From the “People This Lacking in Self-Awareness Really Shouldn’t Be Allowed to Speak in Public Ever Again” Files

The following heart-stoppingly clueless comment, from this CNN article on Barack Obama:

With Clinton’s debt yet to be paid off, some of her supporters are balking at the idea of donating to Obama — especially if he does not choose her to be his running mate.

“I certainly know there are lots of people who are withholding their money,” said Lynn Forester de Rothschild, one of Clinton’s “Hill-raisers” who raised over $100,000 for the former first lady.

“This is a hard decision for me personally because frankly I don’t like him. I feel like he is an elitist.”

Folks, meet Lynn Forester de Rothschild, otherwise known as Lady de Rothschild:

Lady de Rothschild is Founder and Chief Executive of E L Rothschild LLC, a private company, since June 2002. From 1990 to 2002, Lady de Rothschild was President and Chief Executive Officer of FirstMark Holdings, Inc., which owned and managed various telecommunications companies. She was Executive Vice President for Development at Metromedia Telecommunications, Inc. from 1984 to 1989. She began her career in 1980 as an associate at the law firm of Simpson, Thacher and Bartlett LLP, where she practiced corporate law. Lady de Rothschild is a director of The Economist Newspaper Limited (member of the Audit Committee). She is also a member of the U.N. Advisory Committee on Inclusive Financial Services and a trustee of the American Fund for the Tate Gallery, the Outward Bound Trust (UK), and the Alfred Herrhausen Society for International Dialogue (Deutsche Bank). Lady de Rothschild is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Foreign Policy Association, and she served as a member of the National Information Infrastructure Advisory Committee and as the Secretary of Energy Advisory Board under President Clinton.

This article notes that Lady de Rothschild was worth $100 million in 1998… which was before she married Sir Evelyn Rothschild, of the British branch of the Rothschild financial dynasty, which is worth, well, lots.

So, on one hand, I suppose Lady de Rothschild might know what an elitist looks like. On the other hand, her saying she doesn’t like Obama because she thinks he is elitist is so full of rich and creamy clueless irony that I feel like every person in the country who makes less than a quarter million dollars a year ought to drop trou, face away from Lady de Rothschild, and tell her to kiss our base and common puckerguards. Anyone who lives on a 3,200 acre estate that features an entrance hall “notable for its large paintings by Thomas Gainsborough, George Romney, and Joshua Reynolds” loses the ability to criticize anyone else in the entire goddamn universe for being “elitist,” particularly a dude who while growing up got to experience the joys of a food stamp dinner.

Yes, Barack Obama is part of the elite, and may even be an elitist. Fine. But, you know what, there’s “graduate from good schools and work hard in public service” elite, and then there’s “make millions in corporate America and marry into the family that owned the mortgage on Europe” elite. Those are two entirely different sorts of elite. Guess which one doesn’t get to call the other “elitist” like it’s a smear.

80 thoughts on “From the “People This Lacking in Self-Awareness Really Shouldn’t Be Allowed to Speak in Public Ever Again” Files

  1. Good for you. I read those comments as well, and felt much the same way. I am glad to see someone label that hypocritical nonsense as exactly what it is: nonsense.

    (Plus, puckerguard might be my new fave term.)

  2. De Rothschild is being entirely accurate, in a “new money vs. old money” kind of way. An “elitist” is aspirational, while someone “Elite” is already there.

  3. Gerrymander:

    If that’s the case, then she can’t very well slam Obama for being “elitist” and not Hillary Clinton, who with her husband became new money quite recently. Also, given that her money was quite new (before she married into the Rothschild family), it would be even more clueless of her to use it that way.

    That said, I’ve never heard “elitist” defined in such a way as you just have, so I would encourage you to come up with a cite for such a usage.

  4. Yeah, have to agree with John, gerrymander. In what context, where, ever, has “elitist” been used to mean what you assert it does?

  5. While technically ‘elite’ and ‘elitist’ are not synonymous (one could presumably be part of the elite but have populist views or viceversa) I do agree that the insanely wealthy and powerful uber-elite of this country have to stop tossing the the ‘elitist’ word around.

    It’s just code for ‘uppity’ and everyone knows it.

  6. There are times such as these when I’m absolutely convinced that, back in college, I missed taking some super-secret course that taught you how to make absurd statements to the press and not be immediately and permanently dismissed as a person of consequence by the thinking public. Or maybe it was an 8 AM, and I did take it but slept through it.

  7. Espana Sheriff:

    Indeed, the two words mean separate things. That said, I suspect someone who is formally recognized as the “Lady de Rothschild” can be safely categorized in the “elitist” category.

  8. It seems to me that–in the context of political campaigns, at least– “elitist” is a passive-aggressive, backhanded way of saying “educated.” I, for one, don’t particularly see education as a bad thing in someone who’s going to be, you know, running the country. The implied insult to the voting public is also a little cute: “he’s not ignorant and stupid like you, so you shouldn’t vote for him.”

    Personally, I like the idea of a president who’s smarter and better-informed that I am. It’d be a nice change.

  9. I like how people are still hanging this elitist tag on Obama. Apart from, maybe Ralph Nader, what candidate for president can’t be considered an elitist in some way. These are not you regular Joe’s and Jane’s. Or am I missing something?

  10. It seems to me that–in the context of political campaigns, at least– “elitist” is a passive-aggressive, backhanded way of saying “educated.”

    I agree. I think it’s code for “intellectual” and “thinks they’re smarter than us”.

    Because in America, everyone aspires to be rich: getting rich is what the country’s all about. And everyone knows that since there’s no such thing as a class system here, the rich can be Just Like the poor and everyone can get along fine!

    Whereas the educated, well, they all think they’re Better Than Us, and you’d never want to have a beer with them. Education for its own sake is viewed with skepticism, and it’s only valued if it’s useful for making you rich.

  11. Yup, it’s exactly what Annalee says. It’s a bad thing in America to be intelligent, especially in politics. Our country seems dominated by high school level social mores.

    Elitist: to believe that elites are better than everyone else at everything (not just their field) and should therefore control everything.

    Elite: to be the best at something.

    Yes, I just made those definitions up, but I based them on an editorial a few weeks back on the NY Times.

  12. A local NPR call-in show asked people whether they consider themselves middle class. Almost everyone did, including the woman who (along with her husband) made over a quarter million dollars a year. And while that may seem like a lot of money to you or me, to her it was only barely enough to keep up with the college funds, car payments and mortgage.

    Because apparently, you’re not upper class if you manage to spend all the money you make.

    Which isn’t the same thing as de Rothschild’s comment above, but it does highlight something I’ve been seeing a lot of lately–ultra-rich people who think they’d just like regular folks.

    Robert Frank’s book Richistan had a lot of this stuff. “We’re just like everyone else! Make sure you take the pin bones out of Poodle von Barky’s Norwegian salmon before you put it in her bowl!”

    It’s very likely that de Rothschild looks at Obama’s body language and thinks: Look how confident he appears! He thinks he’s better than me… er, I mean, everyone else!”

    Personally, I think it’s pathetic.

  13. @ 12 # Annalee Flower Horne

    You said it. We’ve had many elite(ist) — at least financially — Presidents who’ve gone “folksy” and showed how little they know or value higher education. I’m sure at some point in his college/political career someone mentioned to the current Commander-in-Chief the correct pronounciation of “nuclear.” I’m also sure he calculatedly dismissed it.

  14. I almost started a blog just to mock this very quote for this exact reason, and I hadn’t even done the research on the woman yet. Thank you for saving me the effort on both, and getting it dead right.

    On the issue Lady de Rothschild was raising, I think that the Obama campaign should absolutely go ahead and make sure that all outstanding bills are paid for the Clinton campaign, and that funds that were lent by everyone other than the candidate herself to the campaign are repaid. They’ve got a big enough, and expanding, war chest, and it would reap some goodwill from Democratic donors and vendors, so kicking in that $11 or 12 million would be entirely reasonable. There’s absolutely no reason that personal funds injected into a campaign by a multi-millionaire should be repaid with contributions intended to put Obama into office, however. She made the bad decision to make those investments, most of them after her loss was virtually guaranteed, and she should have to live with it if she can’t raise the funds herself.

  15. Firstly being a member of an elite doesn’t make you an elitist. And the last time I checked it didn’t invalidate your right to hold and express an opinion. Of course the Lady de Rothschild could be incorrect in her assessment of Obama, but I don’t see anything in your diatribe against her that counters that.

    Secondly does the Rev. Jesse Jackson get to call Obama an elitist?

  16. On the issue Lady de Rothschild was raising, I think that the Obama campaign should absolutely go ahead and make sure that all outstanding bills are paid for the Clinton campaign, and that funds that were lent by everyone other than the candidate herself to the campaign are repaid.

    I am not a HRC fan, but I think she’s indicated that she is not seeking repayment of her personal loans.

  17. Andrew B:

    “Firstly being a member of an elite doesn’t make you an elitist. And the last time I checked it didn’t invalidate your right to hold and express an opinion.”

    And it also doesn’t stop you from looking like a bit of an asshole, either, which the Lady does in this case.

    Also, if you actually read the entry more closely than apparently you did, you’ll note that it (and I) understand the distinction between “elite” and “elitist.” Also, again, I’m of the opinion that someone who is formally titled is pretty much, and indeed by almost by definition, a fucking elitist.

  18. Good show outing this info, John.

    A de Rothschild calling anyone other than Her Royal Majesty Queen Elizabeth II (or one of similar stature) an “elitist” is one of the funniest things I’ve heard all year. Complete asshole, indeed

  19. I am normally a curmudgeonly linguistic elitist when it comes to gratuitous neologisms BUT I’ll grant you an exception for the rich and creamy goodness of “puckerguards.”

    Good thing I’m not running for president, eh? (Actually, I kind of was, but technically I don’t qualify yet, still being under the age of 35. There’s always next election cycle.)

  20. I’m of the opinion that someone who is formally titled is pretty much, and indeed by almost by definition, a fucking elitist.

    You know, I don’t really care if she is or she isn’t and elitist. The only reason I find this topic vaguely interesting is that this is the second piece of criticism of Barak Obama on this theme to hit the news in the last couple of days. Both from people who have actually met him and both form people active in the Democratic Party.

  21. Yes, after Karl Rove compared Obama to a smirking country club jerk. Folks in both parties have indulged in the “elitist” meme, and typically people who rather better typify what “elitist” actually means.

  22. I don’t know. I’ve found that money alone does not define the person. Money does not make you elitist. Thinking you are better than other people does.

  23. Jason D:

    I’m waiting for the compelling evidence that a man who dedicated large chunks of his life to community organizing and public service thinks he’s better than other people; likewise evidence that Lady de Rothschild, in her years of corporate governance, has kept her finger on the pulse of hoi polloi.

  24. Dear Lady de Rotschild:

    Keep your stinking chickens.

    Love,

    Obama Supporters Who Wouldn’t Touch Your Special, Elitist Money Even If It Were Taped to Bacon

  25. I’m going to disagree.

    John Scalzi @ 9:
    That said, I suspect someone who is formally recognized as the “Lady de Rothschild” can be safely categorized in the “elitist” category.

    Having a formally recognised title may have a bearing on Lady de Rothschild being “elite”, but her attitude and opinions are what would define her as “elitist”. The quote and resume you provided give no indication of what she thinks, other than her opinion of Senator Obama. If you would care to list actions or statements from her that show her having an elitist attitude, I will reconsider my opinion.

    My current reading of the situation: Lady de Rothschild believes the Senator has an “elitist” attitude, and that this attitude is a quality she doesn’t want in her President. I fail to see the irony or hypocrisy in that.

  26. Phil B.:

    Disagree all you like, but you’re wrong. If someone walks about accepting and recognizing a title of nobility, they are inherently acting in an elitist fashion, inasmuch as nobility is an inherently elitist institution. This is particularly the case if the person is actually a United States citizen, since the US does not recognize such elitist stratification; the idea was so repellent to the founders that they put such prohibition in the US Constitution.

    The Lady de Rothschild is perfectly entitled to say she believes Obama is elitist; however, it’s a fact she is an elitist, so for her to sneer at Obama for being one is a little rich. If she wants to refute the argument, she can begin by resigning her title, which, unless she holds sole or dual British citizenship, she probably ought not have in the first place.

  27. In theory, Lady de Rothschild can hold any opinion she pleases. Practically, once you understand her background, it becomes harder for her to level any charges of elitism. What gives her any standing to do so? She belongs to an elite. De facto, she is elitist.

    As other folks have said, it is hard to put the elitist stamp on Obama, who rejected high-powered law for community organizing.

  28. If you would care to list actions or statements from her that show her having an elitist attitude, I will reconsider my opinion.

    I’m not sure it’s “elitist” to pretend that it’s Scalzi’s job to jump through hoops while you grandly consider whether or not he’s met your stringent criteria for reconsideration, but it’ll do for a polite term.

  29. Beg pardon but I was writing my post @ 32 while Mr. Scalzi’s post @ 31 was being posted. I did not mean to duplicate any aspect of his post. Any worshipful fanboy thoughts I keep strictly to myself.

  30. No worries, Rob. Overlap happens.

    With apologies to Annalee earlier in this conversational thread, it’s pretty clear to me that Lady de Rothschild’s definition of elitist in this case is “someone having the temerity to run against Hillary Clinton to be the Democratic nominee, and beating her.”

  31. Disagree all you like, but you’re wrong. If someone walks about accepting and recognizing a title of nobility, they are inherently acting in an elitist fashion, inasmuch as nobility is an inherently elitist institution.

    Interestingly she apparently doesn’t, at least in This interview where she corrects the interview for using the title Lady De Rothchild.Just saying.

  32. Umm, would like to disagree on the “elitist as code” meme in the thread.
    A. Formal education or the lack thereof does not correlate with intelligence.
    B. Whether intellectual or merely educated, condescending those who disagree with you as stupid or ignorant is not the best use of your facilities.
    C. It is that condescension — the attitude that people must be stupid if they disagree with your viewpoint — that usually causes the adjective of elitist to be thrown around.
    D. And don’t even get me started on innumerate people citing their pet statistics from prepackaged talking points, and then telling me I’m ignorant. (This wasn’t implied in any of the comments, it’s just my pet peeve since we’re on the subject tangentially.)

    So, yeah, I guess ‘elitist’ is code for ‘arrogant jerk’. But I don’t think Sen. Obama is particularly deserving of that label. Certainly not for a Presidential candidate.

  33. John, you edited your comment ;-). By the way from the second page of the article you linked to

    She has provoked whispers in stuffier salons for (shock!) sending invitations minus her title. “Well, I did ask Evelyn to take my name,” she laughs infectiously. “I don’t pooh pooh the title because I’m proud of my husband, but it’s derivative. I don’t need it to be out there to say, ‘This is who I am’.” Just so.

    Yeah, she’s probably more relaxed about the titles usage than you demand that she beare.

  34. I’m waiting for someone to ask Paris Hilton’s opinion. I’m sure it will have the same impact as Lady de Rothschild’s.

    That’s assuming that Paris can spell and define elitist.

    Personally, I get the feeling that the Lady feels that money talks louder than facts do. Hopefully she’s wrong in this case.

    John, nerdgassing and now puckerguard? You may personally end up adding 2 or 3 pages to the Oxford Unabridged in your lifetime at the rate you’re going.

    Well done sir, well done. 8D

  35. Scalzi, in this particular case, I think you’re probably right. Continuing the high school analogy, it’s as if a new kid has transferred in and become wildly popular all on his own without first insinuating himself into the “popular clique.” The members of said clique are now saying “he thinks he’s better than everyone else” when really, they’re just unaccustomed to not being at the top of the pecking order and have decided to start whining about the injustice of it all.*

    I’m not actually even sure that Ms. Rothschild really thinks he is elitist–it’s equally likely that it’s just the word that’s flying around, and she seized on it without actually considering what it meant. The reason that I think it has more to do with education than anything else is that Obama’s command of the English language is one of few areas in which he’s more “elite” than many of the people who call him that. People who go after him on this front don’t mean “it’s bad that he has money,” because a lot of them have money as well. They’re trying to appeal to working-class white voters by saying “listen to his big words–he’s not like you.” Which is, I think, a cute way of calling working-class voters ignorant and uneducated.

    *Yes, I know I totally just re-affirmed Snacky’s Law. I’m ok with that.

  36. Andrew B.:

    “Ahh poo no strike through tag.”

    This is why I provide a “Preview” button, you know.

    Nice she likes to drop the “Lady” in invitations to her social peers. Until she trains the servants to drop the “Lady” business, however, she’s still in my “elitist” column.

  37. This is why I provide a “Preview” button, you know.

    I’m lazy, sorry.


    Nice she likes to drop the “Lady” in invitations to her social peers. Until she trains the servants to drop the “Lady” business, however, she’s still in my “elitist” column.

    Fair enough. I actually think you nailed it on the head when you said that she was just upset with Obama for beating Hillary. I do get the feeling that there was a sense of entitlement there. Maybe that in itself is an example of elitism.

    Personally, I want to know why Jesse Jackson said what he said. That I don’t understand at all.

  38. Yeah, I’m behind on that one, other than I know that saying you want to cut someone’s nuts off is really not a pleasant thing to say in just about any context.

  39. “Oh, I didn’t mean *my* kind of elitist, you know, the ‘corporate lawyer, telecom holding company exec, lure a wealthy European man 23 years my senior away from his wife and children, honeymoon at the White House, become mistress of a 3200 acre estate with valuable art’ elitist…

    I meant *his* kind of elitist. You know, *his* kind.”

    Gaagh. L d R, just endorse McCain and get it over with already…

    – yeff

  40. I’d buy Obama a beer.
    Therefore:not elitist.

    Lady de Rothschild? No Guinness for you.

    3200 acres…you could graze a lot of cattle on that.

  41. A de Rothschild calling anyone other than Her Royal Majesty Queen Elizabeth II (or one of similar stature) an “elitist” is one of the funniest things I’ve heard all year.

    To be honest, I think that the Queen probably has a better case for calling a Rothschild “elitist”. Counting only personal wealth, rather than ex officio possessions like (eg) Buckingham Palace, the Rothschilds are richer than the Windsors. The Windsors are also comparatively nouveau-riche – the Rothschilds were swaying the destinies of nations while the Windsors were still obscure and impoverished princelings in Saxe-Coburg. Plus, the Queen is a state employee, which is a bit infra dig.

  42. Ajay@50

    The Windsors are also comparatively nouveau-riche – the Rothschilds were swaying the destinies of nations while the Windsors were still obscure and impoverished princelings in Saxe-Coburg. Plus, the Queen is a state employee, which is a bit infra dig.

    _______________

    Don’t forget the fact that her majesty lives in public housing; that would be an “infra dig” too (whatever that means).

    Cheers
    Andrew

  43. Re: “Her Royal Majesty Queen Elizabeth II” – it’s actually simply “Her Majesty the Queen.” If it’s not clear to which queen you’re referring, you could say “Her Majesty the Queen, Elizabeth II”. But not “Her Royal Majesty”.

    If you want the extra snarky version, you could always go with “Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and of Her other Realms and Territories Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith.”

  44. I think elitist is the new flip flopper, annother stupid word that has lost all meaning and relavency. Stupid soundbite culture.

  45. “Yeah, I’m behind on that one, other than I know that saying you want to cut someone’s nuts off is really not a pleasant thing to say in just about any context.”

    There must be more to this than the news is reporting. The language seemed way to strong to have been based on jealousy, the generation gap or the other excuses the press is stating.

    John–try to imagine a situation in which you would say that you wanted to cut someone’s nuts off….

  46. I think it should just be mentioned that the relevant clause of the constitution actually says:

    ‘No title of nobility shall be granted by the United States: and no person holding any office of profit or trust under them, shall, without the consent of the Congress, accept of any present, emolument, office, or title, of any kind whatever, from any king, prince, or foreign state.’

    (By the way, the consent of Congress is quite often granted, not for titles of nobility in the strict sense, but for other awards: e.g. Ronald Reagan had an honorary knighthood).

    In any case there is no suggestion that private citizens may not accept foreign awards. (In fact, an amendment to that effect was proposed, and adopted by Congress, but not ratified.)

    I don’t think this bears particularly on the question of Lady de Rothschild’s elitism; it’s just a widespread misconception, so I thought I should point it out.

  47. Speaking of elites, let us not forget that former Senator Phil Gramm (R-TX), one of McCain’s economic advisers, and also a vice-chairman of a bank that is hip-deep in the subprime mortgage mess–Mr. Gramm was registered to lobby on behalf of that bank until just this April–where was I? Ah, yes, Mr. Gramm has declared that the US is in a “mental recession” and that it is “a nation of whiners”.

  48. I think that it is certanly an odd mental defect for someone who is clearly a member of the elite class to use the term elitist with a negative connotation. If I had a couple more zero’s in my net worth (to the left of the decimal place, but to the right of other numbers) I would tend to call my strongest supporters elitists and try to ensure that they achieved as much political power as possible. Since I am a working stiff I don’t give it much politcal weight and pay closer attention to what the actual policies of the candidate are.

  49. 51: good point. There was a terrific sketch on BBC radio a few years ago, the running joke of which was an impassioned Indian immigrant father explained to his British born son how something unlikely was in fact Indian:

    “The whole Royal Family – all Indian. All live together in one house – Indian. All work for the family business – Indian. All arranged marriages – Indian. Must have sons, daughters are no good – Indian. They’re all Indian. Except Prince Charles. He’s African.”
    “What?”
    “Well, if he were Indian he would have smaller ears.”

    infra dig. = infra dignitate; beneath one’s dignity.

  50. John @ 5: If that’s the case, then she can’t very well slam Obama for being “elitist” and not Hillary Clinton, who with her husband became new money quite recently. Also, given that her money was quite new (before she married into the Rothschild family), it would be even more clueless of her to use it that way.

    The error you’re making here is restricting the terms “new money” and “old money” to actual money. The terms delineate status, of which money is a but a component. Hillary Clinton gets a pass because she was married to a president; in the US, there’s no higher status achievable. Likewise, De Rothschild married into a known high-status family; so long as she comports to appropriate family behavior, she’s in the clear.

    Obama is in the club, but just barely. He has neither money nor name, and is still a first-term senator, so he’s subject to being pecked by longer-term members. If he gets into the Oval Office (or failing that, survives a second election), he’ll be in a more secure position.

    That said, I’ve never heard “elitist” defined in such a way as you just have, so I would encourage you to come up with a cite for such a usage.

    Bah. This is anthropology 101. Social labels get applied from the outside and the margins. The cool kids never refer to themselves as “the cool kids” — that nomenclature gets used by the uncool and/or the wannabes. Or to use the example at hand: The guy who thinks people should learn to speak French when he doesn’t is more on the fringe than the woman who summers at a French estate. He has to convince people he’s sincere; she doesn’t need to convince anybody about anything.

    If, however, you insist on a citation, here’s a recent one from the NYT: ““Elite” and “elitist” do not, in a dictionary sense, mean the same thing. An elitist is someone who does believe in government by an elite few — an anti-democratic philosophy that has nothing to do with elite achievement. But the terms have become so conflated that Americans have come to consider both elite and elitist synonyms for snobbish.”

  51. Gerrymander:

    “Bah. This is anthropology 101.”

    Bah, no; it’s linguistics and lexicography, and you’re using a word in a way that I’ve not seen it used before, nor have ever seen suggested to be used in such a fashion. I can say fairly confidently that by education and profession I know my way around the language; I suspect I would have seen such a usage before, particularly since your alleged usage comes from someone older than me and in an inherently linguistically conservative social class (i.e., this ain’t hip new slang from the kids). Moreover, your cite uses a definition that doesn’t actually have anything to do with how you attempted to use the word at the top of the thread.

    Unless you can come up with an actual use of the word with the meaning you mention, I call shenanigans, and I rule unilaterally that you were trying to introduce a new meaning of the word, and have failed miserably.

  52. I am sure there is a joke to be made about Scalzi being elitist concerning the defination of words here. Something like:

    “Look at Scalzi being all elitist, as if education and profession, to say nothing of his undoubtedly immense wealth (such a small refund check!) somehow makes him more qualified to talk about words then us.

    I say we ignore everything he says!”

  53. Well, I’m with Gerry on this one: elitist is an attitude about the elites, typically used by the elites.

    For example, Richard Feynman was not an elitist, but he damn well was elite.

  54. Re: Middle Class and $250K a year

    I don’t think money defines class all that well. Our household income is… er… let’s not go there in detail but I’m of the opinion I’m fairly middle middle class. Minor public school for a couple of years until my father retired then a state school and an Old Polytechnic on a grant for my degree.

    I’m well paid for the work I do. I don’t think that should be a problem, I also work pretty hard as does the missus. I can’t see what other class I could slip into frankly and I think you’ll find a lot of graduates from Gen-X who got into tech or finance in a similar position.

    Likewise in the UK you’ll find people calling themselves Working Class who earn significantly more than that.

    All that said, as a non-USian watching all this from the inside, I’m left wondering what exactly is the problem with being an Elitist? There are lots of people I feel Elite compared to :P

  55. I thought gerrymander was from the start proposing new definitions for the two words and making a funny.

    The crux of the issue is, as John states:
    Lady de Rothschild’s definition of elitist in this case is “someone having the temerity to run against Hillary Clinton to be the Democratic nominee, and beating her.”

  56. Well, I for one think that it was damned charitable of her to deign to discuss the lower orders at all. Pip pip.

  57. Pish, it’s one of those irregular (NAm) English adjectives:

    I am correct,you are arrogant, he/she/they is/is/are elitist.

    *extricates tongue from cheek with crowbar*

  58. Espana Sheriff:
    “It’s just code for ‘uppity’ and everyone knows it.”

    …and ‘code’ really means “I want to call someone a bigot to preempt the discussion, but they didn’t actually say anything bigoted.”

  59. I think you are being too rough on the Rothschilds. They recently sold their Faberge Egg for a mere $18.5M.

    When you’ve got to pawn your bling, you know you’re hurting.

    Also, Sir Evelyn is a college dropout. That’s kinda street.

  60. One of the things going on here is the disconnect between the British and American Class Systems. One might be a fashionable London hostess and use* a title without being elitist, although the burden of proof would be on the person doing so. Using that same title in America would be silly. Without researching it, she might use the title Lady in the UK, and not in the US, but the internet, knowing no borders, will reveal both.

    Harry Connolly @15 A local NPR call-in show asked people whether they consider themselves middle class. Almost everyone did, including the woman who (along with her husband) made over a quarter million dollars a year.

    In theory if you make money, that is, earn it by working, you’re not really upper class in the UK. This has actually never been true and continues to change, but the class divisions are: If you get your hands dirty, you’re working class; if you work in an office you’re middle class; if you call into the office a couple of times a month and spend most of your time pootling around your estate, you’re upper class.

    * Not entirely on topic, a relative of mine was awarded a CBE and had no problem using it to try and (metaphorically) bludgeon her way past overly officious civil servants; similarly in other circumstances she might use her degree from Cambridge to open doors. If you’d ever met her (assuming it wasn’t while she was acting as a magistrate) I doubt you’d have thought she was elitist.

  61. it’s interesting that some commenters here equated rothschild’s “elitist” with “uppity.” i don’t entirely agree, but that’s far more thoughtful than what john had to offer in his post.

    no one has posted any evidence whatsoever that rothschild is racist, but there’s plenty of evidence that she’s a disgruntled clinton supporter who’s still upset that obama won and clinton didn’t … and is therefore expressing herself stupidly.

    it’s interesting because this entire post and thread are essentially about politics, and not about hypocrisy or morality, or any of those hifalutin’ things you all have been claiming. it’s pretty damn clear that rothschild’s comments wouldn’t be objectionable in the least down “whatever” way if she had aimed them elsewhere.

    this is about YOUR candidate being attacked, people, not about whether or not rothschild uses the title “lady” when sending invitations to people in the united states, fer fucks sake.

    she was silly for making such a pointless comment, but she at least has a reason: her candidate lost. YOUR candidate won, so you’re even sillier, and have no excuse.

  62. I always thought that it was “hands dirty” = working class; “work for money” = middle class; “my money makes money” = upper class.

    That means that you can “work” at managing your money to make money, or work as head of your own business (the new family lands) – as long as it’s the right kind of business and has been in the family for 100 years.

    I think you’re also allowed to be upper class if you’re a younger son and work in the Designated Professions – Law, Church, Politics, or Military.

  63. and is therefore expressing herself stupidly

    “bitter about Clinton’s loss” and “completely clueless and borderline racist” are far from mutually exclusive.

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