Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Do These People Have Any Idea What Words Mean?

"Blood Libel?" The Palinistas are throwing out the term "Blood Libel?" Because that term means something. Something very specific.

According to

Blood Libel - The blood libel is a false accusation that Jews sacrifice Christian children either to use the blood for various "medicinal" purposes or to prepare Passover Matzoth (unleavened bread) or for vengeance and mock crucifixions. It is one of the central fables of Anti-Semitism of the older (middle ages) type.

So who dug up this term? Because clearly Palin didn't come up with this on her own. So who did her writer crib it from?

It looks like soulless lie machine Andrew Breitbart  may have been the originator, using it in a "tweet" on Tuesday:
And to the gutless GOP establishment who watches in silence the blood libel against @SarahPalinUSA. We will remember. #TeaParty

about 17 hours ago via web

Retweeted by 100+ people

Reply Retweet .AndrewBreitbartFooter© 2011 TwitterAbout UsContactBlogStatusResourcesAPIBusinessHelpJobsTermsPrivacy


That seems about right. Breitbart is exactly the kind of dishonest bottom-feeder that would purposely use this sort of terminology to imply that the right-wing machine is some sort of oppressed minority.

The term has also popped up on the truly awful "Human Events" website:

committing child murder in order to consume human blood. But to Palin and her supporters, any criticism of her or them may actually feel like being unfairly accused of a heinous crime.
The Giffords Blood Libel Will Fail

The Left rides a horse that is dying beneath them.

by John Hayward

And for some reason, Palin's use of the term has been given the OK by Alan Derschowitz, who was, at one time, a respected legal scholar but has evolved over time into ten pounds of douche in a five pound bag.
The term “blood libel” has taken on a broad metaphorical meaning in public discourse. Although its historical origins were in theologically based false accusations against the Jews and the Jewish People,its current usage is far broader. I myself have used it to describe false accusations against the State of Israel by the Goldstone Report.

Oh, well if Douchewitz has used it in a somewhat more relatable context to defend the State of Israel, then of course a lightweight political celebrity should feel free to invoke the memories of countless pogroms and persecutions to paint herself as blameless.

 Of course, there is a difference. Originally the blood libel was a horrific lie designed to justify the persecution, expelling and killing of an ethnic minority. What has been said about Sarah Palin is essentially true, that her rhetoric plays a part in creating a climate of hatred which could potentially influence someone to act violently. It may be somewhat unfair to connect her to this particular tragedy, but what her critics are saying is basically true. No one is accusing her of committing any acts of violence herself. 
Saying that Palin ought to tone down the violent imagery hardly seems equivalent to accusing someone of  child murder. But I think maybe to someone like Palin, any criticism feels like an unfair and outrageous accusation. Because she's always the victim.

Short Memory

From Glenn Beck:

I have never seen anything like this. The storyline of blaming Sarah Palin/Rush Limbaugh/Glenn Beck/the tea party/the right continues even though there is NO EVIDENCE SUPPORTING IT.
Really, Glenn? You've never seen anything like this? Really? You must have been asleep during the '80s, because I remember having seen  a few things like this.

I remember the movie Taxi Driver being blamed for John Hinckley's assassination attempt on Ronald Reagan.

I remember heavy metal music being blamed for teen suicides.

I remember "gangsta rap" being blamed for all kinds of violence. (see)

I remember Dungeons and Dragons being blamed for a whole bunch of murders and suicides.

I remember Beavis and Butthead being blamed for kids starting fires. (see)

I remember sex-ed classes being blamed for teen pregnancies.

I remember Bill Clinton being blamed for teen blowjobs.

More recently, I remember video games being blamed for the Virginia Tech massacre.
(see: Dr. Phil Suggests Video Games to Blame for Virginia Tech Shootings)

I remember South Park being blamed for a redheaded kid getting beat up at school. (see)

I remember the show Jackass being blamed for a kid setting himself on fire.

So if you want to make the point that it's not fair to blame Sarah Palin, yeah you probably have a point. As far as we know, the shooter was not motivated by her or by any other political figure (although we don't yet know much about him, he may well turn out to be a teabagger, who knows)? But don't pretend like this is some unprecedented phenomenon. Especially when we remember headlines like these:

Glenn Beck Blames UAH Killings on Far-left Political Extremism

Glenn Beck blames atheists for America's problems

Glenn Beck blames the Holocaust on Charles Darwin

Glenn Beck thinks 'political correctness' is driving people to shooting rampages


Glenn Beck Blames Health and Spiritual Problems On Walter Lippmann. Really.

Beck Blames California Wildfires On The ‘Damn Environmentalists’


Glenn Beck Blames George Soros for Low Ranking in Time Person of the Year Poll

Glenn Beck blames Weathermen for Homer Simpson

 Funny how it's only when you and/or one of your right-wing nutjob buddies is getting blamed that it becomes so important not to point fingers.