Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Elitism is the Problem in Art and Business

Elitism is the problem?

Whether it is poetry or business I find that elitism is what stifles us as a society.

The doors to opportunity are blocked by an elite that make sure their power is not challenged. What has happened is that those who have much make sure that they retain what they possess and close out innovation and change.

In poetry this is represented by the Elites in fine universities who dominate the poetic discourse. What has been created is a world where to be a 'poet' means something you have an advanced degree and teach at a university. Yet only the tenure tracked elite really rule this world and most poets and writers who do teach toil as adjuncts with no benefits and the usually "progressive" academics do everything in their power to keep their positions and keep out younger or more innovative voices.

You see this in all areas presses, foundations, and even bookstores. Poetry in general is dominated by elitism while most real expression is marginalized as "Unserious".

In business too this is the case.

As a poet who also is a business person I see it all the time. The young innovator is squashed ignored because their ideas would upset the apple cart. Business leaders like to worship at the altar of "innovation" but actually most senior executives are just scared and wont innovate in today's environment.

The result is that energy and innovation is at best ignored or at worst eliminated. Look at who loses jobs in a company? Look at who gets promoted I assure you that the corporate "player" gets the promotion and the "innovator" gets shown the door.

I have written here about the fall of the Roman Empire and the Fall of the American Empire and I think another parallel is the fact that in the last 100 years of the Roman Empire social classes froze. People were proscribed into jobs because of who their parents were or because they fit into a certain social class. The result was an end of innovation and the end of Art.

How many late Roman poets do we read?

How Many Late Roman Innovations, save Christianity, do we laud?

In the end the problem is elitism and I think that when the history of today is written that will be the thing that people remember and wonder how a society a based on the precept that anyone can rise allowed that to become reality.


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