Monday, June 6, 2011

Sarah Palin’s Midnight Ride on the Failbus

“What have you seen so far today, and what are you going to take away from your visit?”

That’s the question asked of Palin by a random voter while Palin was visiting Boston’s Old North Church as part of her fire-in-the-belly-of-Liberty non-campaign campaign bus tour or whatever we’re calling it today. 

What have you seen so far?

What are you getting out of it?

Note that the question was asked not by the media, but by a random citizen. 

Note also that the question was not “Mrs. Palin, pop quiz! You have two minutes to give American voters, political analysts, and historians a quick dissertation regarding the specifics of Founding Father Paul Revere, including his famous ride, the particular warning signals used, the nature of Revere’s message including its intended recipient and the thought process behind its dispatch,  and how that relates to gun ownership in the nascent proto-United States. Go!”

No, instead the question was basically an innocuous, “Gee, Sarah, cool, uh?”

This seems to me a reasonable question asked by any citizen, left , right, or center, when given the opportunity to greet a famous politician with the TV cameras rolling.  What have you seen?  What do you think?  Certainly, Palin’s security team wouldn’t have let the petitioner close enough to ask that question without knowing what the question was going to be. 

What have you seen today, what do you think about it? Seems like exactly the kind of softball question a politician would relish.

A savvy and prepared politician would have answered, “What’s your name? Mary? Thank you for asking, Mary, (that’s just the bestest question ever! Gush!) and it’s just great to meet you here at the Old North Church (or “this historic place” if you can’t remember where the hell you are)!  It’s great to be here at the place where the United States was born. I’m humbled to stand in some of the same places as our founding fathers, those great men (or “patriots,” if you must) who risked all for freedom (life, liberty, truth, justice, and/or the American way).  But, you know, really, the best part of my visit is meeting people like you and hearing what you have to say!” Blah, blah, fluff, fluff, kiss, kiss, and etc.  Thanks again for asking and we’ve got to go! Wave, wave, bye bye,  hasta lasagna, don’t get any on ya. 

Any savvy and experienced pol has a set of canned responses for any given situation, from an obnoxious heckler to a baby puking on their tie.  Swap a few words around, shift the focus of the question back on the questioner, freedom, liberty, the American spirit, yadda yadda and make an innocuous wisecrack.  You never catch a savvy politician off guard, because they never are off guard – even if they’re caught tweeting pictures of their junk to social media sites, or wiggling their foot under the door of a public restroom stall, or trying to sell a Senate seat to the highest bidder. 

You want to be a player, you better learn to play the game.

The problem is that Sarah Palin is not a savvy politician. She’s a spoiled brat with the manners of a mean and petty high school homecoming queen.  She’s pretty and popular and so far that’s worked just fine for her.  People give her stuff just because she’s pretty and popular.  And that’s also why a hell of a lot of staunch conservative men support her – they don’t really want her to be president, and they would be the last guys to take orders from a woman, what they really want is to get laid.  They think if they sing her praises loud enough and follow her around like a dog in heat she’ll maybe sleep with them, Palin isn’t the only one still in high school (Don’t believe me? Yeah, how much support do you think she’d get if she was fat and ugly and flat-chested with short kinky ginger hair?). The sad part is that if you’re not in her little clique with the jocks and the cheerleaders, well, then you just don’t count.  Palin will throw anybody under the bus that even looks like they might pull the spotlight off of her – just ask Mitt Romney. Thinking isn’t Palin’s strongest muscle, because she’s never needed to use it, and the only questions she’s prepared for are the kinds of questions a beauty queen gets asked, “As Queen of the World, I’ll work for world peace, Jesus, and fluffy bunnies who fart sunshine and rainbows!”

She’s a beauty queen, that’s why The Donald loves her, she reminds him of Mrs. Trump (First, second, the current one, and the next one, there’s a pattern here).

What have you seen so far today and what are you going to take away from your visit?

“We saw where Paul Revere hung out as a teenager, which was something new to learn. He who warned, uh, the British that they weren’t goin’ to be takin’ away our arms, uh, by ringing those bells and makin’ sure as he’s riding his horse through town to send those warnin’ shots and bells that we were going to be secure and we were going to be free and we were going to be armed.”

I know. I know. I see you there in the back, waving your arm. I hear you.  Waitaminute now, Jim, I hear you say in that tsk tsk tone you use when you think I’m the guy who drew a Sharpie mustache on your autographed picture of Sarah, you said you wouldn’t give The Sourdough Shill any more air time, and yet here we are. Seriously, Jim, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?

Well, yes, I did deface your copy of America By Heart, don’t worry it’ll still work just fine as fertilizer. And I did say that I wouldn’t give her any more electrons  – unless she actually does declare for the White House or unless she does something so damned stupid that I simply can’t ignore it.  Her blathering idiotic response above doesn’t break the threshold for either criteria.

No, what did it was the follow-up comment.

"You know what? I didn’t mess up about Paul Revere. Here is what Paul Revere did. He warned the Americans that the British were coming, the British were coming, and they were going to try to take our arms and we got to make sure that we were protecting ourselves and shoring up all of our ammunitions and our firearms so that they couldn’t take it. But remember that the British had already been there, many soldiers for seven years in that area. And part of Paul Revere’s ride — and it wasn’t just one ride — he was a courier, he was a messenger. Part of his ride was to warn the British that were already there. That, hey, you’re not going to succeed. You’re not going to take American arms. You are not going to beat our own well-armed persons, individual, private militia that we have. He did warn the British. And in a shout-out, gotcha type of question that was asked of me, I answered candidly. And I know my American history.”

I know my American history.  You know, if she’d hadn’t added that little bit, I might have ignored her. 

I know my American history. Just like Rush Limbaugh knows his.

You know what? I didn’t mess up about Paul Revere.

Palin is pathologically incapable of admitting a mistake. That doesn’t bode well for her as a politician, but it sure sounds like the high school clique queen bee, doesn’t it?

He warned the Americans that the British were coming, the British were coming, and they were going to try to take our arms and we got to make sure that we were protecting ourselves and shoring up all of our ammunitions and our firearms so that they couldn’t take it.  But remember that the British had already been there, many soldiers for seven years in that area…

The British were coming … but they were already here. Or something. Wait what?  You’d think, knowing that this was going to be the topic of conversation during her FoxNews interview, that she’d get somebody to do her homework for her.  Guess not.  And in fact, that statement – made after two days of reflection, two days of preparation, during a voluntary interview specifically about her original statement, in front of a friendly audience and a sympathetic interviewer – is even more inane and incorrect than her first blathering nonsensical statement.

Revere was dispatched on the evening of April 18, 1775, by Dr. Joseph Warren and instructed to ride to Lexington (Massachusetts, not Lexington, Kentucky – you know, just in case Michelle Bachman is reading this) to warn Samuel Adams and John Hancock that British Regulars were marching to arrest them. 

Wait, April 18th, 1775?

Why, that’s a full year before the Declaration of Independence and the beginning of the American Revolution.

What the hell?

See, the vast majority of colonists (who were not yet Americans per se, but were rather British colonists in The Americas) were still loyal to the Crown, most of them didn’t want independence, they wanted better representation in Parliament and full rights as British citizens (including the right not to bear the tax burden of the Empire’s war with France – which is what that whole Tea Party thing was all about, you know, back in 1773).  The folks who would eventually become our Founding Fathers, including Revere, were, in 1775, mostly regarded as a handful of disgruntled troublemakers.  The Redcoats weren’t invading, they were already here. They weren’t coming to take “our” arms, they were coming to arrest the rebels.  It would be very unlikely that the British would round up arms from the civilian population at that point, they needed irregulars – i.e. the colonial militias – to deal with the natives and brigands and the odd Frenchman.  The Crown was broke (which, you know, was the whole reason the king was taxing the crap out of the colonies in the first place), every Redcoat in the Colonies was one less to fight the French elsewhere and was costing the King a fortune.

Revere and William Dawes were dispatched to warn the rebels that the Regulars were coming to arrest the rebels.

There was no mention by anybody of the Army coming to take the colonists’ weapons.  It would not have occurred to the world’s most powerful military that it was necessary (or possible.  Note for comparison that in Iraq and Afghanistan today, our own military has made no concerted effort to disarm the population. Because it would be a futile gesture, doomed to failure from the start).

Now, Dr. Warren – another founding father, and disgruntled troublemaker, who had been gathering intelligence on the King’s forces – felt that the contingent of Redcoats headed toward Lexington was too  large a force just to arrest a brewer and a merchant.  Warren thought that they might be looking to garrison in Concord. After warning Adams and Hancock, and dispatching additional riders to warn surrounding towns, Revere and Dawes continued on to Concord. Along the way they meet Sam Prescott. All three were stopped by a British patrol at Lincoln. Prescott and Dawes escaped (Prescott managed to make it to Concord, Dawes fell off his horse in the dark and busted his ass – which is why most of us have never heard of him), but Revere was captured and detained.  When questioned by the Redcoats at gunpoint, he did what any good troublemaker would do – he lied his ass off.  He told the Major in charge of the patrol that they were surrounded by rebels, that the whole countryside was arrayed against them, and that they were screwed. The Redcoats of that small patrol were understandably a bit nervous at this news – and then a distant shot rang out.  Revere told his captors it was the rebels, firing shots to “alarm the Country!”  There were more shots. The British began to panic.  Then the bells in Lexington began to toll (probably in response to the confused situation).

The simple truth of the matter is that nobody, British or Colonist, had any damned idea of what the hell was going on. There were rumors galore and misinformation aplenty and confused panic on both sides.  Along with a rather large number of the usual idiots who always show up in any crowd and throw gasoline on the fire.

Trust me, this is a common event in war, conflict, patrol in hostile territory, and even during training exercises. In the days before instantaneous communications, decent maps, and electric lighting, it was far, far worse. Modern military intelligence systems didn’t exist, spies and information gatherers were freelancers, on both sides, and the British were woefully uninformed of the actual situation. So were the colonists.   The Redcoats were alone, outnumbered, surrounded by hostiles (or so they thought) and under fire (or so they thought), in the pitch dark and without communications with higher authority.  One thing you can bet was on that major’s mind, he didn’t want to start a war with the colonials, his job was to keep the peace.  Colonists pay taxes, rebels don’t.  England already had one war, she didn’t need another with her own citizens.  That Redcoat major had to be very aware of what his distant commanders in Boston would think about his actions that night. 

Revere played the situation for all it was worth, shouting, “The bell’s a’rining! The town’s alarmed and you’re all dead men!”  He had no idea why the bells were ringing, they could have been warning of fire or some other disaster.  He had no idea what those gunshots were about either. He just took advantage of the situation.  Scaring the British wasn’t his mission, it was just something he improvised on the spot. Honestly, what did he have to lose?

The British decided that discretion was the better part of valor, a wise military decision. They released their prisoners, including Revere, and headed back to Boston post haste, happy to be away from the uncouth and unruly colonials.

Palin’s assertion that Revere’s mission was to warn the British that they could take “our” guns when they pried them from “our” cold dead hands is complete provable bullshit – despite the fact that her supporters are still trying to get into her pants by changing Wikipedia to give her version support (funny how these folks sneer at Wikipedia, but then immediately try to use it to validate their own position, but I digress).

Her original statement is the kind of shallow garbled Mickey Mouse nonsensical version of history that you get from a cursory glance at a few information signs in a tourist stop, or a half-remembered jumble of words you heard from the park ranger. 

I know my history.

Yeah, my ass. 

Her follow-up statement is pure rationalization and nothing more. It’s the twisting of a person hoist on their own petard like the class nerd hung from a locker by the back of his underpants – a feeling that I’m quite sure a pretty popular little has-been beauty queen is most unfamiliar with. Doesn’t feel too damned good, does it, Sarah?

And in a shout-out, gotcha type of question that was asked of me…”

Ah, yes.  And there it is. The question was a gotcha – as are all questions that Palin can’t answer. That’s what a beauty queen says when she loses the pageant, the questions were unfair! The Judges were biased! The stage was crooked! The other girls cheated!  I tap danced my ass off! My boobs are perky! My makeup is perfect! I played a flawless version of the Star Spangled Banner on Kazoo! It’s not my fault! 

It’s not just the lamestream media, oh no, it’s some random American who just happened to ask Palin, “What have you seen today, what do you think, what do you read?” That’s what an insecure jock says when they drop an easy lob during an expo game, “the sun was in my eyes!”  We’re all against her, the media, the internet, the voters, the universe, some random person in the crowd.

This form of thinking is a habit with people like Palin.

It’s the result of a creationist worldview.  Creationism not only colors what you think, it colors how you think.  The symptoms are a manifestation of defective reasoning ability, a cognitive malfunction, a chronic intellectual misfire.  People who can dismiss the entire body of modern science to embrace the creationist worldview display an aggressive willingness to rationalize all kinds of nonsense and cling to those false constructs despite all evidence to the contrary.  From holocaust denial, to climate change denial, to birtherism, and truthiness, to irrational hatred and bigotry, to politics … to revision of well documented and established American history.  So much so, that they will consider themselves greater experts (I know my history) than actual historians, scientists, and researchers. 

Any contradiction or correction or criticism from actual experts is dismissed as “elitism.”

She doesn’t make mistakes, the media does, the viewers do, people who laugh at her do, people who disagree with her do, but she does not make mistakes. Ever.

Palin is a creationist, and it shows.

It shows in every action she takes and every insecure word she speaks.

Before her nomination as John McCain’s running mate, she managed to keep her mental aberrations more or less in check.  As my friend and fellow writer, Eric, at Standing on the Shoulders of Giant Midgets, said, she was a small person on a small stage.  But her nomination and subsequent unearned popularity has removed any restraints she once might have had and given unfettered rein to her narcissism.

She has become the Charlie Sheen of American politics.


  1. Just discovered your blog. And I LIKE it.

  2. Excellent, excellent post! Thank you!

  3. WOW, you just blew me away with your post...EXCELLENT!!!

  4. Perfectly said. Let get you some more hits.

  5. This was a conversation on my FB after I posted a NPR link to Palin's Justification rationalization... Delete if it's too long...

    ME: Justification rationalization... A "gotcha question"? Puuuuuleeeeeeeze! Admit it, Sarah, YOU ARE STUPID!

    KY: I was thinking that the Know everything Media and the rest of the folks judging Sarah are the "Stupid" ones. After all she just spoke the truth.

    KY: Liberals are funny. I was referencing an article in the LA Times that agreed with Sarah. Last I checked Fox and the LA Times are on the opposite ends of the left/right spectrum. I think it's disgusting the way liberals attack the woman because they disagree, the name calling is just ridiculous...

    ME: KY, why would I, as a liberal, attack her if I agreed? Also, I wouldn't characteriz it as attacks... more like highlighting her stupidity...

    She goes around posting webposts with target circles around people who disagree with her... and that's ok? She whines and cries every time she says something patently stupid, because quite frankly, she is stupid and she is a whiner... She resigned as the Governor of Alaska to fend off the investigation regarding her abuse of power and then become a tabloid/reality show fixture... I think that's why liberals make fun of her!

    Know how you can tell Sarah is going to say something stupid? Her lips move....

    KY: John, I believe it is wrong to call people names, no good can come from it. Maybe it makes you feel superior by doing so, if you don't like what someone says, don't listen, change the channel, whatever, but posting videos and calling out individuals as been stupid is just childish. Just my opinion (and I don't think Sarah Palin is a good candidate for anything to include dog catcher). : )

    ME: KY, first of all, I don't portray myself as superior than anyone. The list of things that I have screwed up in my life is long and avilable for public scrutiny... and if I were to screw up a historical fact (over and over and over again!) I would probably learn to keep my mouth shut. Likewise, if I were to become a public official I would make sure I was worthy of public recognition.

    Yes, I could change the channel, not listen, whatever... But I choose to take advantage of the free, unlimited entertainment and comedy value she provides.... and as childish as it may seem, it keeps me entertained, and I'm rather childish anyway. I kind of feel that at this point in my life I can pretty much be as stupid or childish as I choose to be... I have put down police officials, General Officer's, politicians and many others here... and I will continue to do so...

    I hate to say it but if you are offended then just ignore my posts... the choice is up to you.

    And for the record, she makes herself look even more stupid by trying to justify and rationalize what she said... frankly, because she is stupid.

    ME: And, also for the record, I said that Weiner is a dick...

  6. I saw a comment elsewhere that her Paul Revere answer was exactly the type a teacher might get from an eighth grader who hadn't been keeping up in class and was put on the spot.

  7. I also just discovered your blog - and I also (too) like it!

    Great post. I will be back. In a good way.

  8. The woman is an oxygen thief.
    Oh and ,kamikazi, enjoyed the interchange.

  9. Sometimes I like you. Sometimes I hate you. But now, even when I hate you, I will like you.

    This is an astounding post, one that should be read by every undecided voter in the next 18 months.

  10. @Kristen - bi-winning!

  11. Jim, that glass is half full. Palin has finally said something that, when you sift it, take the words apart and put them back together in a totally different context, might be true from a certain point of view. This is progress!

  12. See, now I feel like Luke Skywalker when Obi Wan told him Darth Vader was actually his dad.

    From a certain point of view!


  13. As much as I despise Palin, she was right that the British were looking to destroy stored arms, although she was wrong in saying Revere was sent specifically to warn about this.

    By 1775 Massachusetts had been declared to be in a state of rebellion by Parliament. General Thomas Gage, military Royal governor of Massachusetts, received orders to take action against the rebellion and to confiscate and destroy military supplies local militia units were stockpiling.

    His orders to Lieutenant Colonel Francis Smith on April 18, 1775, noted "Having received intelligence, that a quantity of Ammunition, Provisions, Artillery, Tents and small Arms, have been collected at Concord, for the Avowed Purpose of raising and supporting a Rebellion against His Majesty, you will March with a Corps of Grenadiers and Light Infantry, put under your Command, with the utmost expedition and Secrecy to Concord, where you will seize and distroy all Artillery, Ammunition, Provisions, Tents, Small Arms, and all Military Stores whatever."

    Smith failed, as the rebels had learned of Gage's orders and had carried off most of their stores by the time his troops (about 700) had arrived, although the British destroyed what they could find, which wasn't much.

    It should be noted that in September 1774 Gage had sent troops to remove provincial gunpowder from a magazine in what is now Somerville, Massachusetts. He was successful, but it set off a reaction later known as the Powder Alarm. He also attempted to confiscate some arms at Salem in February of 1775, but this time he failed.

  14. You are correct, of course, Vince. And I'd love to hear Sarah Palin's version of the Powder Alarm.

    I glossed over a number of historical points because I wanted to stick to Palin's statement.

  15. I was just imaging this as a history lecture in high school - what more I would have gotten out of history class than the dry, rote history-by- the-numbers way I was taught.

  16. I was at a doctor's office today where the TV is always, always tuned to FoxNews (kinda the lobby of hell, but the doctor herself is awesome). It was everything I could do not to say, "What the fuck did she just SAY?" when her justification was broadcast.

    Seriously? I think I would vote for damn near ANY politician at this point who would simply say, "Hey, I screwed up. I apologize. This is what I should've said, and what I've learned from this incident." Then again, that's the way that honor and integrity would respond, and that doesn't make for nifty sound bites so we'll never see it on TV.

    I finally caught up to the current day on your blog, Jim. It's been one heck of a journey, and you've given me a lot to think about - and a lot to cheer for. Thank you for making that decision several years ago to start Stonekettle Station.

  17. This piece was very well written...held my attention to the end! Just discovered you, too!

  18. Holy flippin' cow!@#$% That was truly magnificent. Please, please, please do NOT stop writing about her. Please. I promise to tell everyone I meet about your blog and will link it in every way I can (though I will admit I live in very rural, very wacky, no-government-needed-ever, Obama-is-a-'n' word-and-everyone-who-voted-for-him-is-a-liberal-pinko-fag-who-drives-a-Subaru, Wyoming). On second thought, I may not tell the guys at the ranch who make the above comments to my husband on an hourly basis. I can be such chicken. And we do need the money from his job. That being said, I do proudly drive a Subaru.
    But back to my comment...this post was PRICELESS. Truly.
    THANK YOU!!!

  19. "Jim, that glass is half full. Palin has finally said something that, when you sift it, take the words apart and put them back together in a totally different context, might be true from a certain point of view. This is progress!"

    Presumeably, the optimum point of view to declare this "progress" would be through a periscope installed by a proctologist...

  20. Why couldn't the silly woman just say something innocuous like "How amazingly rich in history we are".
    She seethes stupid.

  21. She's digging her own political grave one shovelful at a time.

  22. AHHH, Vince beat me to it. I wanted to add that the arms the Redcoats were specifically looking to confiscate were cannons wich are generally illegal for proivate citizens to own in the US today.

    Or is Sarah advocating for the right to beat 155mm artillery? o.O

  23. Outstanding!

    It seems the sanity of our citizens and politicians dwindles a little more each week.

  24. "Hasta, lasagna" ?


  25. Although you seem like a dog person, I think someone threw an angry cat in your face when you were a child. And you liked it.
    This Sarah Palin/Paul Revere article/rant is only the second piece of yours that I have read.
    I will read more in the future.
    Thanks for sharing your wit.
    Thanks for having served our country.
    I hope you catch some salmon today.

  26. John, Vince,

    What I should have said was that the Redcoats were not coming to take individual arms. They were, however, confiscating stores of powder and cannon - and that organized militias in Massachusetts were being disbanded.

    As I said above, I deliberately glossed over things that did not pertain directly to Palin's statements (because, as certain people have noted, I'm wordy enough and tend to digress), however in doing so I simplified this portion of history too much and stated things in a manner that gave the wrong impression. Apologies.

  27. Jim, It looks like someone hacked your Stonekettle Station account. If you look at the comment just before mine someone used your account to comment. I can tell it isn't really you because it has the word "Apologies" in it.

  28. So what are you saying Jim?
    That she wouldn't know who Isreal Bissel is either????

  29. "I simplified this portion of history too much..."
    No you didn't. We are talking about responding to SP. You can't simplify too much when responding to something 'canned air head' said.
    As much as I appreciate your articulation and knowledge on a vast number of subjects, this is not the history channel or a Harvard history department blog. You can't and shouldn't go into every minute historical detail of the period.
    If folks reading this blog think in their wildest dreams SP had the tiniest clue about the cannons and militia in MASS. or anywhere else in 1775 they need a long vacation away from electronics.
    Any more would have been too much any less too little-it was just Wright!

  30. "So much so, that they will consider themselves greater experts (I know my history) than actual historians, scientists, and researchers."

    see: https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Dunning-Kruger_Effect

  31. Word Salad Sarah strikes again.

    I can't tell you how many times I've pointed out her idiocy to coworkers and been told "Well, at least she's hotter than Hillary Clinton."

    Oy. Sometimes I fear for the Republic...

    This is so high school. "If I vote for her, I might have a shot at her."

    Right. So you do. Then you wake up one morning hungover and find out she's still in your bed, she's got access to your bank account and you have this embarrassing tattoo on your hide with her name on it that will take you at least 4 years to get rid of. And NOW you get to go explain the situation to your smarter friends.

    No, thank you.

  32. Vince, John:

    Yeah, but look what you're doing and how Palin wins from it: she didn't know what she was talking about, was totally pulling half-remembered disused things she briefly memorized in second grade out of her ass, and clearly had no idea about what was going on with cannons being confiscated or militias disbanded except insofar as whatever residuals she retained from elementary school had all bled together into the muck she was dredging from to give her wrong answer. And now you guys have gone and put more thought into her answer than she did when she gave it, and in doing so have inadvertently legitimized her jack-knifed train of thoughts. What you've pointed out is now retroactively what she was talking about the entire time even though you can go back to her statements and she wasn't talking about what you're talking about, either.

    Not that you shouldn't stick to facts, but thanks.

    See, the thing that's both comical and scary about this is the farcical way the Palinistas have gone to re-writing history to agree with her. If they aimed higher than getting into an edit war on Wikipedia it might be Night Of The Living Dead instead of Zombieland, if you get the analogy--horrific instead of horror-comedic. The mindset we're talking about, after all, is the one shared by the guys in the Kremlin who airbrushed disgraced Communists out of photographs of Stalin back in the day, the Orwellian mindset of people for whom the sanctity of the Dear Leader is more important than the unknowable truth of whether or not we've always been at war with Eastasia; the only difference (happily) is that the Palinistas are a bunch of boobs, but may the Furies have mercy on us if they're ever joined by anyone with a scratch of sense or if this country becomes such an idiocracy that the Palinistas are the smart ones.

    I guess what I'm getting at is that this may be the wrong context for being pedantic. Yeah, the Brits were dealing with an incipient insurrection by detaining people, defanging colonial militias that might turn against soldiers keeping the peace, suppressing protests and speech and all the other things one might expect law enforcement to do on the even of riot and rebellion. Yeah (as Jim pointed out), when Paul Revere was captured, he did what a good insurrectionist ought to and bullshitted, sowing disinformation to the enemy and taking advantage of some events that were (to some degree) coincidental to and essentially unrelated to his mission to warn insurrection leaders of the arrival of suppression forces and their imminent arrest. But we all know that this is neither what Palin said nor is it what she meant to say. Explaining how what Palin didn't say nor meant to say was nonetheless still true "from a certain point of view" (to use Megan's Return Of The Jedi reference) only provides her with a skein of intellectual cover she doesn't deserve but will assuredly seize as part of her and her followers' willingness to throw truth in the memory hole for the sake of her political aggrandizement.

  33. And, Eric, your dissertation didn't give SP way more blog/comment space than she deserves? Hoisted, dude, on your own petard.

  34. For those who are hard of reading, here's a pictorial representation of Sarah Palin's version of Paul Revere's Ride

  35. Anonymous: no, it didn't. It gave her exactly as much space as she deserves on this particular subject to that particular point in time.

    Earlier this year (in February, if I recall correctly), I informally joined the bloggers who declared a monthlong moratorium on mentioning Palin. I have occasionally, nevertheless, posted the occasional comment at places like Deus Ex Malcontent since then, although my blog hasn't featured a Palin post until today (sort of). The "sort of" qualifier is necessary because I started a post about Palin's revisionist followers only to be beaten to the punch by Chez Pazienza; the surviving reference can be found here with the Gary Numan video clip originally scheduled for today.

    I've spilled plenty of pixels over Palin, Anon. I think she's a horrible person, a potentially dangerous political figure, and a symptom of much of what's wrong with American culture today. She is a joke I take pretty seriously, a ridiculous figure who isn't beneath scorn; it's tempting to ignore her, but that carries some risk. She probably doesn't deserve attention or commentary, but as Clint Eastwood says in Unforgiven, deserve's got nothin' to do with it.

    My petard remains unexploded and indeed unlit, and I'm afraid your snark is misdirected and misplaced. Dude.

  36. I figured I'd let you respond first, Eric, before I said anything.

    Anonymous, it should also be pointed out that Eric is the Eric I specifically mentioned in the final paragraph of this particular post, and that I very much look forward to his lengthy and thoughtful comments - and I'm disappointed when he only makes a one line statement because I feel like I didn't do enough to stimulate conversation.

    Eric, Vince, and John The Scientist (and the rest of the UCF bloggers) often make me feel dumb (and therefor make me work twice as hard) and I would be horrified if they ever stopped trying to keep me and each other honest.

  37. Jim, FWIW, sometimes I don't respond or only offer up a single line because I think you pretty much covered it in the post. And thank you for the compliments.

  38. Just found you via a comment on Gryphen's blog. Love it! Will return again and again.

  39. It’s the result of a creationist worldview. Creationism not only colors what you think, it colors how you think. The symptoms are a manifestation of defective reasoning ability, a cognitive malfunction, a chronic intellectual misfire. People who can dismiss the entire body of modern science to embrace the creationist worldview display an aggressive willingness to rationalize all kinds of nonsense and cling to those false constructs despite all evidence to the contrary. From holocaust denial, to climate change denial, to birtherism, and truthiness, to irrational hatred and bigotry, to politics … to revision of well documented and established American history. So much so, that they will consider themselves greater experts (I know my history) than actual historians, scientists, and researchers.

    THIS. You completely nailed it. Excellent post!

  40. My take: Sarah had been half-listening to the guide. She was more interested in the press and signing autographs. When asked the question, she took a bunch of words she had heard the guide say and mashed them together. She didn't really know the context or what the guide said. So she remembered something about taking arms away, but didn't have a clue what that was about, but the 2nd Amendment is always a good bet. Sarah didn't know what weapons the British were going for, so she assumed it was the individual weapons of the Minute Men, total nonsense. BTW the cannons were four brass cannons stolen from the British. Brass cannons are lighter than iron, thus more prized and Gen. Gates wanted them back. (He didn't get them). Two of the cannons are still extant and after the Revolutionary War were named The Adams and The Hancock after the two gentlemen the British also didn't get.

  41. "Explaining how what Palin didn't say nor meant to say was nonetheless still true "from a certain point of view" (to use Megan's Return Of The Jedi reference) only provides her with a skein of intellectual cover she doesn't deserve but will assuredly seize as part of her and her followers' willingness to throw truth in the memory hole for the sake of her political aggrandizement."

    Eric, brilliant. I don't think I've ever heard SPs nattering so well summarized.
    The mere fact that anyone outside of her immediate family is aware of her existence is appalling.

  42. Eric, I wasn't trying to talk about Sarah being right from a certain point of view - heaven forbid.

    No, I was trying to point out to the diehard Libertarians who, like the dog in the Farside cartoon hear "blah, blah, blah Second Amendment blah blah" in her idiotic answer, that EVERY right has a boundary condition, and Sarah talking about the 2nd Ammendment in reference to artillery is extremely idiotic. We've decided that the 2nd Amendment boundary of "fire" in a crowded room is artillery (and to a certain extent automatic weapons,
    though those can still be had with lots of hoops and permits). Even if you read all of history through that particular libertarian lens, Sarah is STILL wrong, and it's worth thinking about how wrong she is in order to judge her seriousness. If those who defend her seriously advocate the private right to own Long Toms, then they are alienating even small "l" libertarians such as me as well as more mainstream conservatives who understand that all rights come to and end at the edge of someone's proverbial nose.

  43. Eric, Vince, and John The Scientist (and the rest of the UCF bloggers) often make me feel dumb [...]

    "The doctor said I wouldn't have so many nose bleeds if I kept my finger outta there."

    I got nothing to add, Jim. You nailed it, as usual. I've cut way back on my news watching because I'm seriously afraid that, one of these days, I'll see Palin (or certain other members of the far right wing) and will not be able to suppress the urge to go all Elvis on my TV. And I don't even own a gun.

  44. Don't remember how I found your blog (maybe a friend on FB), but love this post.

    And if you're still into writing, come on over to a writers' blog. We have wonderful conversations.

  45. you know every time i think Palin can't get any more idiotic she proves me wrong. now the woman is going to the Sudan. i sincerely hope she stops off in Kenya.
    i am sure she and Frankie of Samaritan's Purse would be welcomed with open arms by the African Obamas.
    yeah stop by and tell' em what you really think of the President. i double dare your dumb ass.

  46. I think Sarah is more of an opportunist than a creationist. She's just spewing the creationism stuff so that she can get that demographic to support her.

  47. I think you're being too mean to Charlie Sheen.

    And there's a lot of confusion over what was really going on that night in the general populace. However, you'd expect someone who just went through the refresher program to score higher than 50%.

    I heard a fairly scholarly review of her response that, if you accept that everybody, even the rebels of the time, were British, accept that "bell ringing" is a euphemism for "spreading the alarm" (and coincidentally P. Revere was a bell ringer for his church), and that we accept that at the time, except for size, flintlock and cannon were similar technology, plus accept that the message she was talking about was basically metaphorical for the discussion going on at the time, then P. Revere was preaching to the choir, then yes, she was correct.

    But that's a lot of stretches you have to accept to get there. For a scholarly review, I wouldn't want to have to defend that in front of a committee.

  48. It doesn't matter, what Palin said was utter gibberish even if she accidentally did have a basic fact right (the fact that the Brits were marching to seize guns -- albeit not *personal* firearms). English is clearly not the lady's native language given that she mangles it worse than George W. Bush did. I wonder if "Snowbilly" is a language like Redneck or Brooklyn? Curious penguins are... curious!

    - Badtux the Snarky Penguin

  49. Can't we just let this half-wit ride off into the sunset and be done with her... or would that be too easy. I find this type of stuff amusing, but in a "reality" television way. This is no more news than it is an excuse to not see the real news. It detracts from the general public's ability (and where with all) to digest the truly important facts and make the really important decisions. For lack of a better word, it is mind candy - and leads us farther away from the excruciating truth that our country is #!?&$#'d. Consider what news you might have had the opportunity to grapple with if you had not wasted your time with this tripe. How about the story of the mountain of new federal debt laid on us by, say, the current socialist regime in Washington? Did CNN have that story yesterday?

    Thanks for sharing the proof that Sarah Palin is a complete moron... It's incredibly insightful! And the more the liberal media continues to shine a spotlight on her - the less opportunity we voters have to see just how messed up the (rest of the system, Obama administration, liberal politicians, insert your favorite here) is...

  50. Jim, I’m supremely happy that you have continued to give Caribou Barbie ink. I am in love with your analysis of her idiocy and would sorely miss it were you to stop. She makes me feel stabby in the extreme and even though mainstream ink has almost reached to point of ignoring her antics, you continue to amuse and entertain. You also provide me with some zingers that I happily steal and use during the many round and round and round conversations I have with her fans.

    Please continue, she is such a delicious idiot, and even if her inane observations on, well, any topic, is well below your level of commentary, it serves to mightily amuse the part of America that is still capable of analytical thought. Christ on a crutch, I can’t wait to call her “the Charlie Sheen of American politics”. Winning.

  51. Anonymous@2:36AM

    For future reference: What I choose to spend my time on is not something you get to vote on. Period.

  52. Someone mentioned Israel Bissell. Let note that he rode from Watertown to Worcester in 2 hours and his horse died from under him as it rode it so hard. That's roughly 35 miles as the crow flies, but he would have had to go around rivers, lakes, over big granite rock escarpments, through woods, and climbing, always climbing, as the elevation at Worcester is higher than Watertown. I live and work in the area, so I'm impressed. Sometimes it takes me 2 hours in a car just to get from Cambridge to Worcester. That was a hell of a ride Israel took for liberty. Too bad Sarah's so dumb she can't try to snowbilly-grift the horseman vote.

  53. nice

    nice blog too

  54. Thanks for taking the time out of our wondrous Alaskan summer to write this- enjoyed it immensely- and an even bigger thanks to my friend Kate (and that handy facebook icon) for introducing me to this blog (hope you got that pellet, Kate).

  55. Nick from the O.C.June 8, 2011 at 10:51 PM

    “Complex problems have simple, easy to understand, wrong answers.” -- H.L. Mencken

    verification word: PRORIFE

    Must resist racist stereotyping...

  56. Jim, (and I say this with great affection), If anything I've ever said has made you feel dumb, you're a fucking moron.


  57. Well, thanks for making me feel dumb for saying it in the first place. Jerk.

  58. Hey, wow! I learned something about American history today. I will admit that before today my recollection of the story of Paul Revere pretty much echoed what Ms. Palin said.

    On the other hand, 18th Century American history wasn't exactly on the reading list here in Nova Scotia.

    Thanks Jim!

  59. Hey, wow! I learned something about American history today. I will admit that before today my recollection of the story of Paul Revere pretty much echoed what Ms. Palin said.

    On the other hand, 18th Century American history wasn't exactly on the reading list here in Nova Scotia.

    Thanks Jim!

  60. Nova Scotia? That's in New York, right?


  61. Excellent take down of the tundra twit, Jim. I wish one of her kids blows the gasket during this stupid tour right in front of the stupid press and their stupid cameras and calls her out for the grifter she is.

  62. @Anonymous, June 8, 2011 2:36 AM: okay, so (1) like Jim (and probably every other human being on the planet), I think I'm the only one who gets to decide what's a waste of my time and/or how to waste my time. I mean, assuming for the sake of an argument that Palin really is nothing but a sideshow (an assessment I don't wholly agree with), I've also taken the time to respond to spammers, ponder the ninjitsu potential of Wookies and write flash fiction about human-undead relations (okay, the last wasn't a waste of time, it was a professional gig). You might say I'm a renaissance man.

    Or you might say I'm a socialist, which brings us to (2), the ludicrousness of your reference to "the current socialist regime in Washington". I mean, really? So the White House and Senate basically combine a semi-Nixonian domestic policy with what is essentially an Eisenhowerian foreign policy and then the Republicans appear to be beholden to a bunch of libertarian anarchists and that's your "socialist regime"? I don't think that word means what you think it does. As for "liberal politicians": ain't that many of those in D.C. these days either, and the only one the press is paying any attention to lately is the guy who posted his dong to Twitter--so, yeah, I guess there's that in the "less-time-wasting" category....

  63. Creationism begins at home. The nice thing about the world being created is that some folks get the idea that they can create some of it themselves just by opening their mouths and talking.

    Should somebody call the lie to their claims they will frequently defend the first statement by telling ANOTHER lie. The actual facts being so irrelevant as to be unworthy of reference, study or understanding. Hell, Sarah Palin should have been able to give a better answer based upon simply reading the free pamphlet at the door or skimming the Wikipedia page on the drive over.

    The actual facts don't matter to her or her minions. If you're on her team what she says is good even if she tells you to drink the poisoned koolaid.

  64. Just discovered your blog....wow! I read every word of your article on the Failbus and I am looking forward to more.....Very well written. I'll be back!


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