Over the last several months, the word “snowflake” has been adopted as apparently the ugliest insult right-wingers can think of to hurl at those on the left. As Dana Schwartz wrote in GQ last month, “There is not a single political point a liberal can make on the Internet for which ‘You triggered, snowflake?’ cannot be the comeback.”
In the movie Fight Club, members are told they are not beautiful or unique snowflakes. These days, the word is used to insult anyone with dares to disagree with a Trump groupie. Earlier today, a woman on Instagram, who claims to be a doctor, became the latest person to call me a snowflake. The discussion was about whether healthcare is a right. The woman opined that healthcare absolutely is not a right; if you can’t pay, you don’t get it. She went on to say she became a doctor because she wanted to make lots of money, not to treat people who can’t pay her. I was called a snowflake because I responded that I was glad she’s not my doctor and I feel sorry for her patients.
After giving it some thought, I have decided to embrace the word. Much like Trump groupies embraced Hillary Clinton‘s “deplorables’ label, I don’t find it insulting to be called a snowflake. Here’s why.
In Fight Club, members are told “You are the same decaying organic matter as everything else.” That’s true. But that’s not the opposite of being a snowflake. Indeed, it’s actually the definition of a snowflake.
A snowflake is unique and delicate. Just like a snowflake, I have neither the ability nor the desire to conform and become just like the snowflake next to me. And yes, I am delicate, as are we all. When the conditions for survival are gone, so is a snowflake. And that’s essentially what the line from Fight Club means.
But here’s the thing. As a single snowflake, I am not of much consequence. I may get noticed, but I’m quickly forgotten. But in large numbers, we snowflakes can have a profound effect on the world. In large numbers, snowflakes can bring business as usual to a screeching halt. Even your best laid plans mean nothing if enough snowflakes get together to block your path.
Alone, the effect of us snowflakes on the world is minimal. But in large numbers, we can cause massive disruption. A snowflake may be a benign and inconsequential thing. But millions of snowflakes together can become an avalanche. Or an iceberg.