Before being consumed with all things Matthw Street last week, my senses were pulsating with a brlliantly elucidating article in the New Statesman the previous week by Sholto Byrnes (http://wwwnewstatesman.com/200707260039 ).
We live in an age when advertisers, programme controllers & marketing agencies see the working class as an amorphous sump of chavdom, wedded to reality TV, hostile to reading & chronically addicted to heedless hedonism. Against this depressing backdrop, Byrnes points out that the term elitism has right wing connotations, not least among liberals & socialists.
To which Byrnes responds: "Well, I am an elitist. And so, I suspect, are you. It is elitism that allows us to set yardsticks by which to measure merit, be it in art, music, education or any other field of endeavour. Elitism allows us to proclaim with confidence that Geoffrey Chaucer was a greater writer than Jeffrey Archer, that Shostakovich was a superior musician to Shakira, and that Ronaldo's most pyrotechnial diplays are still of a lower cultural order than any page of any novel by Philip Roth."
Bynes is cogent &, yes, accessible in his case for rehabilitating elitism after its intellectual abduction by the Right. It's a pity, therefore, that last week's New Statesman didn't pick up on the case Byrnes made. Indeed, none of the letters published in its print edition mention it.