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    #1

    Smile Old Traverers/Travel Nazis

    Hello. Would you please explain more about Old Travelers and Travel Nazis?
    I wonder why they called Travel Nazis. (though the writer says they are identified by their dreadlocks, tribal tattoos, and general scruffiness)
    I also want to know what "supernatural ability to bore" means in this context.
    Thank you.


    ----from Le Road Trip by Vivian Swift
    Dharma Bums go by many names. Old Travelers is what Mark Twain called them in his day, those millionaires on the Grand Tour.
    Lately, I've heard them called Travel Nazis-identified by their dreadlocks, tribal tattoos, and general scruffiness.
    In any case, beware the Dharma Bums. They are the self-appointed experts on the Truth of Travel. They have already been everywhere, seen everything,
    become enlightened twice before breakfast, and done it for less money, in half the time, and with more authenticity than you ever could.
    What they have in common, Mark Twain warns, is a "supernatural ability to bore." Us vegabonds have to resist the urge to turn into Dharma Bums, and to never forget the Number One Rule of the Road: Travel never made anyone interesting.
    Last edited by frindle2; 14-May-2016 at 05:53.

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    #2

    Re: Old Traverers/Travel Nazis

    The term Nazi is often used for someone who is a self-appointed expert who wants to tell others how they should behave. These people with the dreadlocks think they know more, have travelled further, and more authentically because they have spent less money doing it. They manage to be superhumanly boring to other people- their ability to bore people seems to be beyond the normal scope of humans. Old travelers have great experience of places and will tell new arrivals things they need to know, whether they want to listen or not.

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    #3

    Re: Old Traverers/Travel Nazis

    I find this usage highly offensive and would discourage anyone from adopting it. Real Nazis murdered millions of innocent people, forced many millions to live in utterly deprived conditions, and destroyed countless treasures of all sorts. Using Nazi to mean "mildly irritating person" is a slap in the face to those whose lives were taken or ruined by real Nazis.
    I am not a teacher.

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    #4

    Re: Old Traverers/Travel Nazis

    I'm afraid that this usage is not uncommon in BrE.

  1. Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: Old Traverers/Travel Nazis

    Also, note that Dharma Bum is an expression coined by American author Jack Kerouc. It means "beatnik":

    http://www.stevenmarx.net/2013/10/be...dharma-bums-2/

    Also note that she isn't saying that she calls them Travel Nazis - just that some people do. The expression doesn't make much sense, since Nazis were the furthest thing imaginable from the scruffy wanderers she's describing.

    However, it's also interesting to note that some of Nazi thinking was developed by young Germans who, before World War I, were part of a "Wandervogel" movement that stressed freedom, adventure, national pride, and - travel. After World War I, it blended with a scouting movement that enjoyed uniforms and group activities. It became a broad youth movement. These were some of the seeds of Naziism. See:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wandervogel

    So in a way, wandering beatniks and marching Nazis have something in common, after all.
    I'm not a teacher. I speak American English. I've tutored writing at the University of Southern Maine and have done a good deal of copy editing and writing, occasionally for publication.

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    #6

    Re: Old Traverers/Travel Nazis

    Godwin's Law helps explain some of the trivialisation of the issue.

  2. Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: Old Traverers/Travel Nazis

    Quote Originally Posted by Tdol View Post
    Godwin's Law helps explain some of the trivialisation of the issue.
    Reductio ad Hitlerium! I love it! Thanks!
    I'm not a teacher. I speak American English. I've tutored writing at the University of Southern Maine and have done a good deal of copy editing and writing, occasionally for publication.

  3. Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: Old Traverers/Travel Nazis

    By the way, Frindle2, "supernatural ability to bore" means they're impossibly boring. Have you looked up "supernatural"?

    Also, did you notice how the made-up word "vegabond" relates to Old Travelers, Travel Nazis, and Dharma Bums?
    Last edited by Charlie Bernstein; 16-May-2016 at 15:51.
    I'm not a teacher. I speak American English. I've tutored writing at the University of Southern Maine and have done a good deal of copy editing and writing, occasionally for publication.

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    #9

    Re: Old Traverers/Travel Nazis

    Quote Originally Posted by Tdol View Post
    I'm afraid that this usage is not uncommon in BrE.
    It's widely used in AmE as well. Probably the most common context I hear is "Grammar Nazi", used for a person who corrects others grammar in online comment sections, or other social networking platforms.

    I always get a chuckle when I see somebody say "Don't be a Grammer (sic) Nazi"
    Wear short sleeves! Support your right to bare arms!

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    #10

    Re: Old Traverers/Travel Nazis

    I frequently see it uncapitalised, which perhaps lessens the impact of the use of the word.

    He's a grammar nazi.
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

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