There's a brilliant scene in Woody Allen's Annie Hall where Allen and girlfriend Diane Keaton are standing in line at a movie theater in front of an arrogant, pompous know-it-all whose misinformed pontifications about the writer Marshall McLuhan's work are driving Allen crazy. He admonishes the blowhard and tells him he doesn't know anything about McLuhan:
Man: "Oh, really? Well, it just so happens I teach a class at Columbia called "TV, Media and Culture." So I think my insights into Mr. McLuhan, well, have a great deal of validity!
Alvy Singer (Allen): Oh, do ya? Well, that's funny, because I happen to have Mr. McLuhan right here, so, so, yeah, just let me...
[pulls McLuhan out from behind a nearby poster]
Alvy Singer: come over here for a second... tell him!
Marshall McLuhan: I heard what you were saying! You know nothing of my work! You mean my whole fallacy is wrong. How you got to teach a course in anything is totally amazing!
Alvy Singer: Boy, if life were only like this!
Well, if only we could present Paul Revere to Tea Party queen Sarah Palin he'd surely echo McLuhan in telling her she knows nothing of his work. And, he'd probably be standing with the Statue of Liberty because she apparently knows nothing about either of them, or of most of our nation's history for that matter.
Up in Boston last Thursday The Wasilla Wonder was asked about Paul Revere's famed ride and she said he "warned the British that they weren't going to be taking away our arms. By ringing those bells and making sure as he's riding his horse through town to send those warning shots and bells that we were going to be secure and we were going to be free."
Palin's blunder, captured on video, quickly swept through the Internet. Taking a break from her "There's-No-Way-I'm Running-For-President-But-I'm-REALLY-Digging-All-This-Attention" bus tour, she appeared on Fox News Sunday and was asked by host Chris Wallace, "You realized that you messed up about Paul Revere, don't you?" And as only Sarah Palin could do, given her outsized ego and intellectual denial, she replied in her defense:
"You know what? I didn't mess up about Paul Revere. "Part of his ride was to warn the British that we're already there. That, hey, you're not going to succeed. You're not going to take American arms... Here is what Paul Revere did. He warned the Americans that the British were coming... and they were going to try take our arms and we got to make sure that we were protecting ourselves and shoring up all of ammunitions and our firearms so that they couldn't take it,'' Palin said yesterday. 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 we're already there... You are not going to beat our own well-armed persons, individual, private militia that we have. He did warn the British."
As my grandmother used to say, oy vey! Too bad the Fox-friendly Wallace let her off the hook too easily and didn't press her on the facts. Had she been on a real network, not the GOP Softball Channel, she would've earned the public embarrassment and humiliation she so rightly deserved.
Will someone please get this poor woman a history book?! Just a week earlier she gave a convoluted explanation of the Statue of Liberty's origin and significance. I'm not sure who's more ignorant of American history, Palin or her Tea Party nemesis Rep. Michele Bachmann, who a few months ago claimed the "Shot heard round the world" was in New Hampshire, not Massachusetts. What is with these Tea Baggers? Is being dumb a requirement?
To set the record straight for Grizzly Mama, here's what PaulRevereHouse.org has to say about the historic ride: "On the evening of April 18, 1775, Paul Revere was sent... to ride to Lexington, Massachusetts, to warn Samuel Adams and John Hancock that British troops were marching to arrest them... On the way to Lexington, Revere "alarmed" the country-side, stopping at each house, and arrived in Lexington about midnight. As he approached the house where Adams and Hancock were staying, a sentry asked that he not make so much noise. "Noise!" cried Revere, "You'll have noise enough before long. The regulars are coming out!" After delivering his message, Revere was joined by a second rider, William Dawes, who had been sent on the same errand by a different route. Deciding on their own to continue on to Concord, Massachusetts, where weapons and supplies were hidden, Revere and Dawes were joined by a third rider, Dr. Samuel Prescott. Soon after, all three were arrested by a British patrol."
So what's next for Palin as she glides her giant PalinMobile-of-Truthiness across America? Perhaps she's preparing for her next speech entitled The Gettysburg Address: Gen. Robert E. Lee's Finest Virginia Speech.