Two points about the Tucson Massacre and the subsequent furor over Sarah Palin's use of the term "blood libel". Please note that neither of these points have anything whatsoever to do with my personal politics:
  1. What's being written about Jared Lee Loughner reminds me an awful lot about what was written about Yaakov-Jack Tytell. Neither have a well-formed political ideology as much as a penchant for extremism and violence (see my Jewish Week article on Tytell here). Yet, in the case of both Tytell and Loughner, various attempts were made to see them as the product of right-wing incitement and extremism, i.e. to tar entire groups with the brush of a couple of whack-jobs. It's disingenuous, to say the very least.
  2. Palin clearly misused the term "blood libel." Not, though, that emotionally loaded terms are misused all the time. I'm not just talking about "Nazi," which Seinfeld defanged, or "witch hunt," which no doubt offends the Wiccan community. Take "Apartheid": Regardless of what one thinks of the current arrangements in the West Bank, it does not come anywhere near what black South Africans suffered. So why aren't Mandela and Tutu protesting the misuse of this term? Is it really all that difficult for a smug and snarky Palin-basher (I'm looking at you, Colbert) to look up "Apartheid" on Wikipedia?

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