Talk:Little Eichmanns

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Not True[edit]

In Neil Postman's speech titled "Bullshit and the Art of Crap Detection" he uses the metaphor Eichmannism. While he does not state "little Eichmanns" he writes "mini-Eichmann". [1]

I think this page needs to be changed. 24.5.240.15 (talk) 21:08, 6 July 2008 (UTC)

Older uses[edit]

The article "THE CHOKING WHITE COLLAR", NYT, 15 March 1981 use the phrase "little Eichmann":

"Obviously, if they can make an employee -especially a manager bent on rising on the fictive pyramid (actually penetrating to the core of the onion) - totally identify his self-interest with that of the company he will not be alienated, he will be happy in his work, loyal and unquestioning, a regular little Eichmann." Zerotalk 20:50, 15 August 2009 (UTC)

Actually there are many older uses. Go to books.google.com advanced search and look for the exact phrase "little eichmanns" before 1995. Example:

Matters of justice‎ - Page 22 by Michael W. Jackson - Law - 1986 - 181 pages
"We have become 'little Eichmanns' because we have lost faith in universal rules or morality derived from custom and mores, from tradition, nature, God, ..."

Also the singular form "little eichmann" shows more examples. Zerotalk 21:02, 15 August 2009 (UTC)

The examples indicate that it was quite an established phrase well before Zerzan used it. Zerotalk 21:02, 15 August 2009 (UTC)

What if we rewrite this article to cite all usages (possible) of the metaphor, remove the claim that it is based on Zerzan's usage, and hyperlink to all users where possible? Tenna talk 07:01, 16 August 2009 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by 67.176.81.220 (talk)
I think that would count as original research, which is against the rules. Zerotalk 00:43, 23 August 2009 (UTC)
The article is not saying it is based on Zerzan, altough I personally believe it is since Ward reads Zerzan. Nevertheless, we would need sources to make such a statement. Maziotis (talk) 01:21, 20 November 2009 (UTC)
The way the article is structured, it appears to suggest Zerzan coined the phrase (or, at least, was the first to use it widely). It is odd that the only use of it cited is his, from 1995. Robert Anton Wilson uses it in a book published c.1973-75; his use of it stems from the Stanford prison experiment of 1971. If i find the earlier quote, Zerzan's is gone; it's use seems dubious. ([[Kirkesque (talk) 19:00, 16 April 2013 (UTC)]])

Secondary sources[edit]

About last change, we just need to find secondary sources. I added the tag, refimprove at the top. Just a quick google books search gives an impressive list of results. The expression is notable and it has a history: http://books.google.com/books?hl=pt-PT&q=%22Little+Eichmanns%22 Maziotis (talk) 01:19, 20 November 2009 (UTC)

However, most of the text you reintroduced is wrong. The phrase was certainly not coined by Zerzan, as proved above, and the rest comes from a source making that false claim. No article is better than a false and misleading article. Zerotalk 02:17, 20 November 2009 (UTC)
I looked through the first three pages of those google books results and all but one of the results (an Anne Sexton book) was about Ward Churchill. The phrase itself probably isn't notable. There aren't any secondary sources about the phrase itself, only about Ward Churchill's use of it, so it makes more sense to just talk about it in Ward Churchill September 11 attacks essay controversy. All this article says is that Churchill used this phrase, he got it from Zerzan, people objected to it, and the "Eichmann" motif ultimately comes from Hannah Arendt. Ward Churchill September 11 attacks essay controversy says all those things too, so what's the point of this article?Prezbo (talk) 04:14, 20 November 2009 (UTC)
Try this search: [2]. Zerotalk 07:12, 20 November 2009 (UTC)

The expression is obviously related to the article you mentioned, but there is nothing wrong in writting an article only about the story of a famous saying. Since there has been so much controversy about the expression itself, I believe there is cause for notability. I think that it is only a question of looking for sources. We should write in detail, not only the history of its use, but the explanations that have been given for its concept.

Zero: I have to remind you that Wikipedia is verifiability, not truth. It's not our job to separate the "liar" sources from the ones who tell the truth. If the source itself is considered notable, the statement can be atributed. Anyway, I don't see how the article says that Churchill got it from Zerzan. We have a source claiming that the first recorded use of the sentence is by Zerzan, and the description of the rise to prominence by the use of Churchill. If you have a source that contradicts the first premise, you can change the article accordingly. This doesn't mean that we have the right to synthesize sources or, again, choose the true from the false. We have to include what is stated with the sources we have. Maziotis (talk) 13:01, 20 November 2009 (UTC)

PS: Given Wards's involvement with primitivism and authors such as Derrick Jensen and Chellis Glendinning (US off the planet), exactly what makes you think that Ward didn't get the expression by reading Zerzan's article? Maziotis (talk) 13:02, 20 November 2009 (UTC)

Regarding the issue of who came up with the phrase, I think that we can solve this by making a distinction in the article between the "coining" of this use of term and previous records of its use. It doesn't really matter if we contradict the source or not in this regard. If after the link between Zerzan and Churchill is established we add "however the use of the term has been used before, as in....", as long as it's sourced, we are breaking any rules in terms of use of reliable sources. It is in fact relevant to trace the popular prominence of an expression and finding its first recorded use. Maziotis (talk) 15:24, 20 November 2009 (UTC)

It is perfectly possible that Ward Churchill copied the phrase from Zerzan. I don't find it an interesting question. However, Zerzan did not "coin" the phrase and we shouldn't say he did. Wikipedia:Verifiability is not an excuse for repeating claims that are proved false by multiple sources that are just as reliable as the source making the erroneous claim. (In fact the chronology of the earlier sources clearly indicates Ward Churchill is an unreliable source on this point.) Zerzan and Churchill belong in this article as modern examples of the use of an older phrase. However, we do not have any source that charts the course of the phrase throughout history and could only construct an accurate article by putting bits and pieces from multiple sources. It seems to me this would be a violation of WP:SYNTH. The conclusion is that we can't have this article until a reliable source for it is found. Meanwhile, the subject can appear in articles specifically on Churchill and/or Zerzan. Zerotalk 08:33, 22 November 2009 (UTC)

Hang on. Who claims that Zerzan coined the phrase? It is not in the source given, nor is it in Churchill's book as far as I can see. It says in the latter (p33) only that the phrase was "borrowed from John Zerzan's 'He Means It. Do You?'" - nothing about where Zerzan got it. Zerotalk 08:43, 22 November 2009 (UTC)

Who determines that a certain source is false? The policy,Wikipedia:Verifiability, does mean that you cannot engage in original research or WP:SYNTH. The fact that someone claims a certain premise to be true can be a relevant fact in itself, and we should not exclude it with basis on other sources, for the sake of seeking to conclude "the truth". This doesn't mean that we will be forced to express false conclusions through the voice of the article. But our job is indeed to just reflect what notable sources are saying. In this particular case, what exactly do you mean by Churchill being an unreliable source? Maziotis (talk) 15:55, 23 November 2009 (UTC)

I withdraw the question about Churchill's reliability, since it was only based on the claim incorrectly cited to him in the article. Did Churchill ever claim that Zerzan invented the phrase? Where? If not, there is no source at all for it and a lot of this discussion becomes unnecessary. Zerotalk 22:44, 23 November 2009 (UTC)

So, I still think there shouldn't be an article about this. The only controversy there has been about this expression is in relation to Ward Churchill. There aren't any sources treating it in depth. Its history can be treated in the Ward Churchill controversy article--just add a sentence saying "earlier uses of the phrase include...". It's not a complex concept that requires explanation. I'm just repeating myself again as a preliminary to putting this up for AfD.Prezbo (talk) 02:24, 26 February 2010 (UTC)

I concur w/ Prezbo (in the last paragraph above)....the whole article is very dubious, as it now reads. It should be marked for deletion. "little Eichmanns" went viral because of the media attention it got (primarily Fox News), but never entered common usage. Anyone stating otherwise needs to source the phrase itself as being in common use - not just the context or whom has used it...Let's look at the opening sentence, which claims: "Little Eichmanns is a phrase used to describe persons who participate in society in a way that, while on an individual scale may seem relatively innocuous even to themselves..." etc etc...(I added the boldface). Point is, this was Churchill's one-time thing. Cover it under his article... Engr105th (talk) 06:42, 6 May 2012 (UTC)
The use of this previously established phrase by Churchill is already discussed in Churchill-related articles. This specific article is about the phrase itself, which pre-exists Churchill's use of it (he didn't coin the phrase, nor is he soley responsible for the notability of the phrase), and notes some of the many other instances where it has been used. Xenophrenic (talk) 22:08, 6 May 2012 (UTC)