Your RDA of Irony

Beyond the Palin

As you probably guessed, I have been tutoring Sarah Palin in medieval history.  You can now expect her to make erudite but casual references to Eleanor of Aquitaine, Thomas Aquinas and the Byzantine Empire. Of course, you have heard and read of her use the term “blood libel.”  Yes, I should take a bow.  

Ms. Palin had been unaware of the canard that Jews murdered young Christian children to improve the taste of matzoh–as if anything could.  Given her encounters with William Kristol and Ben Stein, she assumed that Jews only slobbered over Christian women.  (And but for the dry cleaning, she was quite flattered.)  Through the Middle Ages whenever a child died suddenly or simply disappeared, it had to be a Jewish recipe.  With the expulsion of the Jews from Britain in 1291, apparently no English child fell down a well ever again.   In the 16th century, Martin Luther added some variety to the blood libel by accusing the Jews of being vampires.  At the time, it was not meant as a compliment to our sensuous mystique.  But Luther had a bad word for everyone, and his Anti-Semitism did not incite violence; just four centuries of exclusion from country clubs.

Indeed, thanks to the Reformation, and Catholics and Protestants preoccupied with killing each other, Western Europe became somewhat safer for Jews.  However, Eastern Europe now was catching up with Anti-Semitism.  The blood libel, and its ensuing massacres, were still common in the early 20th century.  It is surprising that Tsarist Russia never issued a celebratory postage stamp:  Go Pogroms!  And today the Arab World is disseminating the blood libel, although the recipe has been changed to young Moslem children.  Evidently, when it comes to inciting Anti-Semitism, that age-old lie is more effective than “Curb Your Enthusiasm.”   

Of course, I had to explain this to Ms. Palin in terms that she would understand.  Medievel means media evil, and the blood libel referred to the New York Times’ recipe to turn her into quiche.

p.s.  And here is the Spanish example of blood libel:

  1. Jan says:

    Thanks for the laugh, Eugene. I’m committing that line:”improve the taste of matzoh–as if anything could” to memory. Classic. Although I actually like matzoh, but then, I don’t have to eat it for a week solid (pun somewhat intended).

    I read a comment today that some evangelical Christians see themselves as the “new Jews,” persecuted by the secular world, so maybe this was a dog-whistle term to the base.

  2. Renee Keats says:

    Eugene– I was simply SHOCKED to hear those words coming out of Sarah Palin’s mouth! To think, she was ALMOST the VP! I mean really; who are her speech writers?

    Anyway, thanks for the giggle and for the history lesson (as usual.) But, for goodness sakes, is this woman really that ignorant?

    • Eugene Finerman says:


      Be grateful for Sarah Palin’s ignorance. It may be our salvation. If Palin possessed even a second-rate mind to guide her megalomaniacal ambition, the ultimate Mean Girl might well be unstoppable.


  3. Steve Katz says:

    She is simply uneducated, lacking depth and making millions. She speaks only to her thousands of supporters, who similarly lack depth and are uneducated. Her supporters, however, don’t make millions. They are just dupes.

  4. Cindy Starks says:

    Eugene — I love this post. But then, I’m easy. I was, frankly, appalled by Palin’s remarks, but then again, why be surprised at what comes out of the mouths of a fool?

  5. Peggles says:

    In regard to the observations of Renee, Steve, and Cindy………….YOU BETCHA!

  6. Lyn says:

    Sarah Palin does not have the intelligence to think to use some of the words in that 8 minute speech designed to counteract Obama speech at the Tucson memorial service yesterday. Obviously, someone else wrote her speech and very purposefully chose the offensive, Anti-Semitic language, obviously calculating that it would further galvanize her Tea Party.

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