The New Elite

I think Charles Murray’s latest Washington Post op-ed decrying the rise of a new elite is one of those classic instances of “provocative” journalism that manages to meld the banal and the false in a superficially appealing way.

For example, what is one to make of this?

Talk to [the New Elite] about sports, and you may get an animated discussion of yoga, pilates, skiing or mountain biking, but they are unlikely to know who Jimmie Johnson is (the really famous Jimmie Johnson, not the former Dallas Cowboys coach), and the acronym MMA means nothing to them.

Of course this paragraph doesn’t make sense to publish unless you assume that a large proportion of Washington Post readers know that “MMA” stands for “mixed martial arts.” And the non-NASCAR Jimmie Johnson isn’t just some former coach, he’s familiar to 100 percent of NFL fans thanks to his ubiquity on Fox’s Sunday broadcasts. And pro football is hardly a pursuit of the narrow eliteā€”it’s the most popular sport in America and one of the relatively few endeavors that, in this era of media fragmentation, united people (or men at a minimum) across race and class lines.

For the record, a map of pilates instructors in Branson, Missouri.