Jill Soloway won an Emmy award Sunday night for her role as executive producer of the Amazon show “Transparent” (which is about a transgender parent). While receiving the award, she decided to bash Donald Trump, comparing him to Adolf Hitler.
“So Jews were otherized in Nazi Germany to gain power for Hitler and now Donald Trump is doing the same thing,” Soloway declared. She laid out her main points quickly:
He’s otherizing people. He calls women pigs if they don’t look like beauty pageant contestants, he blames Muslims and Mexicans for our problems. He makes fun of disabled people. This is otherizing with a capital “O.” It’s been used in our history before to start and win wars, and he needs to be called out at every chance he gets for being one of the most dangerous monsters to ever approach our lifetimes.
Soloway doubled down on the Hitler comparison, declaring, “He’s a complete dangerous monster, and any moment that I have to call Trump out for being an inheritor to Hitler I will.”
I’m no fan of Donald Trump, but he’s no Hitler. This comparison is strained, and could just as easily apply to some liberal activists. Here’s the formula: “Hitler otherized a religious group, Jews. LGBT activists otherize religious groups which disagree with their goals, calling them ‘bigots’ and ‘homophobes.’ Therefore LGBT activists are inheritors to Hitler.”
Both of these comparisons would be false and would also be an insult to Holocaust victims.
Soloway’s argument hinges on the word “otherize,” which linguist Ben Zimmer explained on NPR in March.
OK, well, people are familiar with the word other, but turning that into a verb may seem a bit unusual … So the idea of treating someone as outside of a particular dominant social group or social norm is generally what is meant when you turn other into a verb.
Well, turning other into a verb does have a long history. Actually, it goes all the way back to the German philosopher Hegel, who wrote in the early 19th century about consciousness of the self verses the other. And by the early 20th century in English writing, you see the other being turned into a verb to describe the act of making a person or a group be excluded from a particular norm.
One of the virtues of this word is that it can be used like “demonize.” When Soloway accuses Trump of “otherizing” people, she means that he is mistreating people and alienating them from what he sees as the right norms of society. (People on the Left do this all the time, but you don’t see them being compared to Hitler.)
The connection lies in the fact that Hitler demonized the Jews, blaming them for the problems of Germany, and using that argument to create the Holocaust (which remained hidden from most Germans for a very long time). The Trump remarks which Soloway cites as evidence of this trend in the Republican nominee do not even approach this level of vitriol.
When it comes to “calling women pigs” and making “fun of disabled people,” these are one-off remarks in specific situations — they do not illustrate a long-term hatred of a social group on Trump’s part. On the issue of “Muslims and Mexicans,” even the Republican nominee has been clear that he is only referring to radical Muslims (one of whom was just killed after setting off bombs in New York and New Jersey), and to some of the more violent illegal immigrants.
Trump’s rhetoric has been nasty at times. It has been simplistic. It has also been rather ridiculous. But the man is certainly no Hitler, and he has brought up legitimate concerns about safety from violent illegal immigrants and from radical Islamic terrorists. Hitler falsely blamed one act of terrorism on the Jews. Radical Islamic terror, by contrast, has inspired hundreds of attacks around the globe. Americans concerned about security should welcome the “otherization” of mass murderers.
Next Page: The Twitter reaction to Soloway’s comments.
Naturally, Soloway’s comparing Trump to Hitler went viral online, making a splash on Twitter, where it sent “Trump to Hitler” trending.
Some users vehemently agreed with her remarks.
Racist Campaign CEO👍
Repeats Lies until they sound true👍
Compare Trump to Hitler? 👍
— Steve Redmond (@sjredmond) September 19, 2016
And this is just absurd, but also very hilarious.
But many more mocked her comparison as “silly” or worse.
— Space 🚀 Force (@Bud_Doggin) September 19, 2016
One Twitter user seems to have read Jonah Goldberg’s Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left, from Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning.
Some Hollywood no name compared Trump to Hitler, she needs to study history, @HillaryClinton ideas are closer to Hitler @jillsoloway
— Obama Did Screw Us (@obamascrewingus) September 19, 2016
Check out the video of Soloway on the next page.
Here is the video of Soloway’s full remarks.