It seems Nazis are the new black. It took two days for U.S. President Donald Trump to belatedly denounce American neo-Nazis and other white supremacists. In Japan, Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso, voicing admiration for German Nazis ("paleo-Nazis"?), suggested that Adolf Hitler, "who killed millions of people, was no good, even if his motives were right."
After being criticized for his remarks, Aso later clarified that he regarded Hitler "in extremely negative terms" and believed his "motives were also wrong"; he merely wanted to "stress the importance of politicians achieving results." This is not the first time Aso has praised Nazis. Four years ago, celebrating Nazi efficiency in passing revisions to the Weimar Constitution, he recommended the adoption of similar stealthy methods to pass his party's revision of Japan's.
How unfortunate it is that Aso's statements — past and present — are benignly labeled "gaffes." The Merriam-Webster Learner's Dictionary defines a gaffe as an embarrassing "mistake made in a social occasion." A fart is a gaffe; praising Nazi efficiency is not — it doesn't just slip out. While both are odorous, the latter is decidedly more serious. Aso's statements portend something far more sinister, particularly given his history of troubling cerebral flatulence.