Time to Retire

I’m proposing that in the aftermath of the election words “racist, sexist, Nazi, fascist, totalitarian, and authoritarian” should be retired from political speech for several years.

These are good, important words that point to real, existing things but they have been so overused, cheapened, and emptied of content that all they produce is exhaustion, boredom and annoyance. A couple more years of active use, and it will be impossible to resuscitate them.

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6 thoughts on “Time to Retire”

  1. I’m proposing that in the aftermath of the election words “racist, sexist, Nazi, fascist, totalitarian, and authoritarian” should be retired from political speech for several years.

    People frequently remind me that words almost always change their meaning over time. I am not sure we can do anything about it. The example that comes to my mind immediately is that the word ‘merely’ means almost the exact opposite of what it meant ot Shakespeare.

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    1. Changing meaning is OK. Losing all meaning because of overuse is entirely different, however. If, for instance, I refer to every tiny daily mishap as a horrible tragedy, soon enough nobody will listen to me when I speak of tragedies. You can’t cry wolf daily for years and expect anybody to pay attention.

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