blitzing you with a linguistic quandary

Note how the German invasion plan incorporated a surprise thrust into the Ardennes . . .

The National Evil promises this isn’t Nazi week, but . . .

Every day, as Evil drives to work, he passes the Blitz Lube. But this a.m., for whatever reason, Evil noticed—really noticed—the name of this oil change establishment. Was it because of sleep deprivation? A sudden streak of morbidity? Lunar cycles? Sunspot activity? We may never know why. Or care. All that matters is that the Blitz Lube exists and, somehow, has wormed its way into the Evil’s consciousness.

The first thing that crossed the Evil’s mind was: “Why haven’t we replaced ‘quickie’ with ‘blitz lube?’”

There are enough of us, between the Evil and you FOEs, to spread the word. Where once you’d murmur in that special someone’s ear, “Wanna slip into the guest room for a quickie?” you shall now murmur, “How ‘bout a blitz lube before Thanksgiving dinner?”

Done and done. Make it so.

Now to the second thing that crossed Evil’s mind: something is odd about the way Western culture giddily festoons all kinds of products, locations, and activities with that word. Blitz.

We use plenty of words associated with the Nazi era, and none of the others have ever wormed their way out of the gutter into the sunlight of everyday usage, free from the weight of historical atrocity. Fascist, goose-stepping, stormtroopers, gestapo . . . you don’t hear any of these uttered with positive connotations. Yet somehow a blitz is one of the most exciting plays in football. Or the name of a Beanie Baby. Or (Evil’s favorite) “a fictional anthropomorphic doberman from the action/comedy cartoon Road Rovers.” (Danke schoen, Wikipedia.)

. . . But you would never hear Raid extolling their “final solution” for the roaches infesting your kitchen. And well you shouldn’t!

The question, then: how did the lightning-fast strikes of the Nazi mobilized cavalry and dive bombers, which heralded the arrival of secret police, hideous human experimentation, and ethnic cleansing, become such a benign term? And when? Who was the first daring soul who cast about, trying to name his, say, menswear store, and hit on “Blitz Tailoring—Fastest Fittings in Town”? The football “blitz” has borne that name at least since the Evil has been alive, so we’re talking the mid-70s at the latest—barely 30 years after the last real blitz.

. . . And people say we’re so much more jaded than generations past. Pfff.

If anyone can answer this question, justify this bit of linguistic amnesia, let the Evil know. In the meantime . . .

Enjoy the weekend. If possible, treat yourself to a blitz lube on the house.


4 thoughts on “blitzing you with a linguistic quandary”

  1. Blitz really has nothing to do with the Nazis. It’s short for blitzen, which means lightening. Blitzkrieg certainly does have Nazi connotations, and the “lightening war” was a revolutionary combat tactic. Blitz is just another German word, no more evil than “autobahn” or “bratwurst”. I actually prefer blitz over jiffy or kwik.

  2. Damn you, Evil! Generalisimo Francisco Franco is STILL a stiff around this house, and now you’re getting all suggestive about Nazis and lube-jobs!

    You know, I’m as adventurous as the next guy, but the next time you want to link the ideas of flamboyant dictators and sex, pick Fidel or Pinochet or somebody like that, where I have a fair shot at coming out on top of things.

  3. true . . . “kwik” is an abomination. jiffy reminds the evil of jiff, the peanut butter imposter. peter pan is the only true pb.

    however, “blitz” didn’t gain currency in the non-german speaking world UNTIL the blitzkrieg, so evil believes his point still stands.

  4. ha ha! any time the evil can muddle the mind vis a vis flamboyant dictators and sex, that day can be counted a victory.

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