Saturday, April 26, 2014

Revanchists

"Revanche." A word from the Old French "revancher" which means "to revenge."   In the middle of the Nineteenth Century "Revanchism"  took on a political meaning which had as it's root the desire to regain lost territory.  A "Revanchist" was prone to see territory more in terms of ethnicity, which meant that if for example you had enclaves of French Speaking People in somewhere like Southern Germany, then those parts of Southern Germany inhabited by French Speaking People should rightly belong to France.  And it's nice to read The Lebanon Daily Star, who are not afraid of words like "Revanchist" or "Recidivist" or "Running Dogs."

 "Revanchists," tend toward a kind of devotion to the idea of language as the entity by which the world should be divided.  The implication being that Language is a shared origin, and is therefore a force for social cohesion.  Then if you talk about something like a Universal Language, people get all pissed off, and flag waving, and gun toting, and black helicopters, and "what about Shakespeare" and National Anthem on you.  Better to think of us all as something like Mockingbirds, who are multilingual, and discard any political theorist who might suggest that because we share the same language, we're more likely to get along with each other.

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