LOS ANGELES (LALATE) – Sarah Palin’s used “blood libel” in a video response today. But is Palin’s “blood libel” taking the definition of the word far beyond its original meaning? Palin’s blood libel reference came during her video response about her use of crosshairs imagery and target list remarks. And while partisan debates are using “blood libel” the latest subject of bickering, the term’s contemporary use has heated debates far before Palin’s video message this week.
Palin’s use of metaphors are not new. Her expression to “lock and load” and “targeting” have prompted criticism in recent days. But Democrats have done the same. In fact a quick perusal online will reveal that Democrats have used crosshairs imagery before on our nation’s map much like Palin’s 2010 imagery. Moreover, in the 2008 Presidential campaign, Obama stated “If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun”.
Palin’s rep recently said Palin’s 2010 crosshairs were “surveyor’s symbols”. Today, Palin uses the term “blood libel” stating “[E]specially 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.”
Yesterday, Glenn Reynolds used blood libel in an article. “So as the usual talking heads begin their “have you no decency?” routine aimed at talk radio and Republican politicians, perhaps we should turn the question around. Where is the decency in blood libel?”
The term has provoked controversy in the Vatican for centuries. Pope Gregory X (1271 -1276), reaffirming writings of Innocent III (1198-1216) and Innocent IV (1243-1254), opposed the use of the term. But how about contemporary culture?
Wikipedia records show a debate over the term’s definition far before Palin’s use. As early as September 2010, editors of Wikipedia battled over the term’s definition taking new usage in our culture. The “Talk” section of Wikipedia exhibits a debate over the definition starting in September when both sides argued over whether the term refers to something “assumed to be” false, or actually false. “[T]he blood libels were only “assumed” to be false, rather than actually false…. [T]he historical consensus is still that these claims were false.” The debate continues for upwards of five pages and lasted for apparently four months on Wikipedia.