back to article Chap behind Godwin's law suspends his own rule for Charlottesville fascists: 'By all means, compare them to Nazis'

Mike Godwin, creator of Godwin's law, has rescinded his own rule for those outraged by vile fascists marching the streets of Virginia, USA, at the weekend. In other words, it's OK to call these un-American white supremacists exactly what they are: "By all means, compare these shitheads to Nazis. Again and again. I'm with you …

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Nazi is a slur anyway

From the Oxford English Dictionary :

Etymology: German Nazi (c1920), shortened Nationalsozialist or Nationalsozialistisch (see National Socialist adj. and n.). Compare French Nazi (1930). The spelling with z probably arose by analogy with Sozi (shortened Sozialist socialist n. and adj.).

The term was originally used by opponents of the National Socialist German Workers' Party and may have been influenced by Bavarian Nazi, a familiar form of the proper name Ignatius and used to refer to or characterize an awkward or clumsy person.

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Re: Nazi is a slur anyway

Except they call them selfs neo nazis or just nazi

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Re: Nazi is a slur anyway

So the equivalent of "the new Bennys" ?

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Re: Nazi is a slur anyway

I've said before, a million times.

After WWII, we should have renamed toilets "Nazis" and used the symbol of the swastika as the international symbol to indicate a toilet.

I wonder quite how many people would want to use the name / symbol and carry on idolising it then. I'm guessing quite a few.

Words are powerful. Holding "Nazi" as something special is a really bad idea, whether that's a special positivity or negativity. The same as the reason that some Tourette's sufferers swear - the words have been given special meaning, therefore priority in the brain, therefore more likely to be inappropriate (in the same way, swearing when you hurt yourself lessens the pain felt, whereas "darn" doesn't have the same effect no matter how loud you shout it).

Because of the "Voldemort" effect, we're surrounding by prats idolising the Nazis, their symbols, uniform, and other artifacts. I'm guessing they wouldn't be seen as quite so cool to emulate if 7 billion people took a shit on one every morning.

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Re: Nazi is a slur anyway

"After WWII, we should have renamed toilets "Nazis" and used the symbol of the swastika as the international symbol to indicate a toilet."

swastika: "A primitive symbol or ornament of the form of a cross with equal arms with a limb of the same length projecting at right angles from the end of each arm, all in the same direction and (usually) clockwise; also called gammadion and fylfot.

1882 E. C. Robertson in Proc. Berw. Nat. Club IX. No. 3. 516 In Japan‥the cross-like symbol of the sun, the Swastica, is put on coffins.    1895 Reliquary Oct. 252 The use of the Swastica cross in mediaeval times.    1904 Times 27 Aug. 10/3 [In Tibet] a few white, straitened hovels in tiers.‥ On the door of each is a kicking swastika in white, and over it a rude daub of ball and crescent." [From the OED]

In Sanskrit swastika means "well-being". The symbol has been used by Hindus, Buddhists and Jains for millennia and is widely believed to have originated in India. Early European travellers to Asia such as Marco Polo were inspired by its positive and ancient associations and started using it back home.

There are more cultures on this planet than the one dominated by the USA. Shitting on them would hardly be likely to improve international relations.

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Re: new Bennys

I believe it's equivalent to village idiot.

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Happy

Re: Nazi is a slur anyway

Used by the Vikings too as a good luck charm (ended up in the Finnish Air force because of that, but that was years before it was adopted by the Nazi) and there is one in the floor mosaic in the ruins of a house from the time of the Romans in England. Should we feel happy they did not adopt the circle or say the cross.

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Re: Nazi is a slur anyway

"Should we feel happy they did not adopt the circle or say the cross."
The swastika is a cross/gammadion/fylfot [delete whichever is inapplicable]. As I quoted from the OED earlier: "A primitive symbol or ornament of the form of a cross..."

Medieval swastika at Coventry Cathedral still as I saw it when ~8 or 9 years old.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Nazi is a slur anyway

So kind of like "Go to work on an egg". But instead, "take a shit on a Nazi".

Catchy!

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Re: Nazi is a slur anyway

There's also the insignia of the La Fayette squadron during WW1, sometimes directly used on planes too

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Happy

Re: Nazi is a slur anyway

:%s/khazi/nazi/g

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Anonymous Coward

" ..call a spade a spade..."

I know the racist connotations to this particular phrase are specific to certain dialects of English; many of my American colleagues are shocked to discover what it can mean. However, perhaps not the best choice of term in an article on nazism.

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Re: " ..call a spade a spade..."

"... perhaps not the best choice of term in an article on nazism."

I interpreted the use of that term as intentional. Describing racists with a term that those very racists feel is an insult seems like a particularly surgical weaponization of an benign phrase.

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Re: " ..call a spade a spade..."

Oh dear. That phrase has a racial connotation?

What is it? I've never heard it referenced in that way before.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: " ..call a spade a spade..."

"Spade" as a derogatory racial term probably derives from the expression "Black as the Ace of Spades".

The latter could also be a purely descriptive term in some usages - similar to "white as snow". A villain could be said to have "a heart as black as the Ace of Spades". That playing card is also sometimes taken as the sign of a death foretold.

However - "calling a spade a spade" is not necessarily related to the racial slur. It merely means that you do not use euphemisms when describing something. In other words you do not "beat about the bush" when telling a possibly unpalatable truth.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: " ..call a spade a spade..."

Spade was a pejorative term for a black person in the US from as far back as the 1920s, due to it being "black as the ace of spaces". This crossed over into the much older (at least as old as the greeks in some form) phrase "to call a spade a spade", obviously playing on spade vs shovel. Particularly in the british vernacular this is accepted to be dog whistle for (if you'll forgive the crassness), calling a nigger a nigger, in defiance of perceived political correctness.

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Trollface

Re: " ..call a spade a spade..."

Would you rather I call a spade a shovel?

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Re: " ..call a spade a spade..."

Digging Implement.

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Re: " ..call a spade a spade..."

Accepted by whom?

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Re: " ..call a spade a spade..."

I believe you're over reacting to this. The expression has been around for many decades. Even used as a joke: "Why call a spade a spade when it's a freaking shovel?" <edited for brevity>

Yeah... I'll get downvotes but the original meaning had nothing to do with race. Google it... you'll see what I mean.

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WTF?

Re: " ..call a spade a spade..."

The phrase dates back to a sixteenth century translation of Erasmus' own translation of Plutarch's Apophthegmatum. The latter translation includes the phrase:

"as they whiche had not the witte to calle a spade by any other name then a spade"

Any racist overtones - which I'd never considered before - are a significantly later veneer on the original.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: " ..call a spade a spade..."

"Any racist overtones - which I'd never considered before - are a significantly later veneer on the original."

From the comments it appears as if this may be another case of different usages on opposite sides of the pond.

An English friend worked in Tucson for several years. When a proposed solution to a problem was uncertain in its effect - she would use the English expression of "let's suck it and see". She was taken on one side by a US colleague who explained that this was not an expression that a lady should use in polite company.

As George Bernard Shaw said "England and America are two countries separated by a common language".

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Re: " ..call a spade a spade..."

The thing I never got, is that shovels are more spade shaped than spades.

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Re: " ..call a spade a spade..."

"The thing I never got, is that shovels are more spade shaped than spades."

Depends on the shovel...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: " ..call a spade a spade..."

"The thing I never got, is that shovels are more spade shaped than spades."

I was taught that a spade has a relatively flat sharp blade for maximum force when cutting into earth and turning sods. A shovel has prominent side edges for maximum carrying capacity - and is more suited to lifting looser materials.

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Re: " ..call a spade a spade..."

This is a phrase that has acquire multiple meanings as have "gay", "queer", ...

Alas, our language has become a minefield of worries about stepping in cow pies of unintended slurs.

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Re: Not a fan of white supremacists...

Um when they march with brown shorts and ware swastika what do call them ?

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tfb
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Re: Not a fan of white supremacists...

If you call them what they are -- nazis -- then they won't be able to hide behind some veil of respectability: we know what the nazis did, and it is what they want to do.

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(Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

Re: Not a fan of white supremacists...

"But if you liken them to Nazis instead of defeating their arguments"

THEY ARE WEARING FUCKING NAZI ARMBANDS. No one is likening them to Nazis. THEY ARE FUCKING NEOI-NAZIS. And see the video at the end of the article for defeating their arguments.

C.

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Re: Not a fan of white supremacists...

"Um when they march with brown shorts and ware swastika what do call them ?"

Idiots?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Not a fan of white supremacists...

Perhaps they just think the design is pretty. They might be thoroughly nice boys when they're with their moms.

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Re: Not a fan of white supremacists...

With the whole "Sieg heil" and saluting thing they were doing it's pretty obvious that they are identifying with the original Nazis who invented that stuff in the first place - and as such see the term as quite a respectable one. Not the label to go with in my opinion if the goal is to make them feel bad about what they are doing.

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Re: Not a fan of white supremacists...

"Um when they march with brown shorts and ware swastika what do call them ?"
Idiots?

I call them Nazi cunts.

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Re: Not a fan of white supremacists...

@diodesign, a small number were nazis. Why tar the whole crowd because of a few. It's like calling all social justice protesters communists and marxists because a few in the crowd wave communist flags or SWP signs.

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Re: Not a fan of white supremacists...

defeating their arguments

That's like trying to defeat the arguments of Creationists. Best we can do is continue to expose them and counter their every attempt to use the First Amendment to further their hate.

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Re: Not a fan of white supremacists...

"It's like calling all social justice protesters communists and marxists because a few in the crowd wave communist flags or SWP signs."

Redgum: Raggin'

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Re: Not a fan of white supremacists...

"Um when they march with brown shorts and ware swastika what do call them ?"

Stupid?

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"a small number were nazis"

If you are in a march with, a small number" of people carrying a Nazi flag you either ask them to leave, leave yourself, or accept that you a fucking Nazi.

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Re: "a small number were nazis"

"If you are in a march with, a small number" of people carrying a Nazi flag you either ask them to leave, leave yourself, or accept that you a fucking Nazi."
You might just find that leaving is not an option unless you like having the living crap beaten out of you.

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Re: Not a fan of white supremacists...

@tfb, they consider Nazi a compliment, not an insult. Let's just call them what they ACTUALLY are: "Racist shitbags" or possibly "idiotic dickbags" and keep it at that.

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Re: Not a fan of white supremacists...

Not the label to go with in my opinion if the goal is to make them feel bad about what they are doing.

They're not going to feel bad about what they're doing, whatever you call them. It's about clearly labeling them for what they are, for others to see.

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Re: Not a fan of white supremacists...

"They might be thoroughly nice boys when they're with their moms."

Undoubtedly. That's the scary part. They seem like normal people until they refuse to be served by a black doctor or something.

On a related note, the people at that rally had shirts with embroidered swastikas and had flown from around the country. They're upper-middle class people, relatively normal seeming people, which is why it sucks. I want to be able to avoid Nazis on sight.

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Re: "a small number were nazis"

"If you are in a march with, a small number" of people carrying a Nazi flag you either ask them to leave, leave yourself, or accept that you a fucking Nazi."

So marching with people carrying communist flags makes you fucking commie. Communism and it's bed mates Marxism and Socialism have killed more than the Nazis did.

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Happy

Re: "a small number were nazis"

"Marxism and Socialism have killed more than the Nazis did.".

What ever, until you understand that there is no difference between the far right and the far left. Same goals, same methods, same people.

How would you define North Korea, is it far right or far left. And if you choose one over the other how would you define the difference and the reality of that country. The simple fact is that if you define it as far left it's because it's in the east, while if it was in South America it would probably be defined as far right.

PS. only American are mixed up with social and socialist, if not all, as was proved by the number of votes Sanders got.

It's also fun to remember how Microsoft realized that calling Linux "socialist" would work only in the USA if even there. This is not to claim "name calling" is not ever efficient which the dear President so superbly proved.

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Re: Not a fan of white supremacists...

""Um when they march with brown shorts and ware swastika what do call them ?"

"Idiots?"

No, call them sociopaths, calling them "idiots" denigrates people with limited mental ability.

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Unhappy

Re: "a small number were nazis"

I'm not at all sure why my comment "You might just find that leaving [a march] is not an option unless you like having the living crap beaten out of you." received so many down votes.

Back in the early 1970s I rented rooms in an old hotel for accommodation and workspace for my business on Collins Street in Hobart. One lunchtime I was about to enter the building with some shopping when I was seized by a policeman who frog-marched me two blocks to a student demonstration in Franklin Square. I attempted to remonstrate with the policeman, but was told if I didn't shut up, I'd be arrested. I cannot recall what the demonstration was about, but I do recall that it was of no interest to me whatsoever.

A friend who was arrested at a demo in Melbourne back in those days had the scissors that were used to remove his long hair had been shoved up his arse immediately prior. He didn't receive medical treatment until he was released some days later.

Coercion can and does happen. Just hope to goodness it doesn't happen to you. It's very frightening...

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Re: "a small number were nazis"

What ever, until you understand that there is no difference between the far right and the far left. Same goals, same methods, same people.

I disagree, there's a difference. Segregation and exclusion is part of the far-right political program, not of the far-left one. Far-right makes a distinction between people because of their skin color or their ethnic origin, and condemn individuals for belonging to a group whatever they do. Originally, far-left theories consider all people should be made equal, whatever their origin. It is when these theories were implemented that things got ugly... Making both similar because of the massacres made in the name of Marxism would be like assimilating Christians to Nazis because of Inquisition, Crusades and pogroms.

The far-right is by essence evil, the far-left by implementation.

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Mushroom

Re: Not a fan of white supremacists...

""Um when they march with brown shorts and ware swastika what do call them ?""

How about an air-strike?

Worked in Europe, eventually...

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Re: Not a fan of white supremacists...

If they wear brownshirts, call them Brownshirts (Its the crap they speak that makes them brown)

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