Saturday, May 10, 2008

Arrogance and Elitism

because idiots are slow learners

arrogance - : an attitude of superiority manifested in an overbearing manner or in presumptuous claims or assumptions

elitism - : the selectivity of the elite; especially : snobbery
(snobbery - : snobbish conduct or character)

A very nice man once told me that I don't have to introduce myself as a "citizen" journalist. I didn't ask him why he thought I shouldn't feel obligated to identify myself in such a way, but I was thinking that he felt by identifying myself as a "citizen" journalist that maybe I was somehow denigrating myself, announcing my creditials weren't quite as "up to snuff" as other journalists who didn't feel the need to announce themselves in such a way. Now, this man is about as far away from being arrogant or elitist as anyone I've ever met in my life. He didn't mean there was anything wrong with being a "citizen" journalist, he simply didn't feel it was necessary to attach that moniker to myself.

There aren't any "citizen" doctors or "citizen" lawyers because one is required to go to school, get a degree and become licensed to practice medicine or practice law. You don't have to get a license to write for a newspaper, anyone can take a stab at it, and, if you're lucky, you'll get an opportunity to write and continue to write. It's partly a willingness to do it, not everyone enjoys the craft and not everyone who does enjoy the craft is blessed with an opportunity to exercise it. I've been blessed, but that's only sort of what this is about. The fact is: if a person writes journalistic articles for a paper and gets paid for writing them, they move into the professional realm. It's very simple.

This posting isn't about nice people whose message is that citizen journalists are valuable and can be as credible as those who are simply journalists, without the "citizen" moniker.

I'm really becoming concerned about arrogant elitism. I experience it myself and I watch as others experience it, heck, even State Auditor Susan Montee experienced it when she dared to audit such a "special" utility as CU. It's complicated, you know, auditing a utility company, that's different than auditing anything else in the world (or so some would have us believe).

If questioning a person's ability, even a professional and highly capable person's ability, doesn't work, that's okay....There are other ways to denigrate and disenfranchise them, a proper arrogant elitist can always pull the "politics" card. See: CU electric customers pay for those using gas. Read the comment left by anonymous poster, "Whereitsat." (I couldn't help but wonder if "Whereitsat" knows "It's All Downtown?")

A Springfield "citizen," Donna Bergen, had the gall to actually question some of City Utilities practices and remind other citizens about some of the questions State Auditor Susan Montee raised concerning certain practices of the public (sic) utility. "Whereitsat's" ire was engaged and that's fair game, I suppose. Question the questioner. Make the issue about something besides the issue, sure, why not?

Yes, I'm concerned about arrogance and elitism because much of the time it involves denigrating and disenfranchising the "citizen" questioner and/or the "citizen" journalist.

Why should those in a power position, read: City Utilities executives/board members, Springfield city staff, doctors, lawyers, etc., etc., etc., have to answer to you? (!) Who do you think you are? (!) Trust us,

"...just trust us,

...we're special and this is complicated (you, idiot!), or we're special and this isn't complicated and I just don't understand why you'd be confused....(you, idiot!)"

More often than not, when one is finished questioning an arrogant elitist one takes away the feeling that, "gee, I had no business questioning that superior professional in the first place," and I suspect that's just what the arrogant elitist wants the citizen, whether journalist or not, to believe, that is, if one believes they actually practice it by design (and I'm not so sure they do, it just seems to come naturally to them). At any rate, when they get through with you, hopefully, the superior and mightily, intelligent person won't have to deal with your idiotic, assinine questions in the future and you will have learned your lesson not to show your idiotic face around there again.

There's only one problem with that. Much to the

chagrin - : disquietude or distress of mind caused by humiliation, disappointment, or failure

of some arrogant elitists, us uneducated and easily confused idiots can be very slow learners.


Anonymous said...

When Councilman Deaver complimented Fred Ellison on his input regarding the proposed city budget, I believe he was sincere in his praise. I also believe there was an arrogance or perhaps elitist flavor to his remarks. In addition to the praise, I interpreted Deaver's message to say he was surprised a citizen was capable of understanding the situation and taking the time to consider the consequences of the city's financial status. The ability to comprehend such matters is usually limited to those decision makers on the Council or else City department heads.

Anonymous said...

Most of higher education has to be done simply to be accepted by the elite.

Peter Jennings did rather well without graduating from high school.

Bill Gates once said
no one would ever need
more than megs of RAM,
but he has still done ok for himself and lacks a computer degree.

Anonymous said...

please insert above.....

more than "8 megs" of RAM

opps sorry JH

tom said...

I believe it really irritates the elite when they are confronted by one of the peasants. Fred has a great grasp on this pension issue and has spent many hours on research to make sure the figures that he spits out are quite accurate.
It would bode well for those on council to listen and take some of Fred's recommendations and implement them instead of dismissing it as the ravings of some under educated servant.
Perhaps we need to change how the council room is set up instead of council looking down at the people it should be council looking up to the people. Judges get this aire of authority because of how the seat sits higher then the witness stand, the jury box and the audience area and it is designed this way so everyone will know who is the command figure.
In politics the PEOPLE are supposed to be the command figure not those elected to safeguard the peoples rights.

Anonymous said...

As they were about 100 million short on the pension fund before they thought to mention the problem, the City might as well forget any credibility for the next 20 years.

What else are they not telling us at present?? Will we soon need an airport tax as that project is not meeting expectations??

We need to start selling the endless number of bright ideas that we never got to vote on...

Scott(e) said...

On elitism itself, it of course exists in the same form all the way up the ladder to the very top of government. There are a very small percentage of people who "feel" they control everything in this country. Trouble is, to a large degree, they do...