Wednesday, June 11, 2008

what is in a name?

Winter has bitten me hard. I don't mind the crisp air or mess of fallen leaves that have gone from golden and appealing, to brown and lethally slippery on the footpath. It is the yearning for inactivity, crawling into bed with an engaging book or a warm macbook that has slowed my posting down. I eat and cook but my head is elsewhere. I've made the Solstice cake (how is your's going, come on give it a go!) yet not found the words to tie it all together. It is not being able to cut it yet, the maturation should take months but in this case I'll only leave it a few weeks in all in order to actually taste what I made. I will write about it this week, I promise.

But in the meantime I got an angry comment about my blog title. Fair cop. It is a little thoughtless, though with obvious reference to popular culture. I've spent a few days musing on it and gone off on another tangent in my non-food blog if you are interested at all about semantics and wish to read it. No matter if you don't.

But if the name offends, I am open to hearing about it. Got a better name for me? Do you want "confessions of a food nazi" to have a total revamp, or stay just as I am?

More food writing soon - and that's a promise :)



Blogger grocer said...

It says more about the person complaining than you.

I thought your title was a quite clever play on the soup nazi thing - that your a stickler, except when ... and this is your confessional...

curiously i looked up the etymology of "nazi"

1930, from Ger. Nazi, abbreviation of Ger. pronunciation of Nationalsozialist (based on earlier Ger. sozi, popular abbreviaton of "socialist"), from Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei "National Socialist German Workers' Party," led by Hitler from 1920. The 24th edition of Etymologisches W├Ârterbuch der deutschen Sprache (2002) says the word Nazi was favored in southern Germany (supposedly from c.1924) among opponents of National Socialism because the nickname Nazi (from the masc. proper name Ignatz, Ger. form of Ignatius) was used colloquially to mean "a foolish person, clumsy or awkward person." Ignatz was a popular name in Catholic Austria, and according to one source in WWI Nazi was a generic name in the German Empire for the soldiers of Austria-Hungary. An older use of Nazi for national-sozial is attested in Ger. from 1903, but EWdS does not think it contributed to the word as applied to Hitler and his followers. The NSDAP for a time attempted to adopt the Nazi designation as what the Germans call a "despite-word," but they gave this up, and the NSDAP is said to have generally avoided the term. Before 1930, party members had been called in Eng. National Socialists, which dates from 1923. The use of Nazi Germany, Nazi regime, etc., was popularized by German exiles abroad. From them, it spread into other languages, and eventually brought back to Germany, after the war. In the USSR, the terms national socialist and Nazi were said to have been forbidden after 1932, presumably to avoid any taint to the good word socialist. Soviet literature refers to fascists.

I love etymology, just ask Purple Goddess!

10:32 am  
Blogger Another Outspoken Female said...

Interesting bit of research there grocer. I love etymology too (though my dyslexic spelling thwarts me at times) which is why I did a couple of years of latin at high school. Understanding the origin of a word makes the meaning easier to connect with.

Though erring on the side of sensitivity a moment - if I had lost most of forebears under a sadistic regime I might have a knee jerk reaction to the semantics. Perhaps that is why I still channel my Northern Irish grandmother when I hear the word "catholic" - she was bought up during "The Troubles" and remained traumatised right up to her death at 98.

11:34 am  
Blogger Lucy said...

Yes. It's a tough one, but I think you've addressed it beautifully.

My bloke is Jewish and so are his teenage boys, and they're not the least bit offended by your blog's name. And they're pretty open about such stuff with me.

But, like you, I understand the cultural sensitivity-thing - I cannot image why anyone, ANYONE, would want to rid the world of these three men I love. My old neighbour Mr Rosenberg had that tattoo. I used to find my eyes watering on seeing it, before he would hide it away quickly with his sleeve...

Anyhoo. LOVE the cake.

Am making another one, right now.

Who'd have thought I'd be such a willing convert?!!

12:26 pm  
Anonymous Zoe said...

I don't find your blog name offensive. I can see that some might, but if we all spent our time making sure we caused absolutely no offence we wouldn't open our mouths, let alone blog.

Fuchsia Dunlop noted in her memoir that she copped a lot from some critics for using Maoist iconography in her 2nd cookbook. My food blog also uses Maoist iconography, because it appeals to me aesthetically. I did wonder about including an anti-totalitarianism disclaimer when I set it up but I decided that would be overkill. In a similar vein, I think the derivation of your name and its lighthearted intent is pretty bloody clear.

No soup for complainers!

1:31 pm  
Blogger Desci said...

I like you just the way you are. (Don't go changin', to try and please me, etc).

5:26 pm  
Blogger docwitch said...

Good post, (as well as on otherrants).

I know it's a fraught term with a lot of baggage, and perhaps because of this, we not only have a heightened awareness of the 'unspeakable' horror of its origins, many also instinctively infuse words like 'nazi' with irony and humour? Mel Brooks got it, I think.

And yeah - I always thought it was a play on the Soup Nazi too, and therefore a clever and appropriate little moniker for your blog. I've personally never felt it abuses or diminishes the reality of fascism or genocide. Surely a healthy dose of common sense would make that all too obvious. I mean, really.

5:32 pm  
Blogger Ange said...

People should take more notice of the content then just jumping on the name

7:00 pm  
Blogger Another Outspoken Female said...

Thank you one and all..good, sane Aussie women the lot of you. Maybe part of it is an Antipodean sensibility? Are readers off shore remaining silent?

7:14 pm  
Blogger Kalyn said...

I've never remotely thought of the blog name as offensive. However, you might find it interesting that when I think of your blog, in my mind I call it "another outspoken female." If you do ever decide to change, I vote for that as a blog name!

3:31 am  
Blogger Another Outspoken Female said...

Thanks Kalyn, good to hear a US point of view on this one.

8:22 am  
Anonymous Duncan | Syrup&Tang said...

This is a toughy. I must admit that I detest the use of the word Nazi in the 'soup nazi' way. There are some words which I feel shouldn't be trivialised (which is what I felt the 'soup nazi' term did) lest people forget what they really referred to. But language doesn't easily lend itself to enduring taboos, and cultural/historical knowledge rarely lasts beyond one generation, so I'm a realist -- the term had been extended and diluted in American English long before you chose the name for the blog (and long before Seinfeld). I have no beef with your choice and I don't hesitate when I click through to read your lovely writings.

My only caveat would be that we can't assume people actually remember what this word (or other tainted terms) really represents. I think the horror of history is lost to most who use it in its new sense. You, me and your commenters are a minority who have knowledge of history and separate it from the contemporary colloquial usage of the word.

12:15 am  
Blogger Another Outspoken Female said...

Duncan, thanks for your thoughts. I consider some of the issues you raise on the extended rant on my non-food site.

I really appreciate everyones contributions on this tangent I have been on :)

8:28 am  
Blogger grocer said...

Don't get me wrong - I see the sensitive side to this too. But I think that people get caught up in one nuance of things and that prevents us (society) to move on or even discuss issues.

You mention your N.Irish grandma and her hate of the word catholic, yet my paternal side settled in Australia as N.Irish catholics that were shipped off the land they lived on. If I was to take offense at your comment then what would that say about me? vice versa... Anyone seen "the beautiful game"? Likewise I have an uncle by marriage on my maternal side that knew his parents were orange but found out when they died that he didn't really know who they were at all - they had so many names and legal entities and it was a real challenge to execute the will.

I have just realised I have drafted an essay on this so deleted the rest. Atrocities are rife throughout history, but like many things, if the mere words become taboo how do we convey meaning and memory?

There is also strong evidence (as commented on your rants blog) of disenfranchised and maligned groups taking on these "labels" thus empowering themselves.

Just ask PG - she got banned from forum for using the term "over-wogging"!

take care, be strong, and hold onto the fire that brings you here in the first place.

1:57 pm  
Blogger Sarah said...


I really don't like the use of the word nazi as slang. I used to use it when I was younger, especially after the Soup Nazi episode of Seinfeld, but have stopped now. I recently came back from Germany, where calling someone a nazi is no joking matter, and I don't feel comfortable using it as slang any more.

However, I don't find it especially offensive. I do like your blog, and wouldn't stop reading it because of the name. :)

xox Sarah

6:27 pm  

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