When I started to write blog posts, a few months ago, I was determined not to touch contemporary American politics. Thinking and writing about history, I like to believe, is probably the best way to arm oneself against the absurdities of political discourse in this country. But what to do when politics comes crashing into your own world (medieval history) in the form of Sarah Palin’s bizarre invocation of “blood libel”? Fortunately I don’t need to answer that question: over at The Economist, the inestimable Matt Steinglass turned the whole sorry episode into a meditation on the real blood libel, medieval Europe, Chaucer, and the uses of language, with yet another reason why to study Dutch thrown in as a bonus. Enjoy.