Jun 13, 2011

Shedding Hazy Light on a Midnight Ride

(NYTimes) The potential presidential candidate Sarah Palin has been criticized for her recent description of Paul Revere as “he who warned the British that they weren’t going to be taking away our arms, by ringing those bells.”
The comment was debated in news pages and on cable television in the first week of June, but perhaps nowhere was the controversy fiercer than on Wikipedia, where rival versions of the Paul Revere story played out thereafter.
In the first 10 days of June, the Paul Revere article there had half a million page views.
Ms. Palin’s implication — that Revere’s was a ride to warn the British overlords rather than the fearful colonists, with a gun-rights message rather than a self-government message, and that he used bells rather than his lungs — is very much in the tradition of the telling of the Midnight Ride, which has long been used as an exercise in mythmaking. Continued