Elitism Has a Long History in America
Across the Western World we’re seeing the rise of politicians known as populists. These people have managed to tap into a public anger with the status quo.
A few months ago I came across a YouTube channel dedicated to the TV show What’s My Line?
Much of it is a reaction to rule by elites. Every few days I read an academic or news story about how the technocrats, entertainers and career bureaucrats have become separated from the masses.
You know, this is nothing new in America. A few months ago I came across a YouTube channel dedicated to the TV show What’s My Line? It aired in the early days of television and the host and panelists were definitely elitists. Book publishers, newspaper columnists and authors populated the panel.
Many of the mystery guests were stage actors, writers and politicians. The show was aired nationally but the people on camera didn’t seem to be aware of the larger audience. They mocked southern and rural speech. They mocked rock and roll music. When perplexed by a mystery guest, panelists would murmur among themselves. They would ask who was “in town”. Publisher Bennett Cerf celebrated when a working class comedy writer was fired from the panel. The guy had boosted ratings but was despised by colleagues.
The show launched shortly after World War Two, which was an egalitarian experience for all Americans. The show is evidence the united home front ended in 1945.