Huffpost Comedy
The Blog

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

Mark Axelrod Headshot

The Palin Borges Connection; or, What's History Got to Do With It?

Posted: Updated:

With all the commotion concerning Palin's alleged revisionist approach to Paul Revere, what has gone completely unnoticed is that her comment on Revere had more to say with Palin's admiration for the late Argentine fictionalist, Jorge Luis Borges, than anything else. It's something the political pundits and "lamestream" media missed entirely.

It's a little known fact that during Palin's many undergraduate years, when she wasn't davinning while wearing her Magen David, she was a perfervid reader of fiction and one of her favorite authors was Borges and one of her favorite books by Borges was the classic collection, Labyrinths.

Borges' collection of short stories, first published in English in 1962, paved the way for his eventual notoriety which, except for the unpardonable mistake of making Pinochet his friend, established him as one of the giants of Latin American fiction. That didn't go wasted on Palin who not only read Borges, but, in only her way, understood Borges and the one short story that stood out for her more than any other in that classic collection was that most protean of all short stories, Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius.

Now anyone who is even remotely interested in researching Palin's reading habits (Katie Couric notwithstanding) would know just how knowledgeable Palin was about Borges' work and not just Labyrinths, but almost all of Borges' oeuvre about which she wrote extensively in the University of Idaho's student journal, The Couch Potato. One of the most insightful pieces she published on Borges was "A Postmodern Approach to Fictional History in Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius and the Asceticism of Ezra Buckley" in which Palin brilliantly deconstructed the notion of history relative to the character, Ezra Buckley, in a way that the late Jacques Derrida wrote, "Je m'em branle!" No argument there. Not only that, but Palin herself became a major contributor to The Ezra Buckley Foundation, "a foundation devoted to the destruction of history via the creation of false historical events."

So, for that small minority of us outside the lamestream media who know of Palin's eclectic background that includes a perfervid interest in Borges, it wasn't a surprise when Palin was asked the "gotcha" question, "What have you seen today and what are you going to take away from your visit?" that she immediately recalled the stylistic aplomb of her mentor Borges and in an instant decided not to give the ecumenical answer that everyone would have anticipated, but, rather, responded in typical Borgesian fashion by saying, "He who warned uh, the British that they weren't gonna be takin' away our arms, uh by ringing those bells, and um, makin' sure as he's riding his horse through town to send those warning shots and bells that we were going to be sure and we were going to be free, and we were going to be armed."

That response would have brought a smile to Borges' lips.