Archive - Jan 14, 2011

There Will Be Libel

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Sarah Palin's "blood libel" gaffe has been a source of non-stop hilarious entertainment for me all week.

I mean, first there's the fact that she said it at all. "Blood libel" is a term with a very specific cultural meaning. It's anti-Semitic Christians demonizing Jews by saying they use the blood of Christian babies in secret rituals. So for Palin to accuse the media of "manufacturing a blood libel" in commenting on her gunsight map is some tone-deaf shit even for her.

And then I learned that certain elements of the wingnut elite, the ones who clearly have Palin's ear, had been throwing the term around for a couple of days beforehand, and suddenly it all made sense. She thought it was just another talking point, didn't know what it meant, and dropped it in her speech like a sample from "Afternoon Delight". Pundits say this mistake may have ruined her chances in 2012, but since Palin won't be running in 2012, and any presidential bid by her will just be an attempt to sell more books and earn more speaking fees, it's more accurate to say that she can cross south Florida and vast swaths of New York City off her speaking tour plans.

But the best part, as I knew it would be, would be the inevitable wagon-circling. If Democrats have a pathological need to criticize each other even when they haven't done anything wrong, Republicans have a pathological need to defend each other even when they have. This works for them because - and this is actually a theme that ties into a few other things in The Pile - they've killed all the referees. With nobody to declare definitively that Sarah Palin is wrong, nobody will be harmed by defending her when she's wrong. Political victory is therefore assured regardless of merit, which is Sarah Palin's entire modus operandi.

And the best part is, they don't even have to come up with an actual convoluted defense of the term. ACTUAL COMPARATIVE QUOTE ANALYSIS TIME!

  • "This is simply the latest round of an ongoing pogrom against conservative thinkers." - The Washington Times.
  • "This seems to be a whole lot more about reacting to Sarah Palin, and being annoyed at Sarah Palin, than anything else." - Kathryn Jean Lopez, at National Review Online.
  • "There four days of unmitigated and baseless hatred having collapsed on them, the left has now seized on Palin's response and in particular her use of the term "blood libel" as a new scandal. No need to apologize for demonizing her wrongly and unfairly, just start up a new rant about something else." - John Sexton of Verum Serum, yet another right-wing homophonophobe.
  • "But as they always seem to do, the left found something to attack, the use of one phrase. Blood libel." - Jeff Dunetz, whose motto is "Time To Make The Stupid".
  • "They criticized her for not saying anything. Now, they'll criticizing her for saying something." - Michelle Malkin, who certainly knows a thing or two about being criticized for just "saying something".

Doesn't matter what she did, the point is that people are attacking them for it. Anyone attacking Palin must be a liberal, in the media, or, in a best-case scenario, both. Liberals and the media are always wrong, therefore Sarah Palin is right. "Blood libel" means whatever we say it means, anyone who says it's offensive is guilty of a "pogrom". Completely appropriate use of THAT word, of course. And anyway, lots of other people say "blood libel". Just ask Pat Buchanan!

Yes, Pat Buchanan. The classic. The man they put on MSNBC to make all their center-fetishists look liberal. Part of the right-wing orthodoxy who think that if you're a Christian who hates Muslims, you automatically get an infinite supply of Jew-loving credit to fall back on. And here is what he said to Mr. Potato Head about Sarah's little faux pas.

"Andrew Sullivan's used it, Michael Barone's used it, Ann Coulter's used it. Alan Dershowitz said yesterday that I've used that phrase myself to describe the Goldstone report. So I don't think there's any malevolence there."

Ah, yes. Andrew Sullivan, only a very recent convert to borderline non-dickishness and a fervent supporter of the Bush war machine until the last couple of years. Michael Barone, who famously accused the media of hating Palin because she didn't abort Trig. Pat Buchanan himself, who cannot directly cop to using the phrase, but accepts a second-hand, judgment-free* report from a Jewish lawyer that he did. And Ann Coulter.

No malevolence? If the four of them were magically transmogrified into a barbershop quartet made of kittens, they'd STILL be evil enough to release a song called "Swanee Blood Libel". She couldn't be guilty of murder, Your Honor. There were three other bodies in that landfill, all killed by other members of her gang. A brilliant defense from the Douche Cannon.

It is a complete fucking farce. The only question is, will the ridiculousness of it make you laugh, or will the predictabilty and success of it make you cry?

*Or judgment-excised, for all I know. I'm not willing to follow Patty Patty Buch Buch's scant breadcrumbs to a primary source.