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is elitism justified?

 
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is elitism justified? - 1/8/2012 10:30:34 PM   
giggity

 

Posts: 292
Joined: 4/3/2012
I am currently in the middle of a debate/argument with a film blogger on his site because a while ago he berated the fact people rate films above each other in lists and he thought it was a stupid process and should be abandoned. But today due to the sight and sound list being released, he published an article about it and everything is fine.
My argument was that why is that not okay when someone who writes an internet list and ranks films but S&S did the exact same and it's okay. He said its because they write for sight and sound and their opinion is automatically better. I said I found that hypocritical and elitist. His reply was of course it was elitist and then tweeted and he believes elitism is not a bad thing.

Now, I find this to be a horrible way of thinking. In a subject such as film, which is part of the arts (if this were something academic such as science then the more informed opinion is better) every opinion is valid because how you react to art is because of how it affects you is personal and completely unique to anyone else. To say one opinion is not as good as another is the same mentality an internet fanboy has when they attack someone for not liking a specific film e.g. spiderman, batman etc... and I can't believe someone who runs an internet site which is valued by quite a few people would think like that.

So I ask you, is elitism a good thing or a bad thing
Post #: 1
RE: is elitism justified? - 1/8/2012 10:32:20 PM   
MonsterCat


Posts: 7934
Joined: 24/3/2011
From: St. Albans, Hertfordshire
No, it's never justified.

If you talk down to someone for disliking a film or genre you like, you're basically a cunt.

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Films watched in 2013

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Post #: 2
RE: is elitism justified? - 1/8/2012 10:39:41 PM   
Rgirvan44


Posts: 19049
Joined: 10/3/2006
From: Punishment Park
Not sure I would go that far MC.

Look at sports - we would say those playing in London are the elite
Look at people in the fields of science - they are elite

Same goes for things like film criticism. Some writers have spent decades on their craft, film viewing and building up a knowledge of cinema.

The difference is that you should never consider them to be the know all of film. But I do think it has to be recognised they are at the top of their field. The idea that film criticism can be done by everyone and anyone has its benefits but also its negatives.

On the one hand the internet allows many more voices, on the other, many of those voices will be ill-informed, bland and without a knowledge base from which to write.


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Post #: 3
RE: is elitism justified? - 1/8/2012 10:40:14 PM   
elab49


Posts: 54597
Joined: 1/10/2005
I find his change of heart baffling - the list wasn't from people who write for Sight and Sound it was from hundreds upon hundreds of people all over the world, chosen by Sight and Sound, ranking one film over another - exactly what you say he professed to object to in the first place. Shouldn't he hold fire until he checks who voted before changing his opinion?

What I think is that other opinions might be more informed. I don't mean they know better just that if you've only seen films and think they're the best films ever made that's different to seeing 1000 films and then choosing 10. You've got a better basis of comparison. It still doesn't mean you're 'right' though - I do have issues with this objective score card that's occasionally posited in Reviews.

So a Sight and Sound writer might have a greater depth and range of viewing - doesn't mean you can't still say they like a crap film. I loathe Le Regle Du Jeu - I don't care who voted for it


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Deviation] LIKE AMERICA'S SWEETHEARTS TOO. IT MADE ME LAUGH A LOT AND THOUGHT IT WAS WITTY. ALSO I FEEL SLOWLY DYING INSIDE. I KEEP AGREEING WITH ELAB.


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Post #: 4
RE: is elitism justified? - 1/8/2012 10:45:01 PM   
giggity

 

Posts: 292
Joined: 4/3/2012
would people mind if I posted the link to the article and said argument on here? It might give you a better idea of the conversation and you wouldn't just be getting my side of the story, but the whole thing. It would reveal my real name but I don't mind.

(in reply to elab49)
Post #: 5
RE: is elitism justified? - 1/8/2012 10:51:22 PM   
MonsterCat


Posts: 7934
Joined: 24/3/2011
From: St. Albans, Hertfordshire

quote:

ORIGINAL: Rgirvan44

Not sure I would go that far MC.



Yes, but you're not as bitter and filled with hate as I am.

_____________________________

"I am a writer, a doctor, a nuclear physicist and a theoretical philosopher. But above all, I am a man, a hopelessly inquisitive man, just like you."

Films watched in 2013

(in reply to Rgirvan44)
Post #: 6
RE: is elitism justified? - 1/8/2012 10:51:50 PM   
homersimpson_esq


Posts: 20118
Joined: 30/9/2005
From: Springfield
The idea that everyone is equal is a fallacy in terms of idealism and realism. Everyone is different, everyone has fields of expertise. I'm more likely to listen to an established critic's commentary on a film that I am from a mate who isn't that into films. Both opinions are valid, but one has more knowledge and expertise to back it up.

All opinions are equal, but some are more equal than others.


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Post #: 7
RE: is elitism justified? - 1/8/2012 11:06:02 PM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.
Yeah, but it's still art, an incredibly subjective medium. A film critic will have better tools to explain why they loved a certain film, and they can put it in the context of film history, but they can never be more right about it being a good film than someone else because there is no objective standard.

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Post #: 8
RE: is elitism justified? - 1/8/2012 11:08:41 PM   
Rgirvan44


Posts: 19049
Joined: 10/3/2006
From: Punishment Park

quote:

ORIGINAL: rawlinson

Yeah, but it's still art, an incredibly subjective medium. A film critic will have better tools to explain why they loved a certain film, and they can put it in the context of film history, but they can never be more right about it being a good film than someone else because there is no objective standard.


True but then is elitism just about "good" and "bad"? It is about getting under the skin of a film, exploring the themes and meanings, being able to articulate how it connects in with other works and directors.

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Post #: 9
RE: is elitism justified? - 1/8/2012 11:08:49 PM   
homersimpson_esq


Posts: 20118
Joined: 30/9/2005
From: Springfield
I didn't say that my hypothetical non-film-loving-mate would be less wrong. I just said I'd be less willing to put much stock in it. I'd also be less willing to put any stock in whichever critics it was that voted for The Searchers since quite clearly their opinion is wrong..

These things doing the rounds are quite tiresome, but this one illustrates this subject quite well.




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That deep-browed Homer ruled as his demesne.


Bristol Bad Film Club
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Post #: 10
RE: is elitism justified? - 1/8/2012 11:14:03 PM   
elab49


Posts: 54597
Joined: 1/10/2005
quote:

ORIGINAL: Rgirvan44


quote:

ORIGINAL: rawlinson

Yeah, but it's still art, an incredibly subjective medium. A film critic will have better tools to explain why they loved a certain film, and they can put it in the context of film history, but they can never be more right about it being a good film than someone else because there is no objective standard.


True but then is elitism just about "good" and "bad"? It is about getting under the skin of a film, exploring the themes and meanings, being able to articulate how it connects in with other works and directors.


But didn't the original post imply that ends up with them being 'right'? I think that's something else entirely. They may (and should) be able to interpret, place and write better about a film - but they can't give the objective nod to it being 'best', I don't think.


_____________________________

Lips Together and Blow - blogtasticness and Glasgow Film Festival GFF13!

quote:

ORIGINAL: Deviation] LIKE AMERICA'S SWEETHEARTS TOO. IT MADE ME LAUGH A LOT AND THOUGHT IT WAS WITTY. ALSO I FEEL SLOWLY DYING INSIDE. I KEEP AGREEING WITH ELAB.


Annual Poll 2013 - All Lists Welcome

(in reply to Rgirvan44)
Post #: 11
RE: is elitism justified? - 1/8/2012 11:14:16 PM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.

quote:

ORIGINAL: Rgirvan44


quote:

ORIGINAL: rawlinson

Yeah, but it's still art, an incredibly subjective medium. A film critic will have better tools to explain why they loved a certain film, and they can put it in the context of film history, but they can never be more right about it being a good film than someone else because there is no objective standard.


True but then is elitism just about "good" and "bad"? It is about getting under the skin of a film, exploring the themes and meanings, being able to articulate how it connects in with other works and directors.


I wouldn't class that as elitism though, I'd just put that down as having an informed opinion. Which I think is a very different thing. I actually don't believe that all opinions are equal. I know nothing about cars and my opinion about how which of two cars is superior in a technical sense would mean absolutely nothing, all I can say is which car I like better. So if there's a debate and one person has a clearly informed opinion and the other one doesn't, then I have no problem thinking the other should educate themselves on the topic. But if the debate is about personal preferences and one person is dismissive to the other because they think their opinion deserves more weight, that I think is elitism.

(in reply to Rgirvan44)
Post #: 12
RE: is elitism justified? - 1/8/2012 11:16:32 PM   
boaby

 

Posts: 2808
Joined: 29/12/2006
From: Aberdeenshire
Depends on what basis the elite is established.

Based on merit, talent, etc. then it's fine by me.

Based on snobbery, cliques and other such Bullingdon b.s. then phuck that nonsense.

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Post #: 13
RE: is elitism justified? - 1/8/2012 11:17:53 PM   
homersimpson_esq


Posts: 20118
Joined: 30/9/2005
From: Springfield
quote:

ORIGINAL: rawlinson


quote:

ORIGINAL: Rgirvan44


quote:

ORIGINAL: rawlinson

Yeah, but it's still art, an incredibly subjective medium. A film critic will have better tools to explain why they loved a certain film, and they can put it in the context of film history, but they can never be more right about it being a good film than someone else because there is no objective standard.


True but then is elitism just about "good" and "bad"? It is about getting under the skin of a film, exploring the themes and meanings, being able to articulate how it connects in with other works and directors.


I wouldn't class that as elitism though, I'd just put that down as having an informed opinion. Which I think is a very different thing. I actually don't believe that all opinions are equal. I know nothing about cars and my opinion about how which of two cars is superior in a technical sense would mean absolutely nothing, all I can say is which car I like better. So if there's a debate and one person has a clearly informed opinion and the other one doesn't, then I have no problem thinking the other should educate themselves on the topic. But if the debate is about personal preferences and one person is dismissive to the other because they think their opinion deserves more weight, that I think is elitism.


But which car is superior in a technical sense is objective. It's an absolute. You're not forming an opinion on which you like more, you're saying you couldn't say which is categorically superior. Which is fine. You're perfectly qualified to say which you like better, because that is subjective.


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That deep-browed Homer ruled as his demesne.


Bristol Bad Film Club
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Post #: 14
RE: is elitism justified? - 1/8/2012 11:18:30 PM   
Rgirvan44


Posts: 19049
Joined: 10/3/2006
From: Punishment Park
Where's Drooch.....?

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It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to, than I have ever known.


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Post #: 15
RE: is elitism justified? - 1/8/2012 11:21:18 PM   
elab49


Posts: 54597
Joined: 1/10/2005
I already referenced him. We could all adjourn to the Scream 4 thread - then people will completely agree his view has to be wrong for sanity to prevail. 

_____________________________

Lips Together and Blow - blogtasticness and Glasgow Film Festival GFF13!

quote:

ORIGINAL: Deviation] LIKE AMERICA'S SWEETHEARTS TOO. IT MADE ME LAUGH A LOT AND THOUGHT IT WAS WITTY. ALSO I FEEL SLOWLY DYING INSIDE. I KEEP AGREEING WITH ELAB.


Annual Poll 2013 - All Lists Welcome

(in reply to Rgirvan44)
Post #: 16
RE: is elitism justified? - 1/8/2012 11:22:53 PM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.

quote:

ORIGINAL: homersimpson_esq

quote:

ORIGINAL: rawlinson


quote:

ORIGINAL: Rgirvan44


quote:

ORIGINAL: rawlinson

Yeah, but it's still art, an incredibly subjective medium. A film critic will have better tools to explain why they loved a certain film, and they can put it in the context of film history, but they can never be more right about it being a good film than someone else because there is no objective standard.


True but then is elitism just about "good" and "bad"? It is about getting under the skin of a film, exploring the themes and meanings, being able to articulate how it connects in with other works and directors.


I wouldn't class that as elitism though, I'd just put that down as having an informed opinion. Which I think is a very different thing. I actually don't believe that all opinions are equal. I know nothing about cars and my opinion about how which of two cars is superior in a technical sense would mean absolutely nothing, all I can say is which car I like better. So if there's a debate and one person has a clearly informed opinion and the other one doesn't, then I have no problem thinking the other should educate themselves on the topic. But if the debate is about personal preferences and one person is dismissive to the other because they think their opinion deserves more weight, that I think is elitism.


But which car is superior in a technical sense is objective. It's an absolute. You're not forming an opinion on which you like more, you're saying you couldn't say which is categorically superior. Which is fine. You're perfectly qualified to say which you like better, because that is subjective.




Exactly, that's what I'm saying. But I would have no way of knowing what that absolute is, and if that's what the discussion is about, I should shut the hell up. And the same can spread out to other areas, you can talk about things that are more absolute when it comes to cinema, you can talk about the technological advances of the film, you can talk about the impact that film had, you can put it in the context of the careers of the people who worked on the film. They're all absolutes and a critic should have a more informed opinion than the man on the street. But if the film is good or bad? That can never be anything other than subjective. That's where the line is between informed opinion and elitism for me. And I say this as a complete elitist.

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Post #: 17
RE: is elitism justified? - 1/8/2012 11:23:48 PM   
MonsterCat


Posts: 7934
Joined: 24/3/2011
From: St. Albans, Hertfordshire
"Punishing good film-making"

Without a doubt the fucking craziest accusation I've seen fired at Empire.

_____________________________

"I am a writer, a doctor, a nuclear physicist and a theoretical philosopher. But above all, I am a man, a hopelessly inquisitive man, just like you."

Films watched in 2013

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Post #: 18
RE: is elitism justified? - 1/8/2012 11:25:26 PM   
Hood_Man


Posts: 12183
Joined: 30/9/2005
It's all just emotional responses though surely? If I see two posts one after another, the first being a beautifully written 20 paragraph essay on the flaws and mistakes, and the second being a 4 word "I didn't like it," I don't see a huge difference.

One has worked harder over a long period of time to learn how to articulate themselves better, but IMHO it's the opinion that matters most and they both essentially agree with each other. Perhaps the latter individual just needs a bit of coaxing to get their more detailed thoughts out into the open?

Sometimes it could also just be a case of...

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Post #: 19
RE: is elitism justified? - 1/8/2012 11:28:43 PM   
Rgirvan44


Posts: 19049
Joined: 10/3/2006
From: Punishment Park
I SPENT AGES WRITING THAT BLOODY DARK KNIGHT RISES REVIEW AND YOU WOULD HAVE BEEN HAPPY WITH JUST A "IT WAS OK"??!?!?



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It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to, than I have ever known.


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Post #: 20
RE: is elitism justified? - 1/8/2012 11:29:17 PM   
Rgirvan44


Posts: 19049
Joined: 10/3/2006
From: Punishment Park
Everyone's a critic....




HEY-O!

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Post #: 21
RE: is elitism justified? - 1/8/2012 11:29:27 PM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.
You wrote a Dark Knight Rises review?

(in reply to Rgirvan44)
Post #: 22
RE: is elitism justified? - 1/8/2012 11:30:18 PM   
Rgirvan44


Posts: 19049
Joined: 10/3/2006
From: Punishment Park
I did. It took me a few hours.

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It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to, than I have ever known.


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Post #: 23
RE: is elitism justified? - 1/8/2012 11:31:58 PM   
Deviation


Posts: 27284
Joined: 2/6/2006
From: Enemies of Film HQ
I was writing an analysis on why Prometheus is a much better film than In a Better World, then my laptop crashed and I never bothered again. I was going to be pretty damning to elitists in it.

< Message edited by Deviation -- 1/8/2012 11:32:36 PM >


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Dpp1978
There are certainly times where calling a person a cunt is not only reasonable, it is a gross understatement.

quote:


ORIGINAL: elab49
I really wish I could go down to see Privates

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Post #: 24
RE: is elitism justified? - 1/8/2012 11:32:25 PM   
elab49


Posts: 54597
Joined: 1/10/2005
As opposed to the Prometheus one. Which is currently being measured in time units based on Homer's management of SF lists. 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Deviation] LIKE AMERICA'S SWEETHEARTS TOO. IT MADE ME LAUGH A LOT AND THOUGHT IT WAS WITTY. ALSO I FEEL SLOWLY DYING INSIDE. I KEEP AGREEING WITH ELAB.


Annual Poll 2013 - All Lists Welcome

(in reply to Rgirvan44)
Post #: 25
RE: is elitism justified? - 1/8/2012 11:32:35 PM   
Rgirvan44


Posts: 19049
Joined: 10/3/2006
From: Punishment Park
Still writing my Prometheus one....

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It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to, than I have ever known.


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Post #: 26
RE: is elitism justified? - 1/8/2012 11:33:17 PM   
Rgirvan44


Posts: 19049
Joined: 10/3/2006
From: Punishment Park
That was well timed it must be said!

_____________________________

It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to, than I have ever known.


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Post #: 27
RE: is elitism justified? - 1/8/2012 11:38:27 PM   
Hood_Man


Posts: 12183
Joined: 30/9/2005
I think measuring how long this Prometheus review is taking in time would be doing it a disservice.

Instead I shall hold up this pebble, and measure how much of it is left after the elements have eroded it.

(in reply to Rgirvan44)
Post #: 28
RE: is elitism justified? - 1/8/2012 11:40:05 PM   
Rgirvan44


Posts: 19049
Joined: 10/3/2006
From: Punishment Park
Look - sometimes it is better to put these things out there when the hype has died and we can all have a pause for relfection.

_____________________________

It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to, than I have ever known.


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Post #: 29
RE: is elitism justified? - 1/8/2012 11:44:56 PM   
Hood_Man


Posts: 12183
Joined: 30/9/2005
And I thought your Dark Knight Rises review was very nice Girv

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Post #: 30
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