Subverting “Digital Brownshirts”

There is an interesting post at Iraq The Model (Post: “We almost thought we were hallucinating!”) in which the Iraqi poster marvels at the fact that virtually every American news agency reported that Bremer left Iraq without so much as a speech, when in fact he did give a speech that moved many Iraqis deeply.

The most interesting thing about the post was the comments section, in which several people started joking about the speech in which Al Gore called online conservatives “digital brownshirts” — a.k.a. Nazi thugs. Soon the comments started turning to “Hey! Let’s make brown t-shirts!” Ideas bounced back and forth about what to print on it, etc., but the basic concept was quickly endorsed by several: they want to claim the term as their own and use it subversively, much the way the phrase “vast right wing conspiracy” started appearing on conservative bumperstickers a few years back.

With all due respect to their politics, I am adamantly against any attempts by conservative netizens to claim as their own the term “brownshirt”.

The “Vast Right Wing Conspiracy” is funny. It was something that, if it really existed, people would want to be a part of; so the joke became that the Conspiracy does exist, and we’re all members. Conservatives grabbed it and ran with it. But if some jackass calls you a Nazi, do you really want to say, in essence, “Yeah, I am a Nazi, So There”?

Please let’s not further contribute to the trivialization of the true horror of what the Nazis did. Don’t make it a joke. Don’t excuse Al Gore’s vile comment by going along with it. It’s a mistake in so many ways!

Update: (already???) And they’re off! is online. No I’m not linking.

Comments are invited and encouraged

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