Is the Aspen Ideas Festival Really That Insufferable?

June 29, 2011; Source: Salon | It's hard to imagine a gathering of intellectual illuminati like the philosopher kings and queens gathered for the Aspen Ideas Festival.  Salon's Alex Pareene calls the participants "the nation's most insufferable elites."  He's pretty biting in his commentary, worth quoting at some length:

"The Atlantic discovered not long ago that putting on little parties for America's ruling elite – carefully disguised as important intellectual gatherings to ensure the attendance of the most self-important members of the political and media classes – is a much better way to make money than 'producing a magazine full of good journalism.' From that knowledge, the "Aspen Ideas Festival" was born. The festival, happening right now, is like South by Southwest for people who are willing to pay Thomas Friedman money for his thoughts."