The Poopybutt Effect

Eric at Classical Values has an extended rant[*1] on the misuse of the term “fascist” which segues, for some reason, into a discussion of bad sneakers.

I had a pretty good education (at least I like to think I had), and in addition to that, I’ve read a lot of books about history, including many about the Third Reich. I’ve studied the origins and rise of both Hitler and Mussolini, and I’ve read about innumerable fascist and quasi-fascist regimes. The usual stuff like Franco in Spain, Salazar in Portugal, Stroessner in Paraguay, Peron in Argentina (although he was a left/right hybrid), along with some convincing analyses that modern China is actually a fascist, not Communist, state.

But it was under “Bush fascism” that I noticed a steady deterioration in my skills. Not only was I not “getting it” (and failing to recognize the fascism before my very eyes), but a lot of people weren’t. I don’t know whether to blame Bush entirely for this, but it was during the Bush regime that the definition of fascism seemed to change dramatically, and become infinitely more complicated.

I used to think I knew what fascism was, but the longer Bush was in office, the more the word seemed to take on new meanings. It was as if the word “fascism” had developed an elasticized penumbra, and acquired octopus-like tentacles which reached out and engulfed things which in the old days had not been considered fascism, but which now were. Fascist hegemony was being achieved not by goose-stepping soldiers, but by definitional expansionism — largely accomplished by computer keyboards.

This put me in mind of the ritual name-calling which passes for political discussion nowadays.  I had a thought for an ongoing feature–I’d go find various inflammatory blog articles and replace the relevant political flame-word (“liberal,” “conservative,” “fascist,” “leftist,” “right-wing,” “reality-based community”) with the term “poopy-butt.”

This would in my opinion raise both the level of political discourse, and provide hours of amusement.  We’ll see how it goes.