Blood Libel: Sarah Palin’s foot in mouth syndrome worsens
Sarah Palin’s foot in mouth syndrome seemingly continues to aggravate as she has taken the ‘art of saying something inappropriate’ to new heights with her latest remarks containing the controversial words “blood libel”.
In an eight minute video statement, Palin defended herself against allegations that her firearms-infused political attacks prompted the assassination attempt on Representative Gabrielle Giffords, Democrat of Arizona, in Tucson.
“Acts of monstrous criminality stand on their own. Especially within hours of a tragedy unfolding, journalists and pundits should not manufacture a blood libel that serves only to incite the very hatred and violence that they purport to condemn. That is reprehensible,” Palin remarks in the video released early Wednesday.
“Blood libel”, words heavy with religious symbolism, refers to the accusation slapped against religious minorities, especially Jews that they murdered children, especially Christian, and used their blood to bake matzos, a cracker-like unleavened bread, for the Passover festival. This has been one among many claims used to justify the persecution of Jews in Europe.
Palin’s latest statement has sparked off a row across the globe raising questions on the freedom and right to expression against appropriateness. Interestingly, the Republican’s words came at a time when she was trying to argue that her words were unfairly linked to the 22-year-old suspected gunman Jared Loughner’s violence.
While the media outlets wonder if Palin and those in her camp understood the implications of the term, observers and linguists are busy explaining to the world how the literal meanings of phrases change over the years while another fraction have tried to throw light on why the Republican’s statement has prompted rage.
Palin has several times in the past run into trouble for her choice of words. The most recent one being the coining of the term “refudiate”, which was a mash-up of two words: “refuse” and “repudiate”. Refudiate was recently named the most unnecessary word by the American Dialect Society, after New Oxford American Dictionary, on the contrary, named it the top word of 2010.
After using the term for the first time in Fox News’s Hannity show seeking President Obama and his wife Michelle to “refudiate” the NAACP’s suggestion that the Tea Party movement was racist, Sarah Palin used ‘refudiate’ in her tweets on Ground Zero Mosque. She later defended her term arguing, “‘Refudiate,’ ‘misunderestimate,’ ‘wee-wee’d up.’ English is a living language. Shakespeare liked to coin new words too. Got to celebrate it!”
Kormer President George W Bush had coined “misunderdestimate” while Barack Obama referred to people in Washington being “wee-wee’d up”, which according to Press Secretary Robert Gibbs means when people just get all nervous for no particular reason.”
Palin had also sparked off a far more serious controversy by supporting Dr. Laura Schlessinger in the wake of her controversial use of the N-word – 11 times in a span of five minutes – on her radio show.
Backing Dr. Laura’s claim that her First Amendment rights have been silenced by “hateful” interest groups, Palin had said, “Dr. Laura did not call anyone or any group of people the n-word. Curiously, the same criers over this issue didn’t utter a word when White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emmanuel called a group protesting the Obama Administration’s actions, ‘f***ing retards’…”
History narrates several stories of how caustic oratory has incited violence. Even in the present day scenario, terror takes birth from rhetoric and brain-washing. While the politicians are too busy attacking each other for political mileage, this present crisis should either raise appeals to tone down the rhetoric or to introduce some form of education at the grass-root level to help youngsters understand and decipher rhetoric.