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39802324 No. 39802324
So my professor brought up something interesting today: is there anything actually wrong with being elitist? As in, is elevating the elite above the rest of the crowd bad? The example he gave was the music of Schoenberg. It is inherently not music for the populace, and that is one of it's major criticisms. However the counter point to that is, well so what? What does it matter if the common person can't understand it, does that mean it's bad? Further, is there anything actually wrong with art that is obviously aimed at a lower common denominator? Is not the fact that the said work is targeted at people who are not as knowledgeable grounds for not being taken as seriously? For instance, why should a band like Switchfoot being given the same credibility as say Handel?

Let's even take it to the hard sciences. Why should the opinion of say, a chemistry student be just as viable and valid as somepony who's only background in chemistry is reading the ingredients in the back of a Coke bottle?

I don't necessarily agree with all of this, but it's interesting to think about nonetheless. It's funny how the world culture has shifted from doing anything to try to get in with the elite, to there being a universal distrust of people who are knowledgeable.
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>> No. 39802333
not at all.
>> No. 39802342
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39802342
The problem with being elitist comes when you inherently dismiss the positions of those that are "below" you, sometimes for quite silly reasons. For instance, when it comes to video games, there's the idea of "If you don't have over 1000 hours in this game, you're a shitty noob who needs to STFU", which is just silly. While technical skill is certainly linked to how much you've practiced, you can easily play for 1K hours and still be shit or play for 100 hours and be pretty decent. It's much the same within academia. Having a degree in something likely gives you a greater understanding of the topic than somepony who does not, but unless you can actually put it into words and explain this beyond just posting links to articles and bragging about your degree, you obviously didn't learn much.

Elitism is when you snub those that you deem to be beneath you, whether for justified or unjustified reasons. Which is stupid, because you simply cannot know whether or not somepony is knowledgeable, skilled, intelligent or whatever until you give them a chance to prove it. What you're really asking is whether there's anything wrong with a meritocracy in which the more capable are elevated above the rest purely based on capability. In a pure meritocracy, there's no inherent problem with that. Unfortunately, human nature does not lend itself to this type of social structure, and stuff like nepotism, bribery, whether or not you like the other person, etc. will always play a role because humans aren't designed for a meritocratic society.
>> No. 39802351
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39802351
>>39802342
>While technical skill is certainly linked to how much you've practiced, you can easily play for 1K hours and still be shit or play for 100 hours and be pretty decent
Technically this is true, however I would argue that you're much, much, MUCH more likely to be better if you play 1k hours than if you play 100 hours. So while yes, it's possible for the opposite to happen, the amount of times you're going to find that is very small, so it's better to assume that the person who has played more is better.

Now where I agree with you is that I don't think you should necessarily dismiss somepony because they are not as good, which is why I don't fully buy into this. But there is nothing bad about elevating people who are better than you.

>Unfortunately, human nature does not lend itself to this type of social structure, and stuff like nepotism, bribery, whether or not you like the other person, etc. will always play a role because humans aren't designed for a meritocratic society.
I wasn't arguing that we should run our society like this, we're way past the point where that's possible. I'm just arguing that there isn't anything wrong with elitism.
>> No. 39802365
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39802365
>>39802324
>is there anything actually wrong with being elitist
That depends whether you care about being able to relate to other people or not. Knowing about stuff like top 40 music and sports is a great way to strike up conversations with people you don't know, even if you're not actually "into" it.

>Let's even take it to the hard sciences. Why should the opinion of say, a chemistry student be just as viable and valid as somepony who's only background in chemistry is reading the ingredients in the back of a Coke bottle?
The hard sciences are a different story imo. They are about objective knowledge, whereas music is subjective.
>> No. 39802381
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39802381
>>39802351

Right, but the problem is, who defines what makes somepony the best? The reason I mentioned the meritocracy thing is because I think it's relevant whenever bringing up the idea of a society ruled by the elite - that we, as humans, simply aren't capable of properly choosing what makes somepony an apt ruler. I mean, elections are supposed to be people choosing the best possible leader, yet it matters more whether you have the money to campaign when talking on any large scale than your actual ability to lead. On top of that, people still pick based on tons of other qualities that aren't specifically related to somepony's leadership capabilities. When the question is merely "Is there a problem with elitism in a vacuum", I think most qould agree that no, there isn't. But these things never exist in a vacuum, and most people are just too - let's be frank here - ill-informed to know whether chemist A or chemist B is more capable. And if chemist A seems like a nicer guy, despite actually being way less capable, then he has a much better chance of being elected by a group of people choosing him for the office of "Best chemist". Tests don't do it either, because a test can only be as advanced as the person making it, and in that case, we're assuming that the tester is really the most capable person, since he/she is capable of choosing who the best is - and if so, why are we not just going with him/her?

There's just no way for elitism to actually work in reality. For example, it would be quite easy for me to insert a bunch of flowery language and obscure words into this post and, to the majority of people reading it, appear "smarter" than I really am. And that's the problem. How do we determine who's best? There's no objective metrics for who's the best chemist, popular vote doesn't work and we can't devise tests unless we have already figured out who the best is. There's just no feasible way to do it properly, and definitions will vary immensely based on who you ask. For example, like I said, there are people who would find this post more intelligent if I had used more flowery language. And I'm sure those people would not want to be discounted when deciding who the best is.
>> No. 39802386
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39802386
Elitism isn't a problem about whether or not a piece of media / whatever is inherently more valuable based on whatever criteria you choose to apply, be such judgement justified or not. Its about being an ass to those you view as being beneath you because of it.
>> No. 39802387
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39802387
If you're an asshole about your meaningless personal preferences then yes there's a problem. If you're not an asshole then whatever, who cares?
>> No. 39802391
I always assumed elitism was a particular attitude. I've never heard anybody imply that having specific knowledge or refined tastes was in any way not a good thing, but that being an arrogant prick about your obscure niche interests should be avoided.
>> No. 39802394
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39802394
>>39802386
>>39802391

Well, actually, it does have another meaning. It can also mean a society dominated by the elite.
>> No. 39802398
>>39802394
I assumed that wasn't relevant in this example.
>> No. 39802403
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39802403
Qu'ils mangent de la brioche.
>> No. 39802409
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39802409
>>39802394
Well I certainly wouldn't vote for somepony I thought was incompetent, and history has examples of dynasties ending due to the actions of an incompetent monarch. In this sense, elitism seems expected.
>> No. 39802417
Eh, it's only bad if ya feel entitled to things because of your exception.

Otherwise considering it above or below others' opinions due to its popularity seems pretty much bullshit to me, though in that sense hipsters and pop fans are very much alike.

Though hard science is pretty much excempt from this if experiment testable.

Last edited at Mon, Apr 20th, 2015 15:25

>> No. 39802468
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39802468
I think the answer depends on the specifics of what we're talking about. To use Schoenberg as an example; he created very technical music for very technical ears and that specific crowd enjoyed it. I'd call that a success. Johnny Cash wrote music for a completely different audience, but that audience still loved it. Success.

Music is not a field where anything can be labeled "the best" in a general sense. Music is not "correct". Art is very subject to relativism and different people will enjoy different pieces. Yes, this will lead to weird stuff like completely blank canvases and four minutes of silence being sold as art. But that's what some people enjoy, so while it might not be to your taste that people are using simple repeated chords with a single instrument, the fact that people enjoy it means it's a legitimate art form. We're entitled to mock people for liking harsh noise, but we don't get to say they're not musicians.

Cooking is another art. Goals are subjective. Does this mean that when Gordon Ramsey tells you your cooking is shit he's wrong? Probably not. In my experience, Gordon Ramsey is actually very open to new experiences and him being called in probably means your business is failing because no one likes your food. This sort of reveals my second point: the beholder might begin charge of beauty standards, but there are still standards. It's okay if only five people like your dish, but there isn't much to defend yourself with if your restaurant only serves five people. The fact that art is relative does not mean your art is good. Italian is not inherently superior to Mexican, or even to US comfort food, but you can tell good Italian from bad Italian.

Chemistry, on the other hand, is not an art. Chemistry is a search for truth. Chemistry is a science. It can be correct and incorrect. We can and should be elitist about bit.
>> No. 39802472
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39802472
I don't know about elitism but there is something wrong with being a disgusting furry.
>> No. 39802473
>>39802472
>In the year of our Lord, two thousand and fifteen
>not being a disgusting furry
>> No. 39802525
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39802525
sorry got busy
>>39802381
There is no determining who's best per say, just determining who is learned and who isn't. There are certainly levels of learned but I don't think it's wise to distinguish more than two levels (though I'm sure with more thought you could do more). As for how to measure it, through the consensus of the academic community. Unless you can make an intelligent argument as to why it's wrong. The question then next would be how do we know the academic community is right? That's tricky, since you can't really quantify that. However I don't think that's necessarily a deterrent to giving them power. Though I suppose if you really wanted to make an objective measurement, you could use pedigree and academic achievement. Though again, I would only use that in determining the distinction between learned and unlearned, not in different levels of learned (unless the different levels are extremely obvious, but that's just using common sense as opposed to anything completely objective, which I don't think is inherently bad).

I mean I guess you could also just administer a test, ask them questions, stuff like that if you really wanted to distinguished who was more learned among the learned.

Also I'm not advocating elitism as a way of governing, just as a point of personal viewpoint.

>>39802386
>Its about being an ass to those you view as being beneath you because of it.
See and that's why I don't fully agree with this, I said that. I view elitism as simply elevating things aimed at a higher common denominator.
>>39802387
See above
>>39802468
>he created very technical music for very technical ears and that specific crowd enjoyed it
The irony is that the entire purpose of schoenbergs music was the same as the romantic style of music, to make you feel. The difference was that Schoenberg made you feel horror and ugliness. It was all abut expressing your inner most desires, sort of like what freud was doing, but with less bullshit about your mother.
>Music is not a field where anything can be labeled "the best" in a general sense.
Not correct, simply above others. All is art, but not all is high art. I think quality is subjective, but qualifying it as high class or low class isn't entirely. I think that is determined by the current state of the academic community. Note, I think that low class art can still be fantastic, just not worth intense academic study.
>> No. 39802530
>>39802525
So you're knowingly misusing the word despite the vast majority of English speakers using it in a particular way because you'd like it more if it meant something else that fit your needs?
>>>/tumblr/
>> No. 39802532
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39802532
>>39802530
I mean most people use it incorrectly anyway, so does it really make a difference?

Elitism is literally just advocating a society run by the elite, which I totally support in theory, though as whelp pointed out it would never work in reality.

I'm using the word elitism in kind of the same vain, only altered to only be relevant to you personally, so as in your viewpoint would be run by the elite. I don't see how it's really that far off.

Last edited at Mon, Apr 20th, 2015 17:01

>> No. 39802534
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39802534
>>39802532
If you actually have to ask, then no it doesn't. Not to you.
>> No. 39802535
>>39802534
see edit
>> No. 39802536
>>39802535
That definition is obsolete, whether it's the official definition or not. If you use that word today, it's going to mean one thing to almost everybody listening. If you want to get your ideas across in an efficient manner then I'd find a different word for what you mean.
>> No. 39802537
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39802537
>>39802536
The definition inherently labels elitism as a bad thing, which I'm arguing against, so my entire point is basically that I don't agree with that definition, whether or not it is commonly used or not. You're free to argue why I'm wrong.
>> No. 39802538
>>39802537
But there are other good words you could just use, like highbrow or sophisticated.
>> No. 39802539
>>39802538
Or refined.
>> No. 39802549
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39802549
>>39802391
Then you haven't watched enough Fox News. On Fox News, they often say things like "Harvard educated" as an insult, despite the fact that half of the Fox News hosts went to Ivy League schools.

In general, I agree. If somepony knows a lot about something, their opinion should be given much more wait than some random person off the street, especially when it comes to things like science. However, it is possible for people to just be pretentious, like wine tasters for instance. I saw an experiment once that showed that many elite wine tasters often couldn't tell the difference between fancy wine and run-of-the-mill wine.

And I think people who are very knowledgeable about some area, any area, are more likely to appreciate other people's elite knowledge. The more you learn about one thing, the more you realize how ignorant you were before. Somepony who just graduated high school is less likely to be able to appreciate just how much more a scientist knows than they do. I'm only a math grad student, but I've had experiences where people try to argue with me about math, but they are so ignorant about what they're talking that they can't even form a meaningful hypothesis, let alone defend it. I would have to spend hours explaining basic things to them to even begin to have a meaningful discussion. For that reason, if scientists say something like "global warming is caused by man" I don't question it, because I can only imagine how much more they know about it than I do. And when people say things like "well if you look at sun spot activity, it correlates with global warming" or "the earth has actually stopped warming" or whatever, I just shake my head because there's no way the people who spend their lives studying this stuff haven't already long taken into account whatever factoid these people dredge up.

TLDR: I support elitism
>> No. 39802550
>>39802324
>Schoenberg. It is inherently not music for the populace
because the populace have good taste
>> No. 39802561
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39802561
>>39802538
That wasn't the term my instructor used, and that's not what he was arguing. It was convenient so I used it. Also high brow or sophisticated sounds even worse than elitist. >>39802549
ur pretty cool
>> No. 39802563
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39802563
>>39802561
>high brow or sophisticated sounds even worse than elitist
maybe if you're a retarded faggot
>> No. 39802565
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39802565
>>39802563
maybe I am a retarded egghead but you're a fuccboi and I can at least get smarter.
>> No. 39802569
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39802569
>>39802565
You're fighting tooth and nail to avoid getting smarter though.
>> No. 39802572
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39802572
>>39802569
I'm sorry, I can't hear you over your fuccboiness.
>> No. 39802576
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39802576
>>39802525
>>39802530
>>39802532
>>39802534

I think the term we might be looking for here is actually "exceptionalism"?

>All is art, but not all is high art. I think quality is subjective, but qualifying it as high class or low class isn't entirely. I think that is determined by the current state of the academic community. Note, I think that low class art can still be fantastic, just not worth intense academic study.

Well that's fair I think, yeah. It sounds like, again, high class stuff is very technical, but only somepony who's well versed in sound would be able to understand how difficult it is to pull off and be impressed, while the more mundane listener just hears a bunch of rubbish and doesn't understand why anypony would be impressed.
>> No. 39802579
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39802579
>>39802576
Exceptionalism sounds good, again I was using elitism because it's what my teacher used and I was arguing from his standpoint.
>but only somepony who's well versed in sound would be able to understand how difficult it is to pull off and be impressed
it's not even really difficulty though. I mean sure there is always difficulty in making something like that, but it's more the reasons behind it, and the technical structure of it that's what makes it high class. Dragonforce is extremely difficult to make, but I would never consider that high class.
>> No. 39802581
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39802581
>>39802579

Well I'm not much of a musician to begin with, so it's not like I really know what we're talking about anyway. So uneducated I can't measure how uneducated I am.
>> No. 39802584
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39802584
>>39802581
>So uneducated I can't measure how uneducated I am.
LEAVE PEASANT, YOU ARE NOT WELCOME IN THIS SANCTUARY OF INTELLECT
>sips tea angrily
>> No. 39802597
in theory, no

unfortunately on the internet "elitism" means really boring idiots getting huffy and upset about really boring things and losing any and all ability to shut up about it
>> No. 39802606
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39802606
Is it possible though. To be so educated in music, that you suddenly only have the ability to enjoy and critique a very narrow selection?
My evidence, is most folks I've met who had extensive vocal training. They then judge all vocals by classical singing criteria and don't seem to understand or be able to enjoy any sort of alternative singing style.
>> No. 39802614
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39802614
>>39802606
>To be so educated in music, that you suddenly only have the ability to enjoy and critique a very narrow selection?
You have the ability to critique anything you want no matter how educated you are, it just doesn't mean anything unless you know what you're talking about.
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