2 Oct 2007
Trivializing the Holocaust
The term “Nazi,” as a result of constant misuse, is starting to lose its meaning. It’s drifting semantically towards “something I consider oppressive and disagreeable.” See Glenn Greenwald’s post from yesterday and Dave Neiwert’s post from today on this topic.
Greenwald points out that it used to be considered a pretty bad thing to throw around loaded terms like “Nazi” and “holocaust,” because of the obvious danger of trivialization that abuse of such terms will eventually lead to: If anyone I don’t approve of is a “Nazi,” then the word “Nazi” has lost its meaning.
These days, “Nazi” has become trivialized to the point that even Oprah has been called a “Nazi” because Barack Obama is the only presidential candidate she’s invited to her talk show (see Dave Neiwert’s post for more). Calling Oprah a “Nazi” has got to be the ne plus ultra of Nazi trivialization.
Every time we abuse the word “Nazi,” readers, we’re trivializing the Holocaust and disrespecting its victims. Everyone should try to keep that in mind.
Remember Orwell’s warning: “[Our language] becomes ugly and inaccurate because our thoughts are foolish, but the slovenliness of our language makes it easier for us to have foolish thoughts.“