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Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Rewriting Paul Revere

Sarah Palin changes history yet again.

Even down in little New Zealand, we know the story of the great silversmith who dropped his work to gallop through a bunch of towns and warn the rebels that the British were coming to raid their munitions.

On her recent visit to Boston, Sarah Palin has told a different yarn.  Paul Revere, she says, rang bells along the route to warn the British!

Lots of people have turned to their history books, and said, Wrong, wrong, wrong.  Others have turned to the Wikipedia page devoted to Paul Revere -- a quiet site, getting about 2,000 hits a day, on average -- and edited it to match what Sarah says.

It's gratifying for Wikipedia, as the hit rate has zoomed, but not so great for those who like history to be accurate.

It has also provided fodder for those who like to poke fun.  Witness a hilarious adaptation of Henry Wadworth Longfellow's famous poem, adjusted to suit world history the way Sarah sees it.  The poster (composer?) was Ben Grenman, and you can read it in The New Yorker.

Listen my children and you shall hear
Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere -- it begins --
He who warned and, uh, the arms
And bells were rung out as alarms
To tell the British we were here,
And had our guns, and to beware ...

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