Don’t You Call My Dog A Nazi

I’ve cogitated over the topic of political correctness this week, partly because of this article, and partly because of my own observations.  Turns out, I have been a strict adherent to the unwritten code of Political Correctness, without realizing it.

I’ll explain with a story.  A few weeks ago we were outside, and a familiar neighbor walked by with her dachshund.  I was chatting with someone else a little distance away.  My boys flocked to the dachshund, as they usually do.  He’s very cute and friendly.

After this particular encounter, though, the dachshund owner approached me and said she needed to let me know what my older son said.  She’s not angry, she reassured me.  She just thinks it’s important that I know.

Uh-oh.

What is it? I asked with a probably visible inward cringe.  Her answer went something like this:  well, I don’t know if you realize your son refers to other people as “Nazis.”

He called you a Nazi? I asked, my mind searching for an explanation.  My son probably knows more about Nazis than most eight-year-olds.  World War II history is one of his passions.  He’s been to Normandy, to a reenactment of Operation Market Garden, to World War II Camp, and to endless miliary-themed museums.  He plays Blazing Angels on the Wii, and he has season 2 of Dogfights pretty much memorized.

I had long ago explained to my son, when asked, why Germany is no longer our enemy, and why Nazis were So Very Very Bad.  Mercifully, he did not ask for details.

So there I was, horrified at the thought of him taunting my neighbor with “Nazi.”

Well, she qualified, I’m not sure if he was referring to me or my dog.

Huh?

I called him over.  Uh, buddy?

Yeah Mom?

Did you call her a Nazi?

No.  I called her dog a little Nazi.

Why? 

Because he is.  He is a cute little Nazi dog.

Uh, buddy?

Yeah Mom?

Where did you get the idea of her dog being a Nazi?

From the teufel hunden poster at the Military Aviation Museum

The tooful what?

The poster of a Nazi dog.  It was a dachshund.  It looked like her dog.

Was it the Nazi’s mascot? I asked, perplexed.

Yeah, he says, I guess so.

I was very relieved.  He didn’t mean any harm, I explained.  He just remembered the dachshund from some historical poster at the museum.

My neighbor reassured me that she already knew my son meant no harm.  Also, she reassured me that she was not offended, but added that her uncles are “first generation.”  If they had heard it, they would have been very upset.

At the risk of being thick, I simply had to ask:  “First generation what?”

German.

Ohhh.

The whole episode left me a little perplexed.  If she had known that my kid wasn’t being hurtful, and she was not personally offended anyway, then why had she brought it up in such a solemn manner? 

I spoke with my son about how some grownups are so sensitive about certain words, that maybe it’s best if you just don’t use them.  Okay, he said, like WWII camp.  Apparently, he was told they don’t advertise the camp anymore because folks sometimes get upset about the whole Nazi aspect.

Why yes, that is exactly right, I said, feeling that the problem was solved.

End of story.

Then, I read the article “Political Correctness and The Thought Police,” and the Mirriam-Webster definition of “political correctness” leapt out at me like a face-licking dachshund:

“conforming to a belief that language and practices which could offend political sensibilities — as in matters of sex or race — should be eliminated.”

I cringed inwardly again.  That was what I had done.  I had eliminated the term “Nazi” from my son’s speech because it could offend some neighbor’s uncles who we’ve never actually even met.

The astute commenter “Sparrowhawk” gave a rather chilling explanation about why the practice of eliminating speech is so insidious:

“Political correctness is a poliomyelitic affliction that attacks, not the brainstem or spinal cord, but language, concepts and ideas in one’s mind and renders the mind impotent and helpless. In short, it attacks the mind, and, like Orwell’s Newspeak Dictionary in Nineteen Eighty-Four, seeks to reduce the range of the mind by homogenizing its contents and imposing mindless conformity.  The catch is that, while imbeciles would not know the difference between plain and politically correct speech – they are not the objects of the tyranny – it works only if one is willing to submit, Muslim-style, to a higher “authority,” only if one knows that it is expected of one to knuckle under and bow to the god of sensitivity.  This in turn contributes to a habitual conformity in politics, art, and in speech.  Which in turn contributes to the growth of a servile, passive, complacent citizenry.”

I had to look up “poliomyelitic.”  He’s referring to a virus that paralyzes children’s brains.

Sheesh.  I gotta go now, and tell my son it’s okay to call the neighbor’s dog a “Nazi.”

Oh, I got more details from my son–it was a U.S. recruitment poster, depicting a devil dog chasing a German dachshund–and I googled it.  Here it is:

I have to admit:  put a Kaiser helmet on that neighbor’s dog, and he’s a dead ringer.

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18 thoughts on “Don’t You Call My Dog A Nazi

  1. Monty Ritchings 5 November 2010 at 5:21 pm Reply

    I concur with you about the confusion and frustration regarding political correctness. Although I feel that we need to be considerate of each other’s feelings, we also need to have thicker skin because we all speak and understand differently.

    Rather than being so hung up on using the right words, we should be teaching our children to know themselves and the beauty of life. Then maybe we can have more fun and laugh about the thought of your dog running around in a “kraut” helmet.

    Look forward to more blogs
    Monty Ritchings
    http://www.montyrtichings.com

  2. fleeceme 5 November 2010 at 5:57 pm Reply

    Man I love your posts. This one was great.

    I always felt like a freak when I railed against the PC-ification of America because it was a form of thought-control. In my head, a little voice said, “Dude, these people are gonna think you are Glenn Beck or something.” But it is true. Germany is a perfect example.

    Germany has been so sanitized of the history of the Nazi movement that its hard to imagine any Germans today have even learned the great negative lesson their country taught the world 70 years ago. Nazi imagery is not allowed, as you pointed out, Germans are sensitive to even the use of the word Nazi. Basically, Germany is trying to unwrite their past, which is understandable to a degree, but outrageously dangerous as well.

    It would be the equivalent of America saying you can’t even mention that we used to have slavery in United States.

    Until Germany can accept that they were home to one of the most horrible dictatorships in history of man, they will never be able to overcome the national guilt they currently suffer.

    • nooneofanyimport 6 November 2010 at 7:17 am Reply

      Thanks, fleecy. I actually didn’t realize how “verboten” the word Nazi is to some German people. Silly ol’ insensitive me.

  3. Mein Gott… | World's Only Rational Man 5 November 2010 at 7:56 pm Reply

    [...] …that was a close call, huh Linda? [...]

  4. AFVET 6 November 2010 at 12:08 pm Reply

    Your neighbor did you a favor.
    Your son made no mistake in voicing his opinion, or in this instance, his views.
    Out of the mouths of babes, as the saying goes, can illuminate our feelings to ourselves.
    He will eventually realize when and where to express them.

  5. Quite Rightly 6 November 2010 at 8:19 pm Reply

    I’m with fleeceme. You write one heck of a great post.

    I remember when the local district attorney, quite a decent fellow, made the unpardonable error of calling something “as valuable as white gold” during the trial of a black defendant. Although the DA had clearly been referring to the relative value of a precious metal, he was subjected to a front-page public roasting in the local newspaper for days, and discussion of his “racist” remark just about obliterated any mention of the very serious crime that had been committed, as, I am sure, was the intention of the powers at work. Not one person had the nerve to come to the man’s defense for fear the same would happen to them (it would have).

    I live in a university town in the shadow of one of the largest libraries in the world. This library offers access not only to millions of volumes of books and periodicals from all over the world, but also access to an unbelievable wealth of digitized data. Sadly–maddenly even–most of the university’s population make very little use of this wealth, not because the information is not there for the taking (it is), but because they have permitted an allegiance to political correctness to nearly disengage their own ability to gather and analyze any information that exists outside of a very narrow band, the borders of which have been determined by people about whose history and goals they know almost nothing.

    Keep talking to your son, and keep your son talking.

  6. Fleece’s Faves « Fleece Me 7 November 2010 at 11:44 am Reply

    [...] NoOneofAnyImport’s Blog – my secret blog crush, I love it when she posts stuff about her and her kid, excellent writing – this one is about political correctness and a Nazi dog – intrigued?  Go read it, fantastic [...]

  7. Citizen Tom 7 November 2010 at 9:23 pm Reply

    I just ran into a similar problem myself in this post (http://citizentom.com/2010/11/07/bob-fitzsimmonds-campaign-kickoff/). I made the mistake of contrasting a black man skin (which is unusually dark) with his sunny disposition.

    Our differences exist. That is just the way it is. We should ignore them and pretend they don’t exist. In fact, the people who complain don’t even make sense. If we pretend our differences do not exist, how can we value our diversity?

    Even being the descendent of NAZI SS officer has value — if we pass on the lessons we learn from that experience.

    The man I complimented in my post is a member of our local school board. Dr. Michael Otaigbe is his name. If you look at the picture of this man on the school’s website(http://www.pwcs.edu/admin/schboard/), you can see indications that the school photographer used a bright light which reflected off Otaigbe’s face. That is unlike the other photos. Perhaps photographer needed more light to get a decent contrast. Would the photographer have done better if he had pretended Otaigbe had white skin?

    Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.
    John Adams, ‘Argument in Defense of the Soldiers in the Boston Massacre Trials,’ December 1770
    US diplomat & politician (1735 – 1826)

  8. Robert 8 November 2010 at 9:47 am Reply

    That’s great. Kids say the best stuff because they haven’t been trained. This particular thing was so innocent yet it offended someone…pitiful but typical. Good for you though you handled it well.

  9. [...] It gets us children who can’t call dogs “Nazis.” [...]

  10. Gunnar 12 August 2011 at 1:47 pm Reply

    It is sad to see what this world is coming to. Look how easy it is for us to over look things we may not mean to do and how easy it is to try and brain wash us. Good for you. We all need to be more aware. Thanks

  11. Gunnar 12 August 2011 at 1:50 pm Reply

    How true. That shows just how easy it is to brainwash us. Thanks for the eye opener.

  12. neenergyobserver 13 November 2011 at 12:21 pm Reply

    One of my favorite recruiting posters. And yes PC IS newspeak. We should, of course, attempt not to offend but, not at the expense of the truth; sometimes the truth is offensive.

    It was easy enough when I was that age to confuse the Kaiser’s war with Hitler’s, so it must be really easy for kids now.

    Great Post.

  13. [...] feminist of today, I’m not empowered by victimhood.  I am empowered by throwing off the shackles of political correctness.  To reject political correctness is to liberate one’s mind.  Even if it’s a feeble [...]

  14. [...] feminist of today, I’m not empowered by victimhood.  I am empowered by throwing off the shackles of political correctness.  To reject political correctness is to liberate one’s mind.  Even if it’s a feeble [...]

  15. [...] typical feminist of today, I’m not empowered by victimhood.  I am empowered by throwing off the shackles of political correctness.  To reject political correctness is to liberate one’s mind.  Even if it’s a feeble female [...]

  16. [...] I am trying to make a point, of course, with my lack of manners.  Good manners are good, and bad manners are bad, but political correctness is worst of all: [...]

  17. […] DiFranco, some of the points you made were fair enough, but it won’t fly with your audi­ence. The Polit­i­cal Cor­rect­ness Police give no lenience, not even for one of their […]

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