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.
- Snowflake, Loser, and Other Political Jabs (Slate)
- "Poor little snowflake" -- the defining insult of 2016 (Guardian)
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."
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.
- How "Snowflake" became America's inescapable tough-guy taunt (New York Times)
- Clinton supporters and snowflakes distraught, country no longer a "safe space" (iheartradio)
- Why Trump supporters love calling people "Snowflakes" (GQ)
More recently, some liberals have taken up the snowball fight by calling out the current president for being a thin-skinned, self-perceived victim.
- Van Jones: Trump is "President Snowflake" (CNN)
- President Snowflake: Trump needs a safe space in Europe (Daily Beast)
- Jennifer Granholm: Trump a "snowflake" for tweet attacking Mika Brzezinski (CNN)
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.
For more info:
- "Approval Junkie: Adventures in Caring Too Much" by Faith Salie (Crown Archtype); Also available in eBook and Digital Audio Download formats
More commentaries from Faith Salie:
- Faith Salie on a life well curated
- Some frank words about profanity
- Confessions of an approval junkie
- On a first-name basis
- Death by selfie
- Donald Trump, "The Ugly American"
- "Whom": The object of affection for the grammar police
- Don't take selfies of your food
- Faith Salie shares her pet peeve on "oversharing"
- Spending your vacation days is good for America
- On speaking with "vocal fry"