Is Elitism re-entering our hobby?
I’m not against formal events in philately, nor am I against those who have the means for high-end collecting and exhibiting. However, as a young collector, when I first encountered organized aspects of the hobby (my first national stamp show as a teenager), I was somewhat appalled. I found the hobby I loved to be one filled at that level with pompous, rich old white guys who liked to dress up and dismiss “lessers” (women, young collectors and those without major bucks to spend) as tolerable, but inferior collectors. While these folks were at least friendly to me, there was a definite sense of condescension and cultural divide in our encounters. I noted this had not changed much as I began my professional life in the hobby and becoming much more deeply involved with organizations. As a result, I’ve spent most of my life trying to deformalize and equalize the hobby to make it accessible to all. As an editor, I do not allow formal titles in bylines (such as Dr., Ph.D, Ed.M or whatever), unless there is some philatelic relevance (we're all collectors). I also have made it a point to never dress more formally for a philatelic occasion than a respectful suit and tie and I try very hard to NEVER let anyone feel as though their interests or collecting level is any less important than that of the highest-level collectors or exhibitors (it is, after all, their passion). In recent years I’ve noticed a certain exclusivity beginning to creep back into the hobby; one that relies on the financial support of all the “lessers” (through membership dues, donations and such), but with the old sense of entitlement and elitism (even if non-intentional). I think this is hurting our hobby’s efforts at outreach. What do you think?