Home / General / Snowflakes




This is great:

It’s not the first time snowflake has veered from the natural world to the world of slang. In the 1970s snowflake was a disparaging term for a white man or for a black man who was seen as acting white. It was also used as a slang term for cocaine. But before either of those it was used for a time with a very particular political meaning.

In Missouri in the early 1860s, a “Snowflake” was a person who was opposed to the abolition of slavery—the implication of the name being that such people valued white people over black people. The Snowflakes hoped slavery would survive the country’s civil war, and were contrasted with two other groups. The Claybanks (whose name came from the colorless color of the local terrestrial clay) wanted a gradual transition out of slavery for slaves, with eventual freedom accompanied by compensation to slave owners; the Charcoals—who were also called Brown Radicals—wanted immediate emancipation and for black people to be able to enlist in the armed forces.

The available evidence suggests that this particular use of snowflake never moved much beyond the borders of Missouri or the era.

We should start calling Trump supporters snowflakes as a pejorative. Of course they will embrace it for themselves.

Also interesting that it was Fight Club that brought the word back in its modern negative context.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google+
  • Linkedin
  • Pinterest
  • DiTurno

    I’ve been referring to Trump as President Snowflake since the inauguration. I’ve never seen a bigger candyass in my life.

    • I think I will take to referring to him this way myself, except I will amend it to President-Asterisk Snowflake, because he hasn’t actually won an election.

      • njorl

        A snowflake is just an elaborate asterisk made of frozen water.

      • searcher

        See, I think getting to pithy is a mistake. Being verbose lets you sound more sophisticated while getting in more dogs. You could say, “President Snowflake banned Muslim immigration.” but it’s more fun to say, “President Trump, the aging racist who became president in an election rife with foreign and illegal domestic interference despite losing the popular vote by three million, issued an illegal executive order directing border control to unconstitutionally bar legal residents from seven countries from reentering the country.”

        • I can’t argue with any of this except that he deserves neither the respect of the office nor the respect of being called by his actual name. That’s the only part of your sentence I’d amend, though.

          • searcher

            I don’t know, I like the idea of his name becoming so synonymous with his abhorrent views and actions that his name becomes as shameful as Hitler, and his children, grandchildren, and unrelated people sharing the name change it to escape the disgust.

    • medrawt

      That people have bought the idea that he’s a hardass drives me more unreasonably crazy than the people who thought GWBush was Jes’ Folks. He can’t bear criticism and he’d shit his pants if someone clapped loudly behind him.

    • Brownian
      • Origami Isopod

        Good thing the administration doesn’t care about hippie crap like how many forests will have to die for this!

    • Anonymous Troll

      In an effort to demonstrate their inclusiveness the administration has released the Easter proclamation early. It celebrates “all the victims of Roman oppression”

      A senior official, speaking on background, said they didn’t want to single out any particular victim, explaining “no special snowflakes, and we certainly don’t want to single out one victim because of who he says his father is”

      • Vercingetorix

        It’s about damn time.

    • Dr. Ronnie James, DO

      So true – once you realize ~90% of his communication boils down to pouting, you can’t unsee it. I was callbg him “Vladimir Poutin'” for awhile.

    • e.a.foster

      speaking of Turnip Truck Trump’s ass, its huge. When ever he sits down on those straight back chairs, he looks very over weight. Now I’m not into body shaming being over weight myself, but given how Turnip Truck Trump criticises every one and has made such ugly remarks about women, I think we’re good to go here. When you see him walking around in his suits its almost as if he were wearing diapers under those pants of his.

  • How about we not beat around the bush and just call them what they are: miserable assholes.

  • Nobdy

    What if the right wingers counter with their leader’s brilliant witty line “No snowflake, no snowflake, you’re the snowflake!”

    Check and mate.

    That guy is president now…

    Anyway the current use of snowflake is to denigrate people for being sensitive or thinking of themselves as special so I am against its use. I do not think we will bring back civil war slang successfully.

    • Really, though, is there anyone who thinks of themselves as more special than Trump voters do? I think this usage fits as well.

      • Nobdy

        I just don’t generally want to disparage sensitivity or uniqueness. I feel like the characteristics “snowflake” mocks are actually virtues in many cases!

        • I agree, but at the same time, I also suspect that using it against Trump voters would piss many of them off, and I would find that hilarious. So I can see valid arguments both in favour of and against its usage in such cases.

          • rm

            It does seem to highlight the fact that they are projecting.

            But it irks me too, so that I come down on the side of, no, let’s let this usage die.

            “Snowflake” goes right along with using “triggered” in a cruel, sarcastic way to make fun of anyone who stands up for themselves. It is contempt for (normal human) weakness, which is one of the prime personality traits of a fascist.

            • rm

              And then the rest of the thread changes my mind. Context is everything — kairos, right place, right time.

            • DrDick

              It is always projection with conservatives. Always.

        • Karen24

          I say we embrace the snowflake! (And have done two other times on this same thread) It’s a good thing to be sensitive and special. Marmalade Mussolini is not a snowflake: he’s a wet paper towel, or an empty eggshell, or some other ugly yet fragile thing.

          • Yeah, now that you bring it up, “wet paper towel” is a better description of Cheeto Caligula and his followers.

            • Dennis Orphen

              Benito Cheeto Bandito (BCB).

            • Karen24

              I thought about “used toilet paper,” but, while the initials “TP” work really well here, toilet paper is also one of life’s essentials and therefore not something I want to associate with Trump. “Wet paper towel” combines connotations of uselessness, nastiness, and weakness like no other object.

              • DrDick

                Indeed. Toilet paper serves a necessary and useful purpose. Trump and his supporters do not.

          • Marmalade mussolini is good, very good.

            • Karen24

              Thank you!

          • psychomath

            I agree. I hate that so many people I otherwise respect have fallen for this derogatory “snowflake” thing. We are each unique and valuable. That doesn’t mean that each of us should flout society and the other people in our lives, but it does mean that every person deserves respect and a chance to grow. I try to treat every person as a snowflake, though I am far from perfect on this either.

            Tyler Durden was the villain, damnit! He took advantage of the alienation of “boys raised by women” to create a revolutionary force that was purely destructive. Though, I admit a certain sympathy to the idea of simultaneously demolishing all the credit card companies and banks in a way that causes no physical injury. When I saw the movie originally, I saw a leftist fantasy, and found it odd that so many social-regressives also liked it. Then I read the book, and understood.

      • Caepan

        Well, Trump himself certainly does.

  • Murc

    In the 1970s snowflake was a disparaging term for a white man or for a black man who was seen as acting white.

    I actually didn’t know this. The pejorative I’ve always seen for the latter is “oreo” for black people and either “coconut” or “banana” for Asian folks. (Some of whom have re-appropriated the term for themselves in an ironic or semi-ironic way.)

    • rm

      I remember “marshmallow” for white people, but not “snowflake.” And who can forget the classic ’70s epithet, “honky.”

  • DrDick

    The Trumpsters would seem to fit both that meaning and the modern one. Aren’t they special?

  • Owlbear1

    You self-absorbed ignorant shit stain” has proven effective without needing a follow up history lesson. ;)

  • Karen24

    I think we should embrace the snowflake symbolism! We care about climate change, which will deprive the entire world of the beauty of snowflakes. Also, we can use the “Snowflakes killed the Nazis” and “a million snowflakes is an avalanche!” Snowflakes are beautiful; why in the world would we concede them to the Trumpenproles?

  • LeeEsq

    How many slave states received snow on a regular basis?

    • Murc

      Kentucky, Missouri, Virginia, Maryland, Arkansas… that’s off the top of my head.

      • rm

        Massachussets, Part Of Massachussetts (aka Maine), Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Vermont, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland.

        — Oh, you meant in 1860. Sorry.

  • Origami Isopod
    • Karen24

      We should embrace the Snowflake! It would make every bit as good a symbol as the pink cat-eared cap, which I also endorse. Use everything they throw at us as our symbols!

    • Matt Heath

      Love it.

  • Harkov311

    The funny thing is that, to me, Trump supporters seem to be the ultimate snowflakes, in the Fight Club sense. They think their culture and ideas (such as they are) are special, and need special protection from those big, mean liberal cities.

    • Dennis Orphen

      I would agree with your statement in it’s entirety except for the use of the word think. Feel or believe, sure. But thinking? Never. Once you start thinking, you’re over on our side.

  • ZakMcKrackenAndTheAlienMindbenders

    I’ve always thought of Fight Club as a classic in the “panicked white man-child jerkoff” genre–kind of like Falling Down’s drunker, zanier cousin who seems kind of cool at first because he has a few good zingers but who gets tiresome fast.

    • janitor_of_lunacy

      I saw Fight Club, for the first time, after just having read Susan Faludi’s “Stiffed”, so I have a different take on it.

      • Yes! What a great pairing!

      • econoclast

        Fight Club is like “Stiffed: The Movie”.

      • ZakMcKrackenAndTheAlienMindbenders

        I’m out of my element since I haven’t read Faludi, but I am very curious. Are you willing to nutshell your take for me?

    • Murc

      I love Fight Club but find that I loathe most other people who love Fight Club. That either says something bad about me or about them, maybe both.

      • I blame society.

      • I follow Chuck Palahniuk(or, more likely, his publicist) on facebook, and I believe they once said that Fight Club was satire without a laugh track.

        • georgekaplan

          When does satire ever have a laugh track?

      • econoclast

        Fight Club is one of the all-time great movies. It suffers from the same problem as Apocalypse Now, that it’s so stylish that it appeals to the targets of its criticism. Robert Duvall’s character is clearly supposed to be a lunatic, and his “smells like victory” speech is supposed to illustrate how out of touch he is, but I swear to God I’ve met a zillion people who think he’s just the coolest.

        • ZakMcKrackenAndTheAlienMindbenders

          I’ve always thought that, like American Psycho, the source material did a brilliant job of simultaneously seducing and skewering the objects of the satire. I thought both movies tended to romanticize and glamorize the books’ targets for mass consumption and were only really effective with people who were familiar with the source material. Which struck me as crafty, in the sense that the films sort of got to have it both ways.

      • nixnutz

        Fight Club is a real shibboleth for me, I think I can say that 100% of my friends hated it and I have a strong distrust of anybody who doesn’t. The quirky romcom that the first 15 minutes hinted at might have been great though, I do love Helena Bonham Carter.

        I get that you’re not supposed to buy into Brad Pitt’s shitty philosophy but I didn’t see anything on the positive side of the ledger, other than those first few scenes anyway.

        • psychomath

          Well, since I already confessed to liking the movie, I guess I’ll offer an explanation. It appeals to the alienated. Those people who don’t much fit in with society. I saw it at the time as a leftist rebellion against the consumerist society that lets the majority suffer, but now I see the other, perhaps more obvious way, it can be read. I still think it is a fantastic piece of film-making, and I think it is better and deeper than the book, but there is, at least, an ambiguity to it that allows the worst people to see it as a clarion call.

          I know there it is annoying to many to suggest that some form of empathy should be offered to the angry white males. Really, I do understand it. I understand that these people have had it less bad than others. But, if we want a functioning society, it still has to be dealt with.

          I’m white, male, het, and cis-gendered, and I am alienated from our society. Not because of the rights other people rightfully claim, but because I’m against torture, I’m for unions, and I’m for social and economic equality for all humans, not just Americans. As much as things have improved over the years, I still feel foreign.

          Fight Club was the demonstration of a rebellion against the status quo, and I found it attractive. Now I can see the flaws, and know I was responding simplistically thanks to my, particularly male, privilege, but it seems to me there is an opening here. I think that the status quo doesn’t even really appeal to those with privilege. Everyone but the wealthy and connected is being screwed, some more than others for sure, but we all feel it.

    • georgekaplan

      I’ve decided that “Fight Club” is really the story of a guy who has a breakdown because he can’t handle the fact that he’s attracted to a transwoman–Marla, who in my headcanon is at the testicular cancer survivor group because she did, in fact, once have testicles. No, it doesn’t fit everything in the movie, but it’s a lot more interesting than what we got.

  • ice9

    It’s used several times in Glory by the hard-edged guy to disparage the soft white-acting guy. Not sure if that’s relevant.


  • Its used all the time on the women’s board I frequent–and lots of them are christianists, flyover country, rural, gun owning, ex military types (a discussion of family matters recently veered off into the kinds of guns they all own for self defense and, I shit you not, one woman put up a picture of her gun which has the bible verse “yea, though I walk through the valley…” embossed on the pistol grip.). Its use generally means liberal types who think they are so special (i.e. unique) although there’s an implication that they also melt under heat, I suppose.

    • Shalimar

      That is the same usage I see all the time among right-wingers on non-political forums I visit. Even when the subject is baseball, the assholes still rage about liberals in every other post.

    • econoclast

      As they say, with conservatives it’s always projection. They are the biggest, whiniest babies in the world today.

      • Lost Left Coaster

        My god they cannot stand up to a gentle breeze. They are so fragile.

  • e.a.foster

    Living in Canada wasn’t familiar with the term Snowflake in this context. I think of Turnip Truck Trump as brown, as like shit and full of it.

It is main inner container footer text