Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Elite As Derisive

Do you know the names Thomas Friedman, David Brooks, Maureen Dowd, Michael Gerson, David Ignatius, Tobin Harshaw, or Gail Collins? If you do you are probably an elitist who reads the New York Times and Washington Post Op-Ed sections. Have you no shame?

When Lynn Forester de Rothschild, a prominent Hillary Clinton supporter and member of the Democratic National Committee’s says of Obama “… frankly I don’t like him. I feel like he is an elitist. I feel like he has not given me reason to trust him,” there is irony afoot: elitist derides elite as elitist.

Let’s eschew obfuscation, I say. When I taught Writing for Mass Media at U South Florida, Tampa, I wrote those two words on the blackboard and told my students that it they would appear on the final exam, the definition of which could mean the difference between D and C grades.

So it has come to pass a new obfuscation to be eschewed is the word elite. By definition elite is “a group of persons exercising the major share of authority or influence within a larger group: the power elite of a major political party.” However, conservatives have transformed elite into a word of derision, like “coward” or “sissy.”

“I feel like he is an elitist” indeed. Note she was not quoted as saying the “thinks,” but that she “feels.” Well, I feel sick when a liberal turns conservative out of feeling. Thank you, Tobin Harshaw of the Times for the irony.


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