On Thursday, Parkland survivors David Hogg and his sister, Lauren Hogg, announced that Random House would publish their book about the Parkland massacre and its political aftermath. The title: #NeverAgain.
Now, it’s all well and good for these teenagers to write a book. They’re entitled to their say, and there’s no question that the book will be pushed by gun control allies in the media. There is one problem, however: the title.
To be fair, the media and this particular cadre of Parkland survivors have been using the hashtag for weeks. But it was always both insulting and foolish. The phrase “Never again” was coined after the Holocaust to signify the hope for both Jewish and global action aimed at preventing a second Holocaust. Fellow Parkland survivor Cameron Kasky began using the #NeverAgain hashtag, and even at the time, it struck the wrong note. As the Jerusalem Post reported:
Some supporters of the students’ efforts are put off by their use of Never Again. Lily Herman, writing in Refinery29, said “it’s very uncomfortable to watch a term you’ve used to talk about your family and people’s own heritage and history be taken away overnight.” Malka Goldberg, a digital communications specialist in Maryland, tweeted, “When I saw they’re using #NeverAgain for the campaign it bothered me, b/c many Jews strongly [associate] that phrase w/ the Holocaust specifically. For a second it felt like cultural appropriation, but I doubt the kids knew this or did it intentionally.”
Well, yes. It should be awkward for the kids to use #NeverAgain, because the Holocaust was a government-perpetuated genocide against millions of innocent citizens. The Parkland shooting was a horrific crime perpetrated by a criminal, which the government tried but failed to prevent. By using the “Never Again” phraseology, Hogg and his sister are implicitly suggesting that the government was complicit in the Parkland massacre, and that gun rights advocates are the new Nazis. That’s nasty, it’s gross, and it’s a slander against fellow Americans, as well as a devaluation of the Holocaust.
So, by all means, the Hoggs should write and publish their book. But for the sake of decency, they ought to change the title.