On the Ownership of Words

By lex, on January 14th, 2011

Occasional readers will be aware that their correspondent likes Sarah Palin. Not likes in any, “She’d make a great president” kind of way. Because I’m not convinced that she would. But in a heart’s-in-the-right-place, plain spoken mother-woman-pol of self-made success kind of way. Who’s hot.

What’s to hate?

Well, plenty it seems. The latest red flag in the eyes of the haters is Palin’s use of the words “blood libel” to describe the libel that she was somehow responsible for the mad lunacy which resulted in bloodshed in Tucson. The haters point out that “blood libel” has a very specific historical meaning, and that it therefore cannot apply to goyim.

Very occasional allies James Taranto and Barack Obama disagree on Palin’s culpability in the slaughter:

“It did not.” With those three truthful words–an improvisation or a late addition, as they were not in the prepared text–the liberal president rebuked the out-of-control liberal media that have, under the leadership of the New York Times, been engaging in a vicious campaign of lies and smears.

And although we cannot peek into the president’s heart on the topic of blood libels, Taranto notes that Palin’s critics are not bound by foolish consistency in their manufactured outrage:

The outrage of the Palin-haters over the use of the term, however, is phony. Many of the outraged haters have themselves used the term “blood libel” in similar metaphorical senses, including the New York Times. Here are a couple of examples:

From a Dec. 5, 1989, Times book review: “During the yellow fever plague a form of blood libel is imposed on the blacks in Philadelphia; they are said to be both responsible for and immune to sickness because of the color of their skin.”

On Sept. 14, 1990, the late Abe Rosenthal penned a column in response to Pat Buchanan’s assertion, after the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, that “there are only two groups that are beating the drums for war in the Middle East – the Israeli Defense Ministry and its amen corner in the United States.” Rosenthal countered: “We are not dealing here with country-club anti-Semitism but with the blood libel that often grows out of it: Jews are not like us but are others, with alien loyalties for which they will sacrifice the lives of Americans.”

Should I say the words, “The Holocaust,” most educated people will understand what I mean. But should I mention “a holocaust,” the subject will be up to interpretation. So too with blood libel, everything depends upon the context, and the speaker’s intent ought to be privileged over those who would, for their own reasons, impose a preferred meaning. If anything, it is a sign of the silliness of our national discourse at a time when really serious problems are brewing just beyond the horizon. Emperors may fiddle as Rome burns. Media ought to address serious issues.

Palin’s usefulness, then, is this: She is like a red flag to bulls, they cannot help but charging at her even when it wounds them. She provides the essential service of showing the depths of hatred, animosity and resentment that rots at the hearts of at least some of those self-styled progressives who openly pretend to love mankind while secretly hating men. Or, in this case, women. A woman.

If she didn’t exist, we’d have to invent her.

 

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Filed under Best of Neptunus Lex, by lex, Carroll "Lex" LeFon, Carroll LeFon, Lex, Neptunus Lex, Politics

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