unionized elves

Jeepster

Senior Member
Dr. Norman Lewis stopped in the doorway of his office and turned around and said, “Oh, don’t worry, sweetheart. It’ll take
them an hour to set up.” He gave Magdalena a smile with a certain cynical twist of the lips. “They’re a bunch of unionized
elves. Whatever they do, it takes them twice as long as plain elves. Fuck them. You’ve got to see Moe the First à la noue!”

Tom Wolfe. Back to Blood

while evertyhing is clear wityh unionized i cannot what sense the speaker likes to stress calling TV techicians ELVES?
Sly? Weak? Ugly? What?
 
  • velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    I'm not sure why exactly he calls them "elves", but the effect is humorous and he seems to be expressing contempt. (Elves are small, not quite human and their job does not require much intelligence. When they are also protected by their union, they are not even very industrious.)
     
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