Language watch: “terrorist”

"Terrorist" is the new "Nazi."

I'm sure y'all already know that Democrats in the Texas House of Representatives have skipped town to prevent a quorum and thereby obstruct a Republican bill. But the reason I'm mentioning it is a quote from an A.P. article:

"They're legislative terrorists and their leaving today is a weapon of mass obstruction, blocking hundreds of pieces of legislation," Republican Rep. Dan Branch said Monday.

I'm tickled by "weapon of mass obstruction"; that's kinda clever. But the use of "legislative terrorists" suggests to me that the term "terrorist" has already become a generic extreme insult, much as "Nazi" is used to refer to anyone who advocates stronger control over anything.

Does the gentleman from Texas actually mean to suggest that the Democrats are, say, slaughtering civilians? Why not just call them "babykillers" and have done with it?

Speaking of babykillers (sorry, this is totally unrelated, but I couldn't resist the segue), here's a cute example of geek humor: a bug filed against the Mozilla browser about XBL support. "XBL is causing numerous problems including the death of babies. I ask you, how many more babies need to die before this bug is fixed?" And so on.

4 Responses to “Language watch: “terrorist””

  1. JeremyT

    I find what the Texas Democrats to be doing hilarious, but mostly because I do not live in Texas. I’m sure they’re wasting tax payer dollars and all, it is fascinating the way that the minority utilizes their powers against a majority. Their actions do arise from the same spirit I think terrorism does, which a minority looking for some way to strike against a majority. Still, I agree, the word terrorist has lost all meaning. I haven’t liked how it has been used for quite some time, so I’m all for its dilution and eventual meaninglessness.

    I imagine there’s some legislation that hasn’t been passed because of they skipped town that would save the lives of babies, so depending on how long they hold out, we may see the Republicans calling them baby-killers yet. You can be sure this behavior is going to be the focus of Republican campaigns next year.

  2. David Moles

    I think we need to bring back duelling, if we really want to restore civility to politics.

  3. Fred

    I always use “fascist” instead of “Nazi”.
    Orwell said that fascist means nothing any more, except that you don’t like someone. Eco begs to differ.

  4. Dan

    My favorite part of the “XBL kills babies” bug report would be Additional Comment #50. Yes, I am easily amused.


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