26 August 2009

On the use of the word "Nazi"

For me, it began with Seinfeld and the Soup Nazi.

While I found the character hilarious, I never understood why the word "Nazi" was being used to describe the soup guy's psychotic behavior. Soon, however, it seemed that Nazi became an acceptable adjective to describe a range of ailments, and since the Seinfeld days I've heard or read the term Shoe Nazi, Food Nazi, Club Nazi, and the ubiquitous: "God, you're such a fucking Nazi," which when translated means, you have a different opinion.

Moreover, the term has been dusted off and used in a non-humorous (?) context to describe the President of the United States. And while that may be hilarious in what it reveals about the complete batshittiness of what's left of the Republican Party, it's still a disturbing misappropriation of a word whose referent should remain clear and undiluted.

Perhaps I'm sensitive because I live in Germany, but each time I hear or read the word Nazi to describe someone who doesn't have anything to do with real Nazis, I get a bit stabby.

To be clear, here are some Nazis:

Humiliation of an elderly Jew in Poland
(Courtesy of www.isurvived.org)

And here is some more of the shit they did:

I fail to see the humor here and so I'm calling bullshit on the use of that term in a humorous context. In fact, I'm calling bullshit on its use in a non-humorous context as well if it doesn't have anything to do with the fucking Fascists for whom the term was coined.

1 comment:

  1. There are no words to explain the fascists Nazi's and the horrendous crimes they committed. Looking and remembering what happened in this period of human evolution leaves you speechless it takes your breath and turns you stomach. Silence is the only thing that helps understand and sort it out in your mind. Never underestimate the ability of humans to be mean in the name of profit power and greed.

    It is sad that we have learned so little as to compare this tragedy to anything in today's modern world.
    It is ironic the fools who use the word so lightly would be the same people who would join and precipitate in this same tragedy all over again.

    Let us all be vigilant in calling out anyone who uses this behavior.
    Let us never underestimate the ability of humans to be cruel.
    Let us remember Patriotism is just a few letters from Nationalism.
    Let us understand religious persecution in the name of God is the most evil of lame excuses for the action of his followers.

    Many changes and differing versions of this but as a supporter of the Nazi regime who realised to late what was really happening says so much.

    First they came for the communists, and I did not speak out--
    because I was not a communist;
    Then they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out--
    because I was not a socialist;
    Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out--
    because I was not a trade unionist;
    Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out--
    because I was not a Jew;
    Then they came for me--
    and there was no one left to speak out for me.