Monday, December 26, 2011

Old school paleo-

The American Dialect Society list (ads-l) has had a little traffic lately about the names that Ron Paul's followers have given themselves or that they've been given by others, including these:
Paulbots, Paulinists, Paulites, Paultards, Ron-Paulians, Paul[l]ination, Paulunteers
I've been wondering for a while about another terms associated with him, curiosity that was spurred by this morning's front page NYT piece about his unwillingness to distance himself from support from the extreme right. The article, by Jim Rutenberg and Serge Kovaleski, talks a fair bit about paleoconservatives and paleolibertarians. The contrast to neo-conservatives or neo-cons (and neo-liberals too, I guess) is clear and we have paleo- in lots of neutral, scientific contexts. Beyond that, it's pretty negative, it seems like. Looking around on Urban Dictionary, the uses of paleo- look mostly negative, like references to tech/IT, such as paleoadmin, defined there as:
An IT professional who has been running the same outdated systems for longer than you've been alive and who refuses to adopt more functional equipment and methods out of fear of having to do new things. Typically prefers equipment & software with the maximum amount of overhead so he can always look busy.
People probably aren't running out to label themselves that way. And I won't even try to talk about the paleo-diet thing.

The Wikipedia entry for paleoconservative describes the term as "somewhat tongue-in-cheek", but it sounds far worse than that to my ear. Sounds a little close to calling yourself a Neanderthal, but given their political views, Neanderthals should be gravely offended.


Q. Pheevr said...

Hmm. How about "Paultroons"?

Mr. Verb said...

Nice, very nice.