A reader writes:
I dislike Sarah Palin (almost) as much as you do, but her March Madness post chock full of violent metaphors was written not out of the blue but rather as a sarcastic response to press/blogospheric criticism that she had gone too far with her "crosshairs" and "don't retreat, reload" political rhetoric. It's not just a random post proving that she can't even talk about sports without discussing over-the-top violence. Rather, she purposefully, and sarcastically, filled the post with as much battle imagery as possible to show that the type of metaphors she had been using in her political rhetoric -- and that she was being criticized for in the press and in the blogosphere -- are in fact commonplace in sports lingo.
I agree with you that her rhetoric is dangerous and over-the-top, and perhaps even that one of the constants in her worldview is violence. I don't think this post of hers proves it, though, at least not in the way you suggest. Battle imagery and violent metaphors in relation to sports are commonplace and, in my opinion, largely harmless. If Palin's post had actually been about sports, then I don't think it would be worth discussing. But the subtext of her post is that there is no difference between the use of battle imagery in sports talk and in political rhetoric. Plainly, there is. That Palin does not seem to recognize that is, I think, the more disturbing implication of her March Madness post.
Yep, that context matters, and changes things a little. But if anything - for the worse, as my reader explains. The truth is: that kind of language is out on a limb even in the most gung-ho sports-speak, let alone politics. No one, moreover, is going to pull out a gun while playing in a basketball game. American history is littered with examples of people pulling out a gun in politics.
(Photo: Jason Young.)