It would, if only it were an actual word and if it meant what you think it means

Posted at 15:44 by Sadly, No!

Is it? Does it? Sadly, No!

Writing on the plight of Wal-Mart shopper Patricia VanLester who was knocked unconscious by fellow shoppers, Andrew Sullivan writes:

I’m sorry but these people are out of their minds. Suddenly, the German term Konsumterrorismus makes a certain amount of sense.

The German term Andy is presumably thinking of is Konsumterror (talk about being obsessed with terrorism, but we digress.) But Konsumterror refers to the prevalence of advertising in society, and the resulting inability to escape being bombarded with ads. How this relates to an excessively enthusiastic herd of Wal-Mart shoppers remains, well, unclear.

Suddenly, the bogus nature of Andy’s intellect makes total sense.


  1. None said,

    November 30, 2003 at 16:39

    If is any guide, both words are legitimate German: Konsumterror translates as “consumer terror,” Konsumterrorismus as “consumer terrorism.” Strangely, a page on suggests that “Konsumterrorismus” is a registered trademark somewhere.

    And if Sullivan’s use of the term is wrong, he’s not alone:

  2. Sadly, No! said,

    November 30, 2003 at 16:49

    “If is any guide, both words are legitimate German: Konsumterror translates as “consumer terror,” Konsumterrorismus as “consumer terrorism.”"

    Because many German words are compounds of several words, one can get any number of random combinations to “translate” on babelfish. “Mehlterrorismus” gives “flour terrorism.” We doubt there’s any such thing. Same for “Katzeterrorismusgueltigkeit,” i.e. “cat terrorism validity.”

  3. twig said,

    November 30, 2003 at 18:49

    “Katzeterrorismusgueltigkeit,” i.e. “cat terrorism validity.”

    What a great band name.

  4. Della said,

    November 30, 2003 at 18:55


  5. Sadly, No! said,

    December 1, 2003 at 8:57

    “What a great band name.”

    While we didn’t think of it yesterday, it just occured to us that “Bundeskatzeterrorismusgueltigkeit” might be an even better name. (federal cat terrorism validity.)

  6. rene said,

    September 17, 2004 at 7:48

    the word konsumterror was coined by some dude who wanted to describe what capitalism was doing that forced the red army to resort to terrorism. however it has come to mean (at least to those who get it via debord) that terror which consumes one who fears that they may not be able to consume. The woman in the ticket line who becomes desperate, thinking, “perhaps they will sell out before I get to the front!” It is a terror of being left out of social life by being denied consumption, or consumption of one’s own gestures of consumption.

  7. LobelWeiss Nick said,

    December 19, 2004 at 18:37

    Only the hand that erases can write the true thing.

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