Who's the snowflake? A chilly riposte to political insults

Faith Salie on "Snowflakes"

It's the political put-down of the moment: "Snowflake."  And to its fans, Faith Salie has one word of advice: CHILL! 

Even though it's the middle of summer, there's an awful lot of talk about snowflakes. This is the "it" insult that's caused a blizzard on the political landscape.

The dig in its current use stems from the '90s book and movie "Fight Club," in which the narrator informs his listeners, "You are not special. You are not a beautiful or unique snowflake."

Faith Salie on the jab du jour that has critics on the right and left seeing white. CBS News

Some started calling today's youth "Generation Snowflake," bemoaning their perceived hyper-sensitivity. And then "snowflake" became a word-weapon to express a broad kind of anti-intellectualism aimed at campuses and communities where cultural sensitivity is a must.

Cut to the 2016 election, when "snowflake" emerged as the knee-jerk conservative gibe to shut down political opponents, especially during debates around tolerance.

More recently, some liberals have taken up the snowball fight by calling out the current president for being a thin-skinned, self-perceived victim.

Now seems a good time to melt this trend by saying:

I'm a snowflake. And so are you. Your children are snowflakes. And so are mine. And those who protest the loudest about not being snowflakes? I can see your six-fold ice crystals from here!

Because every person, empirically, is unique. And special. And flawed. And we are all, at times, fragile. Snowflakery is simply being human, which makes it a pretty flakey insult.

Look, a bunch of snowflakes creates a storm -- a white blanket that covers things so you can't get to what's underneath.

So to those on the right and the left, enough with "snowflake." It's not a cool insult.

"You're fragile and melty!" "No, you're fragile and melty!" is really just another way of saying, "I know you are, but what am I?"

It's fitting that an insult largely aimed at youth has made children of those who use it. "Snowflake" reminds us how much we need climate change … in politics. 

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