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I guess this all started with Seinfeld's Soup Nazi. I'm not sure what kind of point he was trying to make. Maybe he thinks that because he is a jew he is allowed such luxury. Maybe he was trying to make a social comment, but I doubt it.

Whether because of Seinfeld or not, people started using the 'nazi' in all sorts of expressions, like code nazi and grammar nazi.

The word 'nazi' is a very powerful word to many people. I am one of them. It does not mean 'a bad and controlling person'. It means a person who was part of the Nazi regime, which was responsible for the extermination of millions of people, among them 6,000,000 Jews, and also Communists, Czechs, Greeks, Gypsies, homosexuals, Jehovah's Witnesses, mentally and physically handicapped, Poles, Russians... The list goes on, and you can read more about it here if you so wish, although I personally would look on the web for more detailed information.

In any case, I do not take lightly the use of the word 'nazi' in association with music (in music nazi), porn (in porn nazi), and other such nodes, including Everything 2's very own: node nazi. (7/10/2003 - node nazi has been removed).

If you are out to piss people off, fine, use the word 'nazi'. But there are easier ways to piss people off: 'Kike' will work, along with 'boy' and 'faggot'. But I am assuming that the people who use the word 'nazi' in their nodes are not being malicious; they are just trying to be funny. But they don't realise that to many people this cannot be funny because it brings up extermely unpleasant connotations.

And the worst thing is that the people who use it think that the title is amusing because of the word 'nazi' in it. Well, to me and millions like me, it isn't.

Please take that into consideration.

Actually, the extended use of the word Nazi began far earlier than the Seinfeld sitcom. It has slowly crept into the English lexicon much the same way 1984 has for dystopia AND/OR intrusive government or McCarthyism has for unfair investigatory methods AND/OR political witch hunting. The term Nazi is used for any group or person who espouses an ideology so absolutely that they try to force everyone else to it, becoming in essence, ultra-dictorial.

This is really above and beyond the specific historical definition of Nazi; it just draws on the resonance, and in a negative way. Hence, I think the popular usage of Nazi should be quite attractive to someone like Footprints.

Not to go off on a rant here, but there is one other point I'd like to make:
Above, Footprints said that Seinfeld had the luxery of using Nazi because he was Jewish.

I can't disagree more.

Why? Because that type of rationale is sooooo akin to a group of non-black people using the word nigger, and considering it a non-racist remark because they were courteous (no ebony-skinned people were around). It isn't non-racist, it's the self-consciousness that you're a dirtbag, and attempting to mask the fact.

This goes both ways however, which is the Seinfeld example. If it's racist for others to use nigger why isn't it for ebony skinned people?

To paraphrase (from memory) Maya Angelou from a conference at NYU:
"Black people use the word nigger to describe each other. Why? What's the difference between them and others...other than the word nigger?"

Yes, I realize this is a reach from the Seinfeld comment, but it is the same reasoning at heart.

And that's my 2 cents.

Nazi is an emotionally loaded word, because of the fact that there are people alive today who were directly affected by the Nazi regime. I can't fault people for being sensitive to it, and I'll do my best not to use it lightly around people who find it offensive.

That said, I don't think it's fundamentally wrong to use the word "nazi" the way it's commonly used today, simply because we're not talking about the Nazi party of Germany. The day Seinfeld aired the first episode featuring the soup nazi, a new definition was attached to the word nazi, one that had nothing to do with Hitler and his followers (though it's related in meaning, and the basis of the new definition).

A fantastic parallel is the word crusade. Its original definition is "holy war," specifically the holy wars over the middle east during the middle ages. However, people also use "crusade" to mean a campaign for a cause; this definition is found in the dictionary in addition to the traditional definition. Though I'm not an etymologist, I'd be willing to bet that this definition came about by widespread use of "crusade," to mean "campaign for a cause," exactly the way people are now starting to use "nazi" to mean "someone who is obsessive about somthing."

A few more examples of words with tragic meanings that are used by convention in lighter ways

I'm sure there are many more examples.

The word Nazi hits a specific, uncomfortable, personal note with me. More than uncomfortable, the offhand usage of the word repulses me. Like those of most Germans, my grandparents helped in the German war effort during World War II. Growing up in the United States with this background has been hard.

Because my American education has repeatedly showed the evil of Nazism to me (and I could not agree more), I have had an inner struggle to reconcile my dear grandparents with the Nazi regime. In Germany even, where I have gone to school for intermittent years, I remember talking about the horrors of Nazism with my fourth grade religion class. We discussed how we all had relatives who had been involved with the Nazis and what kind of an impact that had permanently made on the German people.

Later, back in the United States, in a unit about Anne Frank, my eighth grade teacher repeatedly said, "If you are not a part of the solution, you are part of the problem." This in particular frustrated me, because my grandparents had not directly been a part of the problem (they had not been directly involved with the murdering of Jews), but they had not taken a stand against anti-semitism and the Nazis. Instead they joined the Nazis.

When Begnini's Life Is Beautiful came out, I went with my Jewish boyfriend to see it. Afterwards he had to comfort me, because I could only think of the cruelty my people had inflicted on people like him, and the knowledge that my grandparents had been somehow involved.

I know my grandparents to be good people, and they reproach themselves for having been a part of Nazism, but it is still a hard topic for me. When friends of mine have used "Nazi" flippantly, it shocks me. They do not know the pain of the subject, not only for the Jewish community, but also for the Germans who have to live with the knowledge of their people's actions.

I'm not saying we should forget that the Nazis existed. I think we should study Hitler's and the Nazis' actions. If we do not learn from mistakes the human race has made in the past, they are likely to reoccur, and who wants another Holocaust?

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