Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Sensible Advice from Sarah Palin

But, 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 they purport to condemn. That is reprehensible.

I think we can all agree that manufacturing false claims that Jews have murdered a Christian child to use the child's blood for ritual purposes is reprehensible, particularly within hours of a tragedy unfolding.

John Scalzi is more eloquent than I am on the subject.

Also, see Got medieval for a somewhat depressing review of the need to remember that the Blood Libel was not only a very specific libel against Jews, but that it should not be confused with other very specific libels against Jews.

And Colbert weighs in.


Elen said...

Yes .. and no.
With power comes responsibility.

"Will no one rid me of this meddlesome priest?" was a relatively innocent statement, but not when spoken by a king. History does not absolve Henry of blame, even though he was directly involved in the murder.

Should he have reasonably known that someone would act on his words? Henry may have been honestly shocked when his words were acted on, but our modern view is that he should have known that was a possibility. His words were, at the least, ill-advised.

In this case, an undoubtedly deranged individual acted. He is the murderer. Frankly, we do not know whether any specific statements contributed to his actions. No, Sarah Palin is not to blame. She did not murder those people. But that doesn't mean that she and other commentators who advocate violence then claim it is only a metaphor are blameless.

Even non-deranged segments of our society seem to have difficulty recognizing metaphors. This is not unforseeable. Those in positions of power - and media celebrities are modern power figures - should be aware that while they have freedom of speech, they also have more of a responsibility to use language and metaphor judiciously than do those who lack their pulpits. With power comes additional responsibility.

Elen said...

That should be
"... NOT directly involved in the murder."

Anonymous said...

Your link to Politico has an extra '/' character in "http:///". At least some browsers (IE) won't navigate that link.

Anonymous said...

It astounds me that anyone actually thinks Palin or any public personality who has ever dared to use a metaphor in public speech bears any responsibility for this tragedy. Stop it, please. Just back off. We get it--you're upset that the killer wasn't the crazy nutcase you think all right-wingers are, and you want to lash out at some of your ideological opponents.

Will McLean said...

Re: Comment # 4 by Anonymous

Please consider the following points.

1) I can't tell if you are addressing me or Elen.

2) You are a guest in my comment section. Please by civil.

3) Ascribing bad motives to people when you can't reasonably know what their motives are is not, in my opinion, civil.

4)If you think I think that it is probable that Palin bears significant responsibility for this tragedy, you are mistaken. She has a perfect right to complain that Krugman and others have treated her unfairly.

5) The point of this post is that using "blood libel" as an analogy for her experience is grossly inapropriate. Being unfairly scolded by Krugman and others is not actually very similar to Jews being accused by Christians of killing children and consuming their blood, with the Jews then being tortured and/or murdered.