Friday, February 20, 2009

Don't be such a Nazi

A story in the local newspaper yesterday highlighted an amusing trend. In a rural town nearby, there is a senior center, and they are having a hard time getting along. The newly elected president of the center has been told that she needs to follow its by-laws, and her response is that she can lead however she sees fit and that her critics are acting like the "Gestapo".

Now, why would one old person out in the country call another old person out in the country a member of the Nazi secret police? I don't know, but I routinely hear Nazi references for unwanted behavior.

Here's my question. Why Nazis? Why discriminate against other evil regimes and groups?

Next time somebody crosses me, I'm going to accuse them of being a member of the People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs (NKVD). Or maybe I'll pop a SAVAK or a Gang of Four.

Heck, why stop there. The next time I'm in a meeting with a procedural disagreement, maybe I'll label my opponent as the "Great Satan" or "Evil Incarnate."


Jay Livingston said...

Why Nazis? You know the answer. They (and the Gestapo) are so much better known than any of these other groups, except perhaps, unexpectedly, the Spanish Inquisition. But while we're on the topic, I did just recently read in some blog (of course I have no idea which one) someone complaining about the use of Nazi in these situations (terms like "soup Nazi," "grammar Nazi," etc.). The argument was that it minimizes the Holocaust. The writer seemed to think that this was a fairly recent trend. I guess they'd never seen Hogan's Heroes.

Brad Wright said...

Yes, but it seems so unfair to leave out other terror-groups.

I thought of making the same point about minimization, but it seems kind of obvious, plus I'm not entirely sure it's true. The word "Nazi" is taking on multiple meanings.

Knumb said...

Good points, Jay, and you know why the Spanish Inquisition is not referenced, even though well known....

(nobody expects one)

Anonymous said...

Nazi is a term I often see used when someone is trying to impose restrictions on others with no apparent justification. They want to control you just because they can and not because there is any reason making it necessary. This is opposite of the American ethic of freedom where government or any other authority figure is expected to justify why it needs to tell us what to do.