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Thread: What is great?

  1. #1
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    What is great?

    If you ask Google to define:great it'll give you:

    great

    /grāt/


    Adjective

    Of an extent, amount, or intensity considerably above the normal or average.
    Noun
    A great or distinguished person.
    Adverb

    Excellently; very well.
    Synonyms
    grand - big - large - high
    So, great doesn't necessarily mean "good". Look at Alexander the Great for instance. A warrior and commander par excellence, but he was responsible for an awful lot of destruction, and many widows and orphans would attest to the fact that he was a nasty piece of work.

    Anyway, back to the present (well, the recent past I suppose). A few friends conversing, the subject of Hitler came up, and a friend said "Whatever else you think of the [REDACTED], he did achieve great things."

    Another friend, wide-eyed with horror, says "How can you say that? You know I'm Jewish! Members of my family died in the concentration camps!"

    Friend 1: "Hey, I'm not praising him. I agree he was an evil [REDACTED]. But he still achieved great things. Look at the 1936 Olympics, the architecture, the way he conquered Austria and Czechoslovakia..."

    Friend 2: "You're a [REDACTED] Nazi!"

    Now Friend 2 hates Friend 1, won't speak to her, says she's a Nazi, etc.

    I know Friend 1 was a bit indiscreet in her use of language; but is Friend 2 overreacting? I've told her that "great" means many things, but she doesn't care.
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  2. #2
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    Re: What is great?

    I'd have to know more of the conversation to decide, but I'm not sure why anyone would say 'Whatever else you think of the [REDACTED], he did achieve great things.' unless they were trying to be 'edgy'. It just seems like a very odd thing to say. Saying someone achieved great things is generally a very strong type of praise.
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    Re: What is great?

    I don't think the issue was with your use of the word great. Objectively your point was entirely justifiable, but any mention of the Nazis is bound to get an emotional response. Your friend reacted to that, in a fairly predictable way. You shouldn't be surprised that their reaction wasn't coldly rational.

    Tbh I think an apology would probably smooth things over. I don't think you were trying to be offensive, but it sounds like it was taken as such.

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    Re: What is great?

    Quote Originally Posted by Paqman View Post
    Tbh I think an apology would probably smooth things over. I don't think you were trying to be offensive, but it sounds like it was taken as such.
    I agree. Even though we know what s/he meant, that was a stupid thing to say to a Jew. Friend 1 needs to apologize.
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    Re: What is great?

    Quote Originally Posted by t0p View Post
    If you ask Google to define:great it'll give you:



    So, great doesn't necessarily mean "good". Look at Alexander the Great for instance. A warrior and commander par excellence, but he was responsible for an awful lot of destruction, and many widows and orphans would attest to the fact that he was a nasty piece of work.

    Anyway, back to the present (well, the recent past I suppose). A few friends conversing, the subject of Hitler came up, and a friend said "Whatever else you think of the [REDACTED], he did achieve great things."

    Another friend, wide-eyed with horror, says "How can you say that? You know I'm Jewish! Members of my family died in the concentration camps!"

    Friend 1: "Hey, I'm not praising him. I agree he was an evil [REDACTED]. But he still achieved great things. Look at the 1936 Olympics, the architecture, the way he conquered Austria and Czechoslovakia..."

    Friend 2: "You're a [REDACTED] Nazi!"


    Now Friend 2 hates Friend 1, won't speak to her, says she's a Nazi, etc.

    I know Friend 1 was a bit indiscreet in her use of language; but is Friend 2 overreacting? I've told her that "great" means many things, but she doesn't care.
    Buy them a copy of "Mein Kampf" for their birthday and let them decide for themselves, there is no patch or upgrade for ignorance though, the world is full of sheep who follow others opinions, the "Nazi" one is a good example, my mother is extremely racist, she is against the "Nazis" and thinks every German is one, but then thats because she is ignorant and likes to follows others uninformed opinions and dogma.

    I wonder how many anti "Nazis" use IBM without another thought (incase you dont get the reference then read "IBM and the Holocaust")
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    Re: What is great?

    Quote Originally Posted by haqking View Post
    I wonder how many anti "Nazis" use IBM without another thought (incase you dont get the reference then read "IBM and the Holocaust")
    It's hardly a black and white issue though, is it? Even if you feel you can hold the current generation responsible for the actions of their forebears it's a moral swamp, with few "right" answers. Should one also avoid Ford, who built tanks for both the Nazis and the Allies? For that matter should one support any company that built weapons in the war? Your opinion on these issues depends on a lot of your moral tenets, so there's no one answer that fits everybody.

    I wouldn't be so quick to label others "sheep". For a start, it's a lazy label, I think people often apply it in a pretty blanket manner without showing any appreciation of the nuances of complex issues. Which is a bit ironic really.

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    Re: What is great?

    Quote Originally Posted by Paqman View Post
    It's hardly a black and white issue though, is it? Even if you feel you can hold the current generation responsible for the actions of their forebears it's a moral swamp, with few "right" answers. Should one also avoid Ford, who built tanks for both the Nazis and the Allies? For that matter should one support any company that built weapons in the war? Your opinion on these issues depends on a lot of your moral tenets, so there's no one answer that fits everybody.

    I wouldn't be so quick to label others "sheep". For a start, it's a lazy label, I think people often apply it in a pretty blanket manner without showing any appreciation of the nuances of complex issues. Which is a bit ironic really.
    I never said it was black and white (though Nazism is, it was an aryan thing I personally dont care either way. I am neither for or against, I am just informed.
    Last edited by haqking; May 6th, 2013 at 02:29 PM.
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    Re: What is great?

    Quote Originally Posted by Paqman View Post
    I don't think the issue was with your use of the word great. Objectively your point was entirely justifiable, but any mention of the Nazis is bound to get an emotional response. Your friend reacted to that, in a fairly predictable way. You shouldn't be surprised that their reaction wasn't coldly rational.

    Tbh I think an apology would probably smooth things over. I don't think you were trying to be offensive, but it sounds like it was taken as such.
    First, a quick correction: "friend 1" is not a pseudonym for "me". I think Friend 1 was stupid to say what she said. I have told her she should apologise, but she adamantly refuses to. She says that she's explained her use of the word "great", no one who knows her would think she's racist or nazi in any way, and as far as she is concerned Friend 2 is ignorant and she is the one who should apologise.

    As for the mention of Nazis: we were all talking about war and war fighting tactics and Hitler's ridiculous two-front strategy. WW2 is a vast subject, and so surprising at times. During that same conversation we talked about how the Soviet v Japan and China v Japan are rarely discussed. Mention of Hitler and Nazis can't be avoided in such a conversation, can it?

    Personally, I think Friend 1 was stupid to call any of Hitler's achievements "great", but Friend 2 is stupid too, for feeling offended even after Friend 1 explained what she meant. But I try to keep out of it. I'm just interested in what other folk think.

    Also, Alexander the Great massacred the populations of whole cities, women and children included. His achievements were done solely for pride, I think. But he is still called "great". Where's the real difference between him and Hitler, other than the amount of time elapsed and the more industrial way Hitler carried out his plans.
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  9. #9
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    Re: What is great?

    There's no-one alive today whose parents or grandparents were killed by Alexander the Great.
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    Re: What is great?

    Quote Originally Posted by haqking View Post
    I wonder how many anti "Nazis" use IBM without another thought (incase you dont get the reference then read "IBM and the Holocaust")
    How many average people still use IBM? I guess I do, since I have an Xbox 360 and a Wii U, which are both PowerPC based.

    Anyway, trying to defend Nazis is probably something that won't last very long in this forum.
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