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Let’s retire this hateful word

I rather like the term “snowflake,” as used by conservatives to denote someone too easily offended, excessively sensitive.

The kind of people who need trigger warnings and safe spaces.

Fragile.

It’s intended as a put-down, earlier applied to millennials (“the snowflake generation”) and bit by bit extended to all-age liberals of supposedly delicate sensibilities. The Guardian labeled it “the defining insult of 2016.”

Go back far enough and it had other meanings: Merriam-Webster records that in the 1860s in Missouri, “snowflake” identified someone opposed to the abolition of slavery; in the 1970s it became a “disparaging term for a white man or for a black man who was seen as acting white.”

Not too hard to divine the association there.

The current usage is seen as having developed from a line in the book, and later movie, “Fight Club”:

“Listen up, maggots. You are not special. You are not the beautiful or unique snowflake. You are the same decaying organic matter as everything else.”

You have to admire the use of “snowflake” as both ridiculing people for thinking they’re special, and invoking the notion of impermanence: Snowflakes in nature pretty quickly lose their individuality and, sooner or later, cease to exist as snow at all. So good going, conservatives.

Read the full column: Insult liberals all you want, but pick a different word | MagnoliaStateLive.com

About Joe Rogers

I'm a retired newspaper journalist and a Mississippi native who found himself living and working in New York.

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