Quiz: Are you "Elite" - Macleans.ca

Quiz: Are you “Elite”


I can’t find a link to this quiz that ran in yesterday’s print Washington Post so I will reproduce it here.

The article, by Charles Murray, a scholar at the conservative American Enterprise Institute, is entitled:

“The tea party is right. The ruling class is out of touch.”

David Frum’s takedown is here.

I took the quiz and got a big, round zero. I confess: I can’t tell a soybean field from a mixed martial art. I am “isolated and ignorant.” How about you?

Quiz Questions:

1. Do you know who Jimmi Johnson is? (The really famous one, not the football coach.) Yes/No

2. Can you identify military ranks by uniform insignias? Yes/No

3. Do you known what MMA and UFC stand for? Yes/No

4. Do you know what Branson, Mo. is famous for? Yes/No

5. Have you attended a meeting of a Kiwanis or Rotary club? Yes/No*

6. Do you know who replaced Bob Barker as host of “The Price is Right?” Yes/No

7. Have you ever lived in a town with fewer than 25,000 people? (During college doesn’t count.) Yes/No

8. Can you named the authors of the “Left Behind” series? Yes/No

9. Do you live in an area where most people lack college degrees? (Gentrifying neighborhoods don’t count.) Yes/No

10. Can you identify a field of soybeans? Yes/No



1. NASCAR driver who won the Sprint Cup Series championship four years in a row.

3. MMA = Mixed Martial Arts and UFC = Ultimate Fighting Championship

4. About 7 million tourists travel to Branson, Mo., each year to visit its 50-plus country-music halls.

6. Drew Carey replaced Bob Barker on the “Price is Right.”

8. Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins are the authors of the Left Behind series.


Yes for 0-2 questions — “You’re sealed in the New Elite bubble.”

Yes for 3-7 questions — “You need to get out more.”

Yes for 8-10 — “It does matter if you went to Yale or live in Georgetown. You’re part of the American mainstream.”


*Disclosure: I did take part in Kiwanis and Rotary Club speech and debate contests in Calgary as a kid. I imagine that doesn’t count.


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Quiz: Are you “Elite”

  1. People are deciding the future of their country based on this kind of crap???

    SOMEbody needs to get out more, and it isn't the 'elite'!

    • …says the person who posts here a hundred times a day and is usually the first comment on every new post.

      • I work online….what's your excuse?

        • Is your job to be the first to read all Macleans articles?

          • No, is it your job to attack posters for no reason?

          • Who is attacking you? Do you deny that you are usually among the first couple of posters on almost every new blog post here, or that you make dozens of comments here on a daily basis? If not, then it's not really unreasonable to think that it might be part of the "online work" that you do, is it?

          • You and Albert….it's a cinch neither of you are discussing the topic.

            This is a blog site….open to comments. I make no more comments than others, and indeed don't even read half the items posted here. I have a dozen windows open at the moment, and get here when I get here. Sometimes I'm first, sometimes 21st, sometimes 121st.

            I run a global business involving economics…as I've explained many times. Who on earth would have a job commenting on Macleans articles??

          • Actually I did discuss the topic below.

            I make no more comments than others

            Interesting. Do you avoid opening an IntenseDebate account so that no one can verify this? Because I'd be willing to wager a large sum of money that "Emily" is the most frequent commenter at Macleans.ca by a long shot. I don't see how pointing that out constitutes an attack. Where did I question your right to post here? Jeezus, you're touchy. Someone as old as you claim to be and who runs online global economics empires ought to have a thicker skin.

          • I've been accused of having several accounts on here, even one just to play with the thumbs….the guy even assured me he knew this for a fact….now I apparently have none!

            You guys are purely crazy.

            Don't you have anything better to do with your day than worry about me? LOL

          • Huh? I've never made any such accusation. So now I'm crazy because someone else accused you of having multiple ID accounts?

            See, it's comments like that which make some of us quite worried that perhaps you are taking on too much. I mean, what with running a vast global economics online empire and all the time that must take up, you still manage to find the time to spam the Macleans comment boards dozens of times a day. At your advanced age, which you've hinted at…of course we are concerned. We don't want you to burn out Emily. Because we're just one big happy family here at the Macleans comment boards.

          • Nor did I say it was you……but now we all know you DON'T have anything better to do with your day than be silly and bore people, on here. LOL

          • Emily, if you have an IntenseDebate account, you have forgotten to log in. All the account holders have blue names that you can click on to see their profiles and comments.

          • She is Kim Campbell, sorry Emily I have to give you up ; )

  2. Who knew, I am an Elite, hahaha…

    • Me too! Me too!

      The line for lattes and birkenstocks forms on the left.

      • Hahaha, join the club my friend!

  3. What's funny is that membership in a service club like Kiwanis or Rotary etc. used to be a sign, if not of being a member of the elite, of being part of the local community's "notables."

    It was for the local lawyers, insurance brokerage owners, merchants etc. They were, in a way, their own replacement of an exclusive gentleman's club but the added social benefit of organising things for the community.

    • With a score of 5 apparently I need to get out more.

      • Apparently it's now a bad thing to go up the ladder in the US….an anti-success argument as self-defeating as the Oreo one.

    • I think they are still seen as such but only in smaller communities less likely to generate elites.

  4. I think the Left Behind one needs to be adjusted for those who know it from being discussed in other media which sought to analyze those who follow the series or were otherwise dismissive of its content.

    or for big Kirk Cameron fans.

  5. Oh dear, I knew about Branson. But, it's not my fault since tours for that destination are advertised in our newspaper.

    • I knew that one too, but only thanks to the Simpsons.

      "It's like Las Vegas, if it were run by Ned Flanders"

      • As noted below, for me it was Dennis Miller.

        The old version of Dennis Miller, mind you.

  6. Apparently I oughta be paying a lot more for my basement apartment, elitist that I am.

  7. I got a 3. Maybe its the Amero-centric nature of the quiz, but I call BS. My parents are almost as rur'l unelite as they come, but I doubt they would have scored more than 4. Is your 'average' American really supposed to know the authors of insane books and what soybeans look like?

    • Before globalization, no one in North America knew what a soybean field looked like.

      • Quite untrue — they grow all over the center of the U.S., and have for a long time. I'm sure John D's folks would recognize them. That's maybe the one legitimate question on the quiz. Also — it could be called not only "Are you white?" but also "Are you male?"

  8. If I found out about Branson through watching "The Simpsons", so does that make me elite, mainstream or elite mainstream?

  9. Maybe politics is just an exercise in comparative aesthetics. Question for the next presidential debate: Do you think The Wire was the best TV show of all time? Yes/No.

    • LOL It's also possible that some Americans don't want to move past the 1776 America of farmers and small merchants, and realize that the majority live quite different lives now. World travel, cellphones, top universities, cities….

    • Reminds me of the House of Commons Paige exam that I failed miserably by not knowing essential Canadian facts like who Big Ben was. They tried to revoke my passport when I didn't know what the Brier was either. If not knowing Jimmi Johnson is wrong, I don't want to be right!

      • Paige was a joke. I realized it might not be obvious lol.

  10. So what of the people with education levels of high school diploma or lower who fail this quiz? Revoking of citizenship? A guide to the local recruitment office?

    It's good to question claims made on behalf of the majority/mainstream… so it is good to question everything people claim on behalf of the Tea Party…

  11. Breaking news ! The AEI is not funded by the Tea Party !
    No. But it is funded by the same people who fund the Tea Party !
    Life in Amurka is so good. And simple.

  12. I fail to see how a little pop culture knowledge, living in a small suburb (as opposed to, say, South Central LA), and being capable of recognizing military rank insignia would detract from any one's eliteness. The military question is particularly galling, if the Joint Chiefs of Staff are not included in everyone's definition of America's elite then there is something very wrong in the world. Of course, non-elite, enlisted personnel would answer that question the same way as Generals but that just means the question is pointless.

    Really, I can imagine a significant percentage of America's urban poor only being able to answer yes to question #9 and that is only if they are not original residents of a currently gentrifying neighbourhood. It is a complete joke as far as determining elite status. It seems to really be testing whether or not someone is a white, suburban, evangelical christian. I would imagine that George Bush would have a number of yeses and he ran the the country for eight years.

    • On the whole enlisted men are far less likely to be elite, and the few people who make up the joint cheifs of staff won't skew the results.

      • Being an officer of any rank, even a Lieutenant, should still apply. They are typically well educated and form a professional group whose traditions can be traced back directly to the European aristocracy.

        There would still be more enlisted personnel but the ratio would not be as absurd as only including the Joint Chiefs. I mentioned them only as an extreme example.

        • Even officers tend to be a lot more, shall we say, yokie than the average populace, a few years at a military college notwithstanding.

          • Have we seriously reached a point where the military leadership has somehow been detached from a nation's elite? They command what are still the most powerful institutions in the world. Is this new definition retroactive? If so, who precisely was the European elite for the last few hundred years? Sure some countries had other elites but apparently Prussia was a classless state.

          • Yes. Talented, sophisticated people generally focus their talents elsewhere than the military – simple as that.

          • Absolutely in centuries past the military was an important method of social advancement. The fact that you needed to go so far back shows how much that's changed. The days when a good family down on its heels scrimped together the money for a younger sons kit and begged acquaintances for connections for a good posting are long in the past.

            that's not to say people drawn to a military career are bad people. For the most part they do a difficult demanding job with dedication. but they for the most part won't be considered societies elite.

  13. I'm an elite from Toronto and I don't give a **** about any of this. I'm so sick of hearing how hard politicians are working for families. What about the single and childless?
    Is it a crime to want to be above average? It is a crime to want coffee that's really strong and flavourful and served by above average looking people? Wouldn't people be happier if their kids played violin instead of hockey (no 6AM practices)? Country fairs are depressing. Nickelback sucks (and they know it).

    • LOL elite and proud of it….agreed.

    • i like your thinking

  14. You know, I see a lot of snark here, and a lot of condescension, but I don't see a lot of persuasive argument that a familiarity with the topics of these questions – Nascar, MMA, the military, country music, and agriculture – (a) is relatively common among Americans who live outside of the Northeast, the West Coast, and the big urban areas of the rust belt and midwest and (b) is relatively uncommon among Americans who live in those regions, nor that (c) the folks in those two broadly-defined regions have broadly contrary political views. In other words: 2008 aside, there is a 'red' America and a 'blue' America, which is generally coterminous with the urban/rural divide, and folks in red America are more likely than those in blue America to know about red America's past-times and activities (i.e. Nascar, the military, agriculture). This isn't earth-shattering stuff.

    Now Frum and Savage and the rest of y'all may be right that 'elite' is hardly an appropriate label for the folks in blue America, nor an inappropriate one for the folks in red America. But if that's the case, then isn't this all semantics? Murray's basic point appears to be that the folks in one part of America are fed up with the attitudes (and politics) of the folks in another part of America, and that this fed-uppiness accounts for the apparent success of the Tea Party. We'll find out in a week or so but by most metrics that appears to be true; and whether you call that divide "regular v. elite" or "red v. blue" or "rural v. urban" or "republican v. democrat" seems pretty much entirely beside the point, no?

    • This is one of the few times I agree (partially) with David Frum. Elite has to do with money and power and the access to power that money can buy.

      If you can get people riled up over straw men or the importance of small differences (we wear our pants like this… they wear their pants like that) then you can drive change in the direction you want – which might not be what those people whose energy you have harnessed had in mind.

    • And we don't need none of that big city lawyer talk either…. you…you…elitist!

    • No, it is not beside the point. The word elite actually does mean something. It should not be debased to the point that it simply refers to one's political opponents.

  15. I see no commenter has pointed out the correct spelling of Jimmie Johnson. I can't decide if these means you're all members of the elite who are ignorant of NASCAR, or all members of the hoi polloi, who don't give a $#!+ about spelling.

    (Using "hoi polloi" has probably revealed my status, my familiarity with NASCAR notwithstanding.)

  16. This quiz is mistaking the non-elite for those who live in the southern USA where
    A – Branson, Missouri is located
    B – Nascar is very popular
    C – people grow soybeans

    Not only that, to classify all city-dwellers as the elite is idiotic.

  17. I can think of no better example of out-of-touch leftist elitism,

    than this sad display of chariciturizing, mocking, and generally staring down of the nose at the unwashed non-progessive masses,

    for daring to recognize their very real elitism.

    Carry on.

  18. Remember,

    generalizing, stereotyping, and mocking those from a particular region, is OK if that region is the southern U.S.,

    mocking and making generallizations about all members of a religion, is OK if that religion is Christianity,

    ridiculing and making assumptions about a lack of intelligence based solely on a particular accent, is OK if that accent is a Southern US drawl.

    All examples of acceptable (indeed openly celebrated with the utmost confidence of righteousness) forms of "correct" bigotry.

    Today's progressive left: where the "correct" form of bigotry will get you in the club.

    Now carry on with the condescending tut-tutting going on here, we unwashed masses expect no less.

  19. And in the righthand corner of this page on my computer appears Maclean's front page: Why Are Boys Growing Up To Be Underachieving Men…

  20. As an addendum: I find it amusing that the former coach of the Dallas Cowboys, in a sport that draws roughly 4 – 5 times the viewers of NASCAR, is somehow "less famous" than JJ.

    Especially since he was just on Survivor. Which also draws better ratings than NASCAR.

  21. How ironic that conservatives – some of the richest, cronyistic, and oblivious people alive – actually have the nerve to accuse anyone of elitism. Largest U.S. deficit in history? Two unnecessary and expensive ($2Trillion and counting) wars? Tax cuts to the richest people (Conservatives) in America? Deregulation of Banks and the subsequent Wall Street meltdown? Housing Bubble/Bust & Foreclosure fiasco? Thank Conservatives.

    Elitism is people believing their ideas are always the best while deriding all other ideas as wrong, socialist, or marxist; blatantly trying to reserve wealth, education, and power to a select few and choose who joins that group; and when a group can't persuasively argue for their bankrupt ideology, instead shouting everyone else down so as not to hear their bankrupt ideas refuted, repudiated, debunked, or just plain called out as lies. Sounds like conservatives, the GOP, the Tea Party, and Christian fundamentalists to me.