What do You Say we Put an Expiration Date on the Old Hitler Card?

About three weeks ago, Jon Stewart did a bit on how everyone brings up the Hitler/Nazi comparison during political discussions about the war and our current political state. After showing clip after clip of people on both sides dealing the Hitler Card, Jon Stewart looked directly into the camera and asked everyone to stop.

Not only does it belittle the argument and you lose instantly, but it belittles Hitler, too. Just stop.

Toby and I laughed. A lot.

Since then, I’ve become quite sensitive to all the Hitler references. People on the left use it when referring to the conservative, right-wing religious fanatics. People on the right are using it to descibe the “hubris” of Demorcrats. Michael Moore fans have used it to describe Bush. And people who hate Michael Moore and his fans use it to describe Michael Moore and his fans.

THE STRATEGIC ARGUER (or SA):

I’d like to discuss the three times I can think of that the Hitler Card is pulled. I see it happen during discussions online and off line when people are standing at the entrance of a place called “Facts” and they can’t get in (SA1). Another time I have seen this card be used is when someone becomes flustered and/or frustrated after being thrown too many facts. It’s sort of like the juggling act of debate, include the clown but remove the colorful pins (SA2). Lastly, it could be that the said arguer never really had a firm grasp on any facts in the first place but had a firm grasp on the way they “feel” about something and right as he or she realizes they are knee deep in “I don’t know what the fuck” they go AHA!! and pull out the Hitler Card (SA3).

THE SENSITIVE SCRAPPER (or SS):

Sometimes people pull out the Hitler Card when they want to get personal or feel that the discussion has become personal. I have seen people pull out the Hitler Card when they feel that someone else has removed a self-proclaimed right from them (SS1). It also seems that people bring out Hitler when someone – anyone – wants to socialize anything at all (SS2). And lastly, the card is pulled out to describe one who they might consider racist (SS3).

Years ago, I had the fortunate experience of witnessing the impeachment attempt on Clinton. We walked among the picketers and their forest of signs created to let everyone know what side they’re on because there are no colors for representation. There are no logos one can wear to say “This is silly, I don’t agree.” So we head to the nearest five-and-dime and purchase a big white poster board and a ruler and we write something on it.

I CAN USE A SHARPIE!

During the impeachment, was saw a lot of people disagree with what someone else wrote on their sign, and sometimes they would say something to them. For example, we witnessed one confrontation between two people outside the Capitol.

You’re a fucking nazi!

I had no idea who was the Nazi by just looking at them. There was no visible “flare”. So I checked the cue cards for clues. The guy who used the term “Nazi” had a sign that read:

THIS IS A WASTE OF OUR TAX DOLLARS!!!

Pro-Clinton.

ORAL SEX IS A SIN!

Anti-Clinton.

Republican man who hates Clinton = Nazi. Democrat who used Hitler Card = (SS1)

It happens all the time. You’re a Nazi. He’s like Hitler. And the best part is the Hitler Card can be used by either side during any argument. Nothing is too small. Nothing is too big. The other night, Toby Joe and I watched the latest episode of Queer as Folk on Show Time. It was an episode where the gents and the ladies are fighting against Proposition 14, which is meant to stop gay couples from marrying and/or having any same sex marriage rights. In the midst of all of this, Michael, is trying to calm down the Lesbian gal (I can’t remember her name) he’s telling her that she’s overreacting that it’s not that bad. Finally, she says, “This is like Nazi Germany. Next thing you know we’ll end up in concentration camps.” On Queer as Folk? Come on, now. (She used the card fighting as an SA1.)

For the record, when fighting as an SA, I am usually a SA 1. Which pretty much means that should you disagree with me at any point during this post and call me out on it, I will become flustered and most likely call you a Nazi. Similarly, while fighting as an SS, I am usually an SS1 because, for me, everything is personal which means I am the world’s worst arguer. There have been times during my arguing tenure where I become an SS2 but only if said socialization has to do with organized religion and why I should believe.

Clearly, this post has eaten itself.

27 Comments

  1. This is something that has bothered me for a long long time. But then the average american 20-something seems to think that Hoover was president during the civil war which spawned D-Day…. (As seen on the beauty and the geek)… so I guess invoking Hitler for every little thing you don’t like is a relatively small slip-up. However, it is still excusable. I do not think gay people are treated fairly in this country and the US has a long way to go… but it is NOT Nazi germany for god’s sake. Did she forget about the concentration camps?

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  2. I find your views on this subject positively Stalin-esque.

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  3. I have finally graduated.

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  4. Years ago George Orwell wrote a wonderful little essay titled “Politics and the English Language.” It’s a wonderful piece and I taught it often to my students. In it he argues that because political speech is so frequently unoriginal (in order to meet the expectations of an audience), it follows that political THOUGHT is equally stalled. The use of Hitler/Nazi imagery and similes in political discourse simply means that the speaker is incapable of articulating an original and insightful critique of his/her opponent and must resort to ad hominem attacks. This lack of insight betrays, further, their lack of insight into their own political position: they just know how they “feel.” Stewart’s plea (which I also caught) is similar to the dressing down that he gave Carlson and whasthisname on Crossfire last year.

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  5. See, now your point of view doesn’t fall in with the SS troops or the SA troops. Individualist!
    I will need to find this essay.

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  6. I actually got into a nasty argument with a guy about this about a year ago on someone’s blog. He threw out the Hitler/Nazi bit and I hit the wall. I couldn’t fathom using such crass and disrespectful manipulation to try to get your point across.

    Thanks for this post. There is suffering everywhere, and it needs to stop. It doens’t do much good to use inflamatory arguments- or to disrespect those who have suffered and died.

    P.S. Yeah, Stewart put it to Carlson- but now ol’ Tucker has his own show. Attention is attention. Let’s ignore him instead.

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  7. How can one ignore an asshole in a bow-tie? I have a cat named Tucker and while he doesn’t wear a bow-tie, he’s damn near impossible to ignore.

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  8. i hear the nazi card drop more often than not..once it does, feel it’s fair game to completely annoy the user until they think i’m the biggest conservative rightwing religious freak! yes, i know it counterproductive, but ya gotta find fun in it somehow i guess!

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  9. You know what? I think I might design an actual card today.

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  10. Our cat’s full name is Tucker Carlson’s Bowtie

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  11. Whoa. I just reread my comment and I sounded all snotty and fancy-pants-esque. I think the Nazi thing just gets my goat, so to speak. Sorry for the little tyraid there.

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  12. Amanda, I didn’t get that all. You’re A-OK my lady.

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  13. I think I’m gonna start a new Holocaust. I think I can get away with it. People are so desensitized to the Hitler label, folks won’t notice even if I’m called Adolf on the cover of every paper in the country.

    I just need to set up the criteria for my cleansing…

    You all better be on your best behavior, lest you make the list!

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  14. i really feel bad for people like david karesch(sp?) who just didn’t have the charisma that adolf had…….it truly is a wonderful world where a guy like adolf can be a failed painter and then go on to lead the third reich almost to world domination. i sometimes wonder how genetically pure we would be if we let him and his other eugenic believers take over the world, we’d probably eat a lot more coleslaw unt weinerschnitzle unt wie vould haff zer krazier achzentzen unt shpelling…………i digress…..count me in tobyjoe, find an angle and i’m with ya…….since the painter’s been done, i’d say lets start a ‘boy band’ that will infiltrate the masses in time, take over the world

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  15. The problem, dear Greg, is that we have to FAIL at our initial endeavor, and face it: you and I in a boy band would not only succeed but dominate far too easily and usurp our overall goal.

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  16. i see your point……..fame makes people loose sight of their ‘self’ and ultimatly their goals of world dominance in our case.

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  17. Might I suggest world dominance on track bikes?

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  18. Pugs will become the new German Shepherd.
    Leg warmers the new armband.
    (I might be coming close to crossing a line.)

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  19. I’ve got a neo-nazi (NN) uncle (how’s that for a statement). It should be needless to say this, but he and I DO NOT get along – we had it out a couple years ago when I was dating someone who just so happened to be half italian and half korean (a wonderful combo, by the way = gorgeous)… for years, although I had been told he’s a NN by other family members, I hadn’t yet witnessed any of his ideologies – upon college graduation thoguh, he began to gradually reveal himself. Make a REALLY long, excruciating story short, at one point he tried to tell me the Hollocaust never happened. And it was then, at that very moment I knew – he is sooo fu*ked up! and I thought, “oh, no point in talking to you anymore – you’re a total loon.” Completely dismissed him.

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  20. those who deny the holocaust’s existence are the true socialists. like your neo-nazi uncle, he’s just trying to give socializm another chance under constant bombardment of how socialism is bad ………. for good reason, USSR 62million killed/ Mao in people’s rep china 32 million killed/ and poor little hitler only murdered 21 million, so he must be okay. as a socialist would see, their only way to promote their belief structure is to deny these murders ever happened therefore allowing socialism to rise again against capitalism..hey , but that’s just me………pretty weird if you ask me

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  21. Hey Greg, confusing Socialism with National-Socialism as used by the Nazi (Nazi = short for National) Germans as well as equalling Communism to Socialism is a dangerous mistake. Socialism can in fact go hand in hand with kapitalism and is in my humble opinon the only road to a better world. The Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, Danmark, Sweden are all Socialist-Kapitalist countries that have a free market economy as well as a good social safety net. I guess “caring kapitalism” could be a good term for it.

    I apologize if I totally misunderstood your point.

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  22. I try to avoid ism’s in genral. Unless I have a lot of salve on hand.

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  23. someone came up with the term “mihowism” for sentences/phrases that don’t make sense but were said anyway. That same someone even built an online robot who randomly spit out mihowism poetry. This is what happens when you talk too much online.
    I am an ism. I only now just realized. Someone disassemble me.

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  24. Well, ok then. There are two ism’s I like, Mihowism and Lesbianism. That is not a pick up line.

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  25. *raises glass to lesbianism.

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  26. organism is bad orgasm is good right?

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