A. O. Scott, film critic of the New York Times, has an intelligent piece on the age-old topic of "cultural elitism." He is responding to an article by Neal Gabler in which it is proposed that until the Internet allowed people to form their own opinions a dark conspiracy of "media executives, academics, elite tastemakers, and of course critics" forced innocent Americans to endure classical-music concerts, conceptual art shows, and other horrors. To be sure, it requires no great effort to knock down Gabler's thesis. What media executives have lately been foisting classical music on the masses? Please tell me — I'd like to send them a fruit basket. (David Sarnoff, pictured above, died in 1971.) Nonetheless, Scott's conclusion is worth quoting: "There is a cultural elite, in America, which tries its utmost to manipulate the habits and tastes of consumers. It consists of the corporations who sell nearly everything with the possible exception of classical music and conceptual arts, and while its methods include some of the publicity-driven hype that finds its way into newspapers, magazines and other traditional media, its main tool is not criticism but marketing." Indeed, Gabler has it completely upside down. No adult in all the land is being forced to go to a classical concert, yet the products of pop culture are imposed on the entire population round the clock. As I said at a Chamber Music America conference a few years ago, classical music is, in a strange way, the new underground.