>To each his own

>


Suum cuique.

To ta auton prattein kai me polypragmonein dikaiosyne (Plato wasn’t particularly succinct…)

Chacun à son goût.

Jedem das seine.


From all this, you can gather that the saying’s been around for about 2500 years.


And quite a useful saying it is, too.


Unless, of course, you’re a German advertising agency.


Nokia’s ad people used it back in 1998 and got thoroughly bollocked.

Rewe, a supermarket chain, shortly afterwards.



And Esso and Tchibo, a coffee retailer, are currently on the spot, a fate of being hung, drawn and quartered surely just around the corner.


Here’s why:

This is the gate to the Buchenwald concentration camp.

And this is why – if you listen to one segment of the global community – you can’t use the phrase.


I don’t quite see it like that.

This is guilt by association. 

The abuse of a phrase, an object, a concept by an evil regime can’t exclude its future valid use. The corollary in fact applies: a colloquial and established phrase that’s remote from its abused purpose is immune to abuse. 

The fact that this phrase is culturally embedded in most modern languages lends it a high degree of legitimacy.



On the other hand (and there’s always another hand…) just what WERE those advertising people thinking….?

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1 Response to >To each his own

  1. >This applies to symbols as well as words. The swastike was a respected Buddhist symbol for a couple of millennia before one A. Hitler perverted it to his own evil ends. Should Buddhists no longer be allowed to use it? If so, anyone who’s travelled in Asia knows that they haven’t got the message yet.

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