from "blood libel" to "pogrom"

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM
Sun Jan 16 21:42:22 UTC 2011

It makes sense because the "libel" was/is about actual "blood."

I imagine that the vivacious and always effervescent former governor thought
the phrase appropriate because

1. it was in the Wall Street Journal, and

2. it refers to blood, and there was plenty at the scene of the crime, and

3. it refers to blood, which makes it forceful, memorable, shocking, worthy
of outrage.

Because it's one of the key phrases relevant to the subject, most people who
know anything at all about the history of European antisemitism (beyond the
mere fact of the Holocaust) know the meaning of "blood libel."

I don't think many people are objecting strenuously to the mere
figurative use of it, but the phrase "blood libel" has such explosive
connotations, that it's startling to hear Gov. Palin using it
(or unintentionally misusing it)  for this particular case while addressing
the nation - and the world. It's also - shall we say? - "controversial" for
her to accuse the left-wing media of commiting a "blood libel" against
conservative commentators in general, her in particular, and, yes,
Republican voters as well.  To bring average Republican voters into it is -
shall we say? - rather gratuitous. And the speech itself might be considered
indecorously partisan and combative at a time when everybody needed to take
a deep breath.

There are many less divisive things she might have chosen to say, regardless
of any media provocation.


On Sun, Jan 16, 2011 at 3:45 PM, Cohen, Gerald Leonard <gcohen at>wrote:

> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       "Cohen, Gerald Leonard" <gcohen at MST.EDU>
> Subject:      Re: from "blood libel" to "pogrom"
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> =20
> Tragically it makes perfect sense.
> =20
> Gerald Cohen
> ________________________________
>  Tom Zurinskas (Sun 1/16/2011 1:40 PM) wrote:
> Sorry.  I've really never heard the term "blood libel" before.  Perhaps =
> OED and Websters have not either.  It doesn't make sense as a word to me =
> as well.
> Tom Zurinskas,=20
> <snip>
> ------------------------------------------------------------
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