Cosmopolitan Euphemism

Language /

A Straight Dope article offers insight on a particular set of political euphemisms.

The Soviet-produced Dictionary of the Contemporary Russian Literary Language defines kosmopolit as “a person who does not consider himself as belonging to any nationality.”

In other words, a Jew!

If that’s too ambiguous, the definition of kosmopolitizm should remove any doubts about the word’s implications: “a bourgeois reactionary ideology.”

and adds:

Officially, of course, the Soviet Union did not single out ethnic groups, hence the need for code words.

I want to relate this news to a current theme of mine: ways in which a state punishes deviance from its prescribed patriotism. It just occurs to me: maybe the Nazis hated the Jews as readily as they did because Zionism wasn’t Naziism. Maybe the Americans didn’t mind the reports they heard of Nazi antisemitism because Americanism couldn’t tolerate Zionism either. Stalin had to beat up on any group that didn’t share his own Communist fixed-idea.

much more to add but that’s a start
I’ll add details of how Ivan Illich’s cosmopolitan Christianity — God as bigger than nationalism, patriotism toward a particular sect of a church bureaucracy — got him defrocked.
Me too: read my early fiction: it’s cosmopolitan in the extreme, no wonder publishers wouldn’t go near it, friends wouldn’t spread the word, not even fans. Fans in private were not fans in public.

There’s no telling how much information gets repressed by the cultures’ soldiers of orthodoxy.

In the case of the Jews though, Zionism is hardly Tolstoyan-Illichian Christianity, it’s hardly Bucky’s invitation to the world to secede from nations and to join India, letting the tide of imperialism recede altogether.

The Nazis, the Stalinists, (the New Dealers …) don’t permit honest record keeping, people don’t even know who offered what, except as choreographed by the orthodox: press, etc.

We need a God to correct our falsehoods, but Judgment hasn’t arrived, all we have are kleptocratic versions of this and that. Fortunately, poison is poison no matter what we call it, no matter how an FDA labels it.

This babble relates intimately with the babble I’ll initiate next: Magic Network.

Note how nationalism pollutes language. But what do kleptocrats have in the way of unpolluted samples? Nuttin.

When I was a kid, mid-1940s, my cousin matriculated at Princeton. My father, a Columbia man, took us to a football game at Princeton, Columbia vs. Princeton, we sat among Tommy’s friends on the Princeton side. But I demanded, and got, a Columbia pennant. Cheese, did I get dirty looks from the Princetonians: a year older, a pound heavier, I might have gotten clobbered.
Imagine carrying a Yankee banner in Ebbets Field in 1935! in 1950!

Gehrig swings
Gehrig swings
thanx baseball-fever

I just saw Leni Riefenstahl say that Hitler didn’t care much for the Olympics because though it was about nationalism, it wasn’t about German nationalism. It wasn’t Nazi!


About pk

Seems to me that some modicum of honesty is requisite to intelligence. If we look in the mirror and see not kleptocrats but Christians, we’re still in the same old trouble.
This entry was posted in language. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s