Saturday, July 14, 2007

The Few, The Proud, The Elite

I needed something to read. As we prepared to board the plane to Orlando, we stepped inside the airport bookstore. I scanned the rows of paperback books for one I might like to read.

Uninterested at this corner, I next turned to the magazines. Certainly I could find one to occupy me for the duration of the flight.

Time... US News... no. Not likely to provide additional information or insight than Newsweek, to which we already subscribe.

Given my recent phase of patronage of ESPN talk radio, Sports Illustrated and The Sporting News were unlikely to go above or beyond what I'd already absorbed in the sporting realm.

I briefly considered, then rejected Reader's Digest and a book of crossword puzzles. Cosmo, Elle, US Weekly, Entertainment also not deemed viable options.

Finally, my attention turned to the rack I normally avoid... the row of magazines reserved for those far more intelligent and important than myself. Heart racing, in a fit of motivation to improve myself, I purposefully grabbed and purchased The New Yorker and Atlantic Monthly.

A bit of background. In my college days, there was one among our group of friends who rose above the lowbrow molecular biology and history textbooks to which the rest of us were accustomed. In addition to his sophisticated literature texts, he read The New Yorker (the first 'r' is silent). The rest of the group (excluding myself) chided him for thinking himself superior to the group. He faced the abuse head on, and I knew why... because he knew it was true... he was in fact superior to this mob, due in no small part, to his faithful reading of the New Yorker. I watched him, coolly composed, and the monkeys dancing around him, and I thought to myself, "I want what he has." But I still wasn't willing to endure his cross or scorn their shame.

Until now. In the relative anonymity of an airport bookstore, I summoned the courage to better myself.

Over the past several days, I have immersed myself in the wonderful elite world of those in the know and with the correct opinions about politics, music, the cinema, culture, and the sciences. As I made my wayward and twisted route from one cover to the other, I felt my sophistication and status rising with each page.

Inspired by my important and well-read college compatriot, The New Yorker was my Mt. Everest. I would scale the intellectual heights so that I could finally intelligibly communicate with him who was chastised by his ignorant counterparts.

Each evening, I have basked in the bubbling hot tub, glass of wine in one hand, intellectual sustenance in the other. I giggled knowingly at the cartoons, those visual puns, dotting the pages. I sighed reflectively as I perused the poetry. And, most importantly, I have absorbed the content, assimilating the opinions of the intelligentsia into my own cerebral framework, making the ideas of the elite my own.

I now know which movies to see and which to avoid. I rejoice giddily over the recent democratic electoral victory. I am aware of a charming fellow who talks to turkeys. I ponder the traditional storytelling methods of the Indian bhopas. I can wax eloquent on the effects of global warming on the planet's oceans. I can now authoritatively (and gleefully) describe the fall of Rumsfeld.

I have finished The New Yorker (and am just now beginning to approach The Atlantic). I feel as though I've acquired a heightened sense of awareness and importance. Yes, I am joining my college friend in the ranks of the elite... and I like it.

Inspirational, elite college compadre, you know who you are. I hope you will accept me into your caste of the knowing. I hope that I have not signed up too late.

Originally Posted: Tuesday, November 28, 2006
(Then) Curent Mood: smug


Anonymous said...

Let me begin by saying that 2 kudos isn't near enough for this entry. And congratulations on choosing the elite path less traveled. No, it's not too late. It's never too late. Maybe soon you'll graduate to The Nation or The New Republic, or if you're feeling truly exceptional, Harper's or the New York Review of Books. The London Review of Books may still be a few years down the road. (BTW, If you find yourself in the hands of the Weekly Standard, you'll know you've taken a wrong turn on the elite highway: aye, the path is narrow, but it is not straight. Taking the liberal out of the elite is like taking the liberal out of media: just aint right.) But be patient, once one has chosen the elite path, he has already arrived. It all began for me when I was around fifteen, when I opted for National Geographic Traveler instead of the old-fashioned NG. Such quasi-populist fare seems laughable now, but it was a start, and I'm glad to see you've jumped a few rungs up the ladder in your climb upward. Perhaps we'll reach the Promised Land of the American Prospect in the not-too-distant future. And what a joy that will be: two completely unflappable, unrelatable, unemployable truly elite specimens.

But if you ask me when your enlistment in the elite came, it was when this blog came into being. He who publishes elite fare cannot help but read it.

Posted by Russ on Wednesday, November 29, 2006 at 9:56 AM

yajeev said...

In fact, since the original writing of this post, I have indeed purchased Harper's (though I haven't started in on it yet).

If being elite is wrong (or left), then I don't want to be right.

Posted by VJ on Wednesday, November 29, 2006 at 10:10 AM

Anonymous said...

The rate of your growth is astounding. This must be a case of punctuated equilibrium.

Posted by Russ on Wednesday, November 29, 2006 at 11:34 AM

Anonymous said...

Following your lead, I aspire to infinte slope.

Posted by VJ on Wednesday, November 29, 2006 at 2:37 PM

Ela said...

Good for people to know.

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