Supressing an urge to reference Super Furry Animals…
A fascist? Fascist. Hmmmm. What is that? Hmmmm. The mind reels with possibilities and images. Words, too.
From pages 188 to 191, The Tyranny of Words, 1938, by Stuart Chase:
More important than trying to find meaning in a vague abstraction is an analysis of what people believe it means. Do they agree? Are they thinking about the same referent when they hear the term or use it? I collected nearly a hundred reactions from friends and chance acquaintances during the early summer of 1937. I did not ask for a definition, but asked them to tell me what “fascism” meant to them, what kind of a picture came into their minds when they heard the term. Here are sample reactions:
Author: One-party government. “Outs” unrepresented.
Governess: Obtaining one’s desires by sacrifice of human lives.
Lawyer: A state where the individual has no rights, hope, or future.
College student: Hitler and Mussolini.
United States senator: Deception, duplicity, and professing to do what one is not doing.
Schoolboy: War. Concentration camps. Bad treatment of workers. Something that’s got to be licked.
Lawyer: A coercive capitalistic state.
Teacher: A government where you can live comfortably if you never disagree with it.
Lawyer: I don’t know.
Musician: Empiricism, forced control, quackery.
Editor: Domination of big business hiding behind Hitler and Mussolini.
Short story writer: A form of government where socialism is used to perpetuate capitalism.
Housewife: Dictatorship by a man not always intelligent.
Taxi-driver: What Hitler’s trying to put over. I don’t like it.
Housewife: Same thing as communism.
College student: Exaggerated nationalism. The creation of artificial hatreds.
Housewife: A large Florida rattlesnake in summer.
Author: I can only answer in cuss words.
Housewife: The corporate state. Against women and workers.
Librarian: They overturn things.
Italian hairdresser: A bunch, all together.
Elevator starter: I never heard of it.
Businessman: The equivalent of the NRA.
Stenographer: Terrorism, religious intolerance, bigotry.
Social worker: Government in the interest of the majority for the purpose of accomplishing things democracy can not do.
Businessman: Egotism. One person thinks he can run everything.
Clerk: Il Duce. Oneness. Ugh!
Clerk: Mussolini’s racket. All business not making money taken over by the state.
Secretary: Black shirts. I don’t like it.
Author: A totalitarian state which does not pretend to aim at equalization of wealth.
Housewife: Oppression. No worse than communism.
Author: An all-powerful police force to hold up a decaying society.
Housewife: Dictatorship. President Roosevelt is a dictator, but he’s not a fascist.
Journalist: Undesired government of masses by a self-seeking, fanatical minority.
Clerk: Me, one and only, and a lot of blind sheep following.
Sculptor: Chauvinism made into a religious cult and the consequent suppression of other races and religions.
Artist: An attitude toward life which I hate as violently as anything I know. Why? Because it destroys everything in life I value.
Lawyer: A group which does not believe in government interference, and will overthrow the government if necessary.
Journalist: A left-wing group prepared to use force.
Advertising man: A governmental form which regards the individual as the property of the state.
Did that help?