The Elitist Comeback

While speaking at A&M-CC, talking about news, news gathering, my responsibility to you, when I got to the very thin line between news Anchors and Holly-wood stars, I almost started talking about the elites and how they are making a comeback.........I didn't but here it comes/..." It would be like him to do that; that was the sort of thing he thought about. Martingales, Chiffney bits, boots; where you got the best soap, the best brandy, the name of the chap who rode a plater down the Khyber cliffs; the spreading power of number three shot before a charge of number four heavens, I hardly ever heard him talk of anything else. Not in all the years that I knew him did I hear him talk of anything but these subjects. Oh, yes, once he told me that I could buy my special shade of blue ties cheaper from a firm in Burlington Arcade than from my own people in New York. And I have bought my ties from that firm ever since.[Ford Madox Ford, The Good Soldier]

The nature of an elite is plain from the attitude of those who claim to belong to one: We’re superior to you. It doesn’t matter how elaborately an elitist dresses his snobbery in noblesse oblige. The snobbery – the air of elevation over others – is the meat of the matter.

The snobbery is a required element. It contributes to the perception of an elite by “outsiders.” Superiors must act superior, whether blatantly or subtly. It’s also indispensable to the perpetuation of the elite veneer. If elitists were to refrain from lording it over others, they would soon forfeit all claims to elite status.

Food virtue signalling, or more aptly, food snobbery has been a thing for a very long time. And like political virtue signalling, it is all about display one’s superiority over another based on some irrelevant metric. “Look at me,” says the narcissist, “I’m superior because I like my steak rare.”Of course, it is not merely steak that has suffered this effect. Wine has traditionally been a strong bastion of snobbery, but the practice has moved to craft beer. Now, again, don’t get me wrong, I like craft beer. For the longest time, I thought I didn’t like beer, because I found Bud, Coors, and Miller Lite to be foul-tasting beverage abominations. But therein lies the point: I found them foul. Another man might like them. Indeed, even today these beers sell like hotcakes. Obviously somebody likes them.If the President wants a Bud Lite, get him a damned Bud Lite. And just because you drink Dogfish Head 90 minute IPA (which I also find foul, by the way, as it’s a totally overrated beer in my opinion) doesn’t mean you are a better man, or have a more “elevated” palette, or anything of the sort.

Snobbery of the palate is one of the most common components to elitism. It’s been around for a long time. Note the dishes supposedly elite chefs concoct on cooking-contest shows. Note the bizarre ingredients they frequently incorporate. Note the incomprehensible foreign-language names attached to the resulting dishes. Note the still more incomprehensible comments the “judges” make about those dishes. Note – and ponder.The “judges” supposedly have “cosmopolitan tastes” and “educated palates.” They muse and declaim over the dubious plates nervously set before them like Aristotle contemplating the bust of Homer. But how often do they take more than a tentative bite from what’s set before them? How often would you, Gentle Reader, willingly partake of those...creations?I ask you, (or as Mark Scott would say, " I submit to you") that if it isn’t 100% pretense, it comes damned close...and that there’s a lot of upchucking being done and antacid being consumed behind the scenes.A personal note: Wine Snobs are pretty funny. They're the elitists who specialize in telling us from their oh-so-overflowing founts of knowledge and experience which wines we “should” prefer. You hear a lot of talk like this at KEDT's Wine Tasting fund raiser every year.

Wine is a luxury beverage; the more expensive, the more extreme the luxury. A luxury is pointless if it isn’t enjoyable. Shriekingly expensive wine that tastes unpleasant and is difficult to swallow is the antithesis of enjoyable, and therefore the antithesis of luxury. “Pointless” is the mildest of the adjectives applicable to it.I think the evidence that wine elitism is pure pose is available at any of their much-promoted “tastings.” Here’s a humorous take on it:

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