Saturday, August 27, 2016

Adequate Labelling

In a comment on my last post, mikey questioned the use of the euphemism 'alt-right':


Frankly, I'm not terribly comforatble with the 'alt right' euphamism. It helps them cement a kind of mainstream acceptance as just a faction of the American conservative 'right'. They love the title because it lets them participate, where 'White Nationalist' or even 'White Supremacist' would exclude them from the mainstream political discussion - as it has for decades.

Merely the fact that they couple their racism with a more coherent - though even more toxic - construct that includes a vicious misogyny and a strong bent towards tribal violence shouldn't allow them to re-brand themselves as something that belongs in American discourse.

I know - I've already lost this argument. But I'm going to continue to use terms like White Nationalist to describe them, because they shouldn't get that kind of ideological cover...


Nasreen agreed:

I agree with Mikey. Nazis shouldn't get cute nicknames.

I think the real problem is that these fuckers are such 'broad spectrum' bigots that one cannot simply walk into Mordor point out one aspect of their bigoted agenda. Play up the white supremacism, you might not adequately describe their misogyny, call out their misogyny, you might not adequately describe their anti-semitism...

What would be an adequate-yet-succinct descriptor for these creeps? Would 'Broad Spectrum Bigot' be a good, short label? How about 'Bigots Resisting Open Society', or B.R.O.S.? Alt-right is a bit twee, it conjures up the term alt-country, a music genre I like quite a bit. How should we encompass the totality of the horribleness of this movement?

5 comments:

Nasreen Iqbal said...

I suppose the told Tea Party tag isn't quite right (Tea Party is closer to Cruz, while Trump supporters aren't generally all that religious, right?).

If Mr. Trump wins, we might just be able to call them Republicans, as it's likely the old style conservatives will find somewhere else to go.

I can't imagine the Kasichs and McCains sticking around forever if the party has moved on.

mikey said...

The problem you describe - the generalized, broad spectrum hatred of these groups - cannot be solved by making a list. That's why I tend to prefer the term "White Nationalist". The American groups are modeled on the European radical white nationalist groups you think of when you think about the likes of Geert Wilders, Marine Le Pen and Jorg Haider. Racist, sectarian (rabidly Islamphpobic), anti-Semitic, Authoritarian, anti-gay - the term describes them in terms of what they ARE rather than what they hate.

Basically, unless you are of direct European caucasian descent, straight and if you're a woman you know your place, you can assume they hate you...

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

"Assholes"....

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

Pepe Hitlers.
~

M. Bouffant said...

They've self-defined as "the alt-right" & made their agenda clear.

One could always link to one of their "Who Am Us, Anyway?" pages when the term is used, or just throw "You know, Neo-Nazi losers" in parentheses after each use of the phrase.