Monday, October 08, 2007

a glossary of code

you've probably heard of godwin's law, which states that "[a]s an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one."

some people misinterpret this to mean that as soon as you use the H-word or the F-word (fascism), you've lost the argument. but that's not really what it means. indeed, some things truly are comparable to hitler or fascism. the problem is that these comparisons are thrown around so often, and used incorrectly so frequently, that when you use these terms, people stop listening. as such, it has become virtually impossible to have a serious online discussion about subjects such as fascism, because people will ignore you, regardless of the merit of your argument.

along those lines, here are some more phrases to avoid. whenever i see any of these phrases, i immediately assume that the person using them is a wingnut with no idea what they're talking about. of course, it is possible to use these phrases correctly (for example, "greg ballard doesn't seem to have any support outside the 'bart lies' crowd), but for the most part, they should be avoided by anyone who wants to be taken seriously. some of these are specific to local politics, while others are no doubt used regionally or nationally.

BART LIES!—much like the "lies" of michael moore, the "lies" of mayor bart peterson are not actually lies at all; they are policy disagreements.

detroit—this is racist code for "scary black folks". thus the claim "indy is turning into another detroit" means "indy is being taken over by scary black folks".

cleveland—code for "black folks"; see detroit.

gary (gary, indiana)—code for "black folks"; see detroit.

pea shake—the moment anyone starts complaining about pea shake houses, my eyes roll into the back of my head.

"sweet pea"—racist nickname for city-county council president monroe grey; see pea shake.

the carson machine (or "the machine")—racist code for the delusional belief that the city is ruled with an iron fist by a cabal of black democrats, at the center of which is representative julia carson. the irony of "the carson machine" is that these people simultaneously believe that carson is a weak, dying old woman incapable of representing us in congress and also that she is so powerful that she runs the entire city like a dictator.

ghetto mafia—see the carson machine.

"fair tax"—the so-called "fair tax" proposal to eliminate property taxes and replace them with income & sales taxes is not only orwellian in its unfairness, it is impractical and implausible, and anyone who tells you otherwise is either confused or lying (to themselves, to you, or both).

the party of lincoln—yes, lincoln was a republican. then, 100 years later, the republican party adopted the southern strategy.

socialist—there are extremely few actual socialists in the united states. europe is a different story.

anyway, that's just a few. there are dozens more, but i gotta run.

update: tdw reposts my glossary, which has so far elicited 46 comments.


Anonymous said...

What, no links to examples on Advance Indiana? Gosh, how will I know how to use them in a sentence?

Anonymous said...


Grain of truth, blithe definitions, but truly humorous.

I posted some other comments on Taking Down Words, but I suppose that they aren't as humorous.

A thanks to Jen for giving your site more than a cursory nod.

Bart Lies said...

"Shining example" q.v. Monroe Gray