This morning I was called a fascist twice while I was still in my pajamas—once time before I even had had my first cup of coffee. I don’t know about you, but personally I think it is physically impossible to be a fascist before your first cup of coffee. I mean, even Mussolini wasn’t a fascist before his first espresso—he was just grumpy, like the rest of us. Anyway, after being called a fascist for the second time (act of fascism number two: asking Clementine to hang up her towel), I decided to call her out on it: did she really know what that word meant, or, like Orwell once said, was she just using it as a synonym for “bully?”
As it turns out, she did know what that word meant (thanks for nothing, stupid schools). And so then my next question for her was whether or not the fact that I insisted on the towels being placed neatly back on the rack after use qualified me as a fascist, or if rather I was really just a “control freak” (her second choice epithet). She said it did; I insisted it didn’t. Being civilized human beings (albeit ones with way too much time on our hands), we decided to let wikipedia settle it. Here’s what we found.
It turns out that one of the basic tenets of fascism is Social Interventionism—the willingness to influence Society in order to promote the state’s interests. Since I, as the State, have a vested financial interest in not scooping up wet, mildewy towels off of the bathroom floor every morning, and am willing to intervene in other people’s socializing in order to accomplish this (“Get off Facebook right now and come out her and pick up your towel”), this would seem to support Clementine’s argument. Score so far? Clementine 1, Mom 0.
Next comes Authoritarianism, the idea that outside of the State no human or spiritual values can exist. Clementine points out that, in the course of my argument, I did tell her that it doesn’t matter how they hang up at their towels at other people’s houses—this is how we’re going to do it here. So okay: Clementine 2, Mom 0.
Then it’s on to Nationalism—the notion that the state is a single organic entity bound together by ancestry. Uh-oh. I guess I did follow up the above statement with, “And besides, you don’t belong to that family—you belong to this one.” Sigh. Clementine 3, Mom 0.
But what about Imperialism, the drive by the State to expand its borders? I’ve never done that. Except, of course, for the fact that we did add another bathroom on to our house a few years back, thereby doubling the number of towels racks—and towels. Damn. Clementine 4, Mom 0.
Next comes Indoctrination, the idea that school is simply a tool to train children in the values of the State. Surely I can’t be accused of—what? Okay, so one time I said, “My God, I thought you were studying geometry—I can’t believe you don’t even know how to fold a towel.” Really? That’s all it takes? Alright, alright: Clementine 5, Mom 0.
The final tenet we come to is Social Darwinism, the belief that the State must purge itself of all undesirables. Well, I guess I did threaten to make her go live with her father. But come on—she knew that was an empty threat: her father and I are still married to (and live in the same house with) each other. Really? Okay. Fine.
So there it is: in the “Is My Mom a Fascist?” argument, it looks like it’s Clementine 6, Mom 0.
I guess from now on you can just call me Il Duce. As long as you pick your towel up from off of the floor, that is.