer meatheads. Meatheads got us into this sorry state. Thinkers can think a way out.
It’s time we took the word “elite” back. Time we turned the tables on the “populists” and made their “anti-elitist” and “anti-intellectual” poses the obnoxious ones. What they’re basically saying is, people are stupid and enjoy mucking about with stupid people because they’re too stupid to appreciate intelligence.
I say bunk.
I call bullshit.
I think there’s all kinds of elites, and they’re just too damned afraid of being branded elitists to say so.
Is there anything wrong with preferring wine over beer? No.
Is there anything wrong with loving a complex, elegantly worded novel more than mass-produced, simplistic trash? No.
Is there really anything wrong with being so smart you need a bigger skull for your brain? No.
And what the fuck could possibly be wrong with being an expert in a field and knowing more than a layman? Absolutely nothing.
People like to spout off about the “wisdom of the masses,” but when the masses intentionally lower themselves to the mental level of their most intellectually deficient member, then the masses just ain’t that wise. I think it’s time for the masses to aspire to some of that vaunted wisdom rather than trying to flatten the bell curve with a sledgehammer.
I think it’s time we stop letting our culture celebrate willful ignorance and start promoting genius instead.
So that’s my view of this Carnival of the Elitist Bastards: we celebrate our cerebrums, jerk the sledgehammer out of the hands wielding it against us, and kick anti-elitists to the curb. We’ll delve into the delightful varieties of elitist and elite pleasures. We’ll wax philosophical and hold up the elite of our societies for praise.
I don’t think we’ll have any shortage of material.
But that may not be what first came to your mind when you decided that a Carnival of the Elitist Bastards would suit you right down to the ground.
So it’s your turn: what do you think this Carnival of the Elitist Bastards should be?
The floor is open.
Update: for more Carnival of the Elitist Bastards information, including contact info for yours truly, see this post.