Mike Cougill has initiated another interesting conversation via his blog, this time responding to the allegation that he is elitist. He also points to the Model Railroad Hobbyist thread on the topic of elitism, which I started reading when it was a young thread, but lost interest a few days ago even before there were a hundred replies.
That word, “elitist” has always bothered me. What’s the problem? Why is it a smear? So, I did what my mother always said you should do, and finally looked it up. This, from dictionary.com:
1. (of a person or class of persons) considered superior by others or by themselves, as in intellect, talent, power, wealth, or position in society.
2. catering to or associated with an elitist class, its ideologies, or its institutions.
(the noun definitions are more or less someone that has those qualities).
I still don’t see the problem. If someone brands you an elitist then it could mean they consider you superior, in which case you should thank them. On the other hand, they may be saying that you cater to the needs of an elite class of model railroaders.
What’s the problem with that? Elite model railroaders need a publication that speaks to them as much as beginners do. Indeed, the hobby as a whole benefits from elite publications such as Model Railway Journal. For the elite, they serve as a forum for the exchange of ideas, allowing one giant to stand on the shoulders of others. For the rest of us, they serve to inspire and show us what can be done.
Elitist? Bring it on!