Today I want to discuss something which I think is very interesting. Recently I have studied a lot of things relating to western epistemology, especially language games and epistemes and a bit of Lyotard and so on. I heavily disagree with this ideology, this postmodernism, but I will concede one thing: It has a strong influence in contemporary intellectualism. However when I say that, I say it in the same was as one might say the Holy Roman Empire had a strong influence in the contemporary intellectualism of its time. It is far from a good thing, nor is it praise.
And one language game that is very typical to postmodernism I think is of course political correctness and progressivism. And what fascinates me is how terrifying the realities of today’s language of particularly genocide and colonialism has become.
So I will give you an example of the contrasts here. First off I wish to tell you about the Hadendoa tribe of Soudan. In the late 1800s, they were colonised by the British, and staged a very courageous resistance effort.
The British soldiers had a name for these warriors, they called them “Fuzzy-Wuzzies.” A kind of playground insult intended to make fun of their hair basically. I don’t need to overemphasize the logic here, it’s pretty straightforward.
Now obviously this was the language of genocidal racism. It’s pretty offensive. But you know what? I like that. I like that it disturbs people, that it makes people feel morally uncomfortable on some level. That’s actually pretty nice compared to how progressive liberalism produces racial slurs.
Because making fun of someone’s hairstyle is downright innocent compared to say, calling someone a tango.
What is a tango? You probably don’t even recognise it as a racial slur, but it absolutely is. It is in fact one of the least ambiguous racial slurs ever invented, it gets straight to business: Tango down.
Tango comes from the NATO alphabet, and it’s army slang for “Target.” That’s it. Just a target. What do you do with targets? You shoot them. The English have a long tradition of namecalling their enemies. French are frogs, Germans are krauts, Irish are bogtrotters, and so on.
And you know what? Men eat frogs. Men eat sauerkraut. Men live in swamps, and yes, men have thick hair sometimes. These are all characteristics of men. But what man is a target? What man holds such a defining characteristic? The answer is simple: A Jew in Auschwitz, a Russian in Donetsk, a Bedouin in Libya, an Arab in Jerusalem.
Progressive racism has only one view of the other, and it is through the crosshairs. This clinical and cut and dry approach to the language of war, this political correctness, I find to be far worse. At least to be stereotyped is to be observed. At least to be belittled is to be identified. Progressive resolve the genocide problem by removing the genus, by defining men not as men, but as what is under their crosshairs.
In order to dehumanise, you must paradoxically enough, acknowledge someone’s humanity. You don’t dehumanise a matchbox, or a mountaintop, that would be absurd. Only human beings are dehumanised.
And in a deeply perverse way, we now see a horrifying development in racism in the postmodern world, which is to resolve racism by simply eliminating this a priori in the first place. To make slurs so effective and so invisible that nobody even considers them slurs. But who is it that are Tangos? Who are the Tangos? Who do we see in that grainy drone footage? Who do we see being carried out from rubble by crying fathers? Where does this happen? Does it happen in Brussels? Does it happen in Toronto? Does it happen in Manchester?
The Tangos are generally speaking the same people that have always been given such names. But with a new kind of ontology that has been turned upside down. Progressives do not define their perceived racial inferiors by how they live, but rather by how they die. I am by no means defending the old way of doing things, and if you think I do, then I apologise, but I must respectfully inform you that you’re a little bit slow.
My point is rather that things have not gotten better, the language of genocide and the language of colonialism has found a new kind of postmodern ideal: The saprology. Rather than to root language in how something exists, in an ontology, saprological language roots itself in how something is supposed to die. It comes from the Greek “Sapro”, which means to “Rot, decay, die or cease.” It is the opposite of ontology. It is not how things manifest as being, but rather how things stop being.
And this saprological language has been treated as a new and politically correct and more ethical alternative to saying “Fuzzy-Wuzzy.”
There’s numerous other examples. Earliest example I know of a saprological word was “Zipperhead.” Used by NATO troops in Korea to describe how they would crush the skulls of Korean POWs with army jeeps, causing the brain cavity to collapse and produce a zipper-patterned crack throughout the scalp.
There’s numerous other ones too, like Charlie, or Hostiles, or even Enemy Combatant. All of these signify the saprological property: They are supposed to die. They do not have hair, or strange foods, or foreign ideals. They do not have a history like the German Hun, they do not have a martial tradition like the Boxer, even some of the really nasty slurs like Wog come from some kind of observation or signifier. Referring to “Warden on Guard”, since Indian recruits were often assigned to security work. It’s a terribly racist thing to say because of how it then followed a horrendously violent history, and carries with it those connotations, but they are still ontological, they still describe a being, they do not describe a temporarily disenfranchised corpse.
A slur as we knew them in modernism was a term that described a living being, which was then overtime stigmatised by the burdens of cruel and racist violence. But in postmodern times, a slur is constructed with a perverse idealism, in which men, women and children who are part of the other, are given the aspirational status of the living dead.
A Tango is not an excuse to kill, it is not a justifier to kill, a Tango is a walking death certificate. Tango is how well racism has evolved. To be twice as effective and half as noticeable.