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.
History has seen several assassinations, including the recent killing of a Governor in Pakistan for opposing the archaic Muslim blasphemy law. The latest assassination attempt of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, however, stands different as the world has been given a chance to actually enter the mind of the suspected gunman.
22-year-old Jared Lee Loughner was held immediately after the shooting at a political meeting held by Democratic Representative Giffords in a supermarket parking lot in Tucson, Arizona. Media reports that five people died in the shooting including a 9-year-old girl, Christina Taylor Green, while Giffords is battling for her life in a hospital.
Just hours after the arrest, the suspect’s internet presence has been dug into. While the feds are taking a look into Loughner’s “rambling Internet manifesto” accusing the government of mind control and demanding a new currency, every person across the globe with an internet connection can get into the head of the gunman through his YouTube and MySpace channels.
On YouTube account of ‘Classitup10’, the youngster wrote sometimes baffling and sometimes nonsensical tirades against the government. He describes himself as a “conscience dreamer” speaking against the American government’s alleged mind control tactics and brain washing.
The youngster, who lists Animal Farm, Brave New World, The Wizard Of OZ, Aesop Fables, The Odyssey, Alice Adventures Into Wonderland, Fahrenheit 451, Peter Pan, To Kill A Mockingbird, We The Living, Phantom Toll Booth, One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, Pulp,Through The Looking Glass, The Communist Manifesto, Siddhartha, The Old Man And The Sea, Gulliver’s Travels, Mein Kampf, The Republic, and Meno as his favorite books, studied grammar. He urges people to get grammar “literate”.
“Secondly, my hope – is for you to be literate! If you’re literate in English grammar, then you comprehend English grammar. The majority of people, who reside in District 8, are illiterate — hilarious. I don’t control your English grammar structure, but you control your English grammar structure,” he writes white on black in video titled ‘Hello’.
“You don’t allow the government to control your grammar structure, listener?” he says in ‘My Final Thoughts’.
While his accounts provide a passage into his mind, Twitter users are using the microblogging site to vent out frustrations and share what ever information they can. Users are uploading Twitpics [See: Jared Lee Loughner/ Giffords] – giving a sense of proximity to the whole incident to anyone reading about the shooting from anywhere on the planet. Incidentally, the Congresswoman had also tweeted just before the meet inviting everyone to take part and to give feedback later through tweets.
Our hearts have sunk, the violence has rendered us speechless. We just wanted to share our observation of how internet has changed the way he get to interact with reality, no matter what the distances. The suspect’s manifesto gives us a peek into his mind. At the same time, we can gauge the responses of the people through sites like Twitter.
The following are the YouTube videos of Loughner