In everyday, trivial American parlance the term Nazi is used to describe someone overly strict, uptight and rule-obsessed. Beyond this, it is the touchstone of historical analogies regarding the gradual limitation of freedom and the onslaught of state-driven terror. The appeal of the term and the imagery it carries with it has to do with a kind of absurd recognition of the inherently disposable nature of those made-up persons, places, and things called races, ethnicities, peoples, countries, and the like. Combined with this is the absurd recognition of the inherently sacred and disposable nature of the State. The countless deaths and cases of suffering inflicted by the Nazis were part of a self-consciously absurd enterprise to make their victims, and make them both sacred and disposable. The Nazis saw what they were doing as nobly absurd. They unknowingly took the great challenge of Karl Marx, i.e., to create social change only amongst those persons, places and things that realize they are inherently sacred, disposable, and unable to affect this situation. Yet, in doing so, their murder and terror created what should be a great touchstone, but sadly never has been. The greatest flaw of the absurdism of Nazi state actors was that for which Friedrich Nietzsche would have hated them most: (1) the pathetic social performance of willful ignorance, and (2) the compulsion of Nazi persons, places and things to at one time be and hate those persons, places and things they were making into sacred and disposable fetiches. In this respect, so many Nazis (and all of their nobly absurdist brethren today worldwide) are eventually allowed to be those they wanted to be and to hate at one and the same time.

In the ruins all our own this specific legacy of this shared, noble state of absurdity is really the only analogical touchstone that offers truth. This specific fact, and knowing why all of the other uses are wrong, is what makes the glyph “Nazi” a useful allegorical tool.


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