Sarah Palin Immortalized With Remington 870 Pump

In the shadow of Capitol Hill, a forgotten patriot consigned to America’s trash heap of the unemployed has created a new national symbol that celebrates the values Sarah Palin holds true.

A man who goes only by the name of Dale has cast Sarah Palin as the lost daughter of the World War II heroine, Rosie the Riveter – but with a twist.

Norman Rockwell’s classic 1943 Saturday Evening Post cover of Rosie shows a rivet gun in the lap of our plucky aircraft assembly-line worker during her lunch break. Dale has replaced it with a Remington 870 pump shotgun.

Dale explained in an email to us…


I replaced Rosie’s rivet gun with a Remington 870 12 gauge pump action shotgun, affectionately known as a “street sweeper” by law enforcement and military users. This classic weapon has a proud history for the defense minded everywhere and to my mind exemplified Palin’s unflagging support for our second amendment rights and preparedness to clean up the country while defending against all enemies foreign and domestic. A call to vigilance, not violence.

Dale calls his stunning poster, Sarah Para Bellum, inspired by the Latin maxim si vis pacem, para bellum: “If you wish for peace, prepare for war.”


Sarah Para Bellum

But there has been little peace for this graying man, who is now a numeral in the database of America’s unemployed compiled by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Shortly after Sarah Para Bellum appeared on the conservative web site, Free Republic, a writer with the screen name Devtob, launched into a rant against Dale’s illustration on the liberal blog, the Daily Kos. Devtob not only slammed Dale for his Rosie cum Sarah Palin, he mistakenly identified the pump-action Remington 870 as an over/under (since corrected).

As Dale observed in an email:

The old adage applies, what do you expect from people who don’t know which end of the tube the round comes out of?


We thought Dale’s question deserved an answer, so we tracked down Devtob’s email address…

From: Irwin Greenstein [mailto:  ]
Sent: Monday, March 29, 2010 6:04 PM
Subject: Your Palin/Rosie piece


I’m working on an article about the Palin Rosie the Riveter poster. You identified the gun wrong. It’s not an over/under but a pump gun. Do you think this important mistake undermines the credibility of your story?

—–Original Message—–
Sent: Monday, March 29, 2010 6:38 PM
To: Irwin Greenstein
Subject: Re: Your Palin/Rosie piece


No. Had any of the commenters mentioned that minor mistake, I would have corrected it right away, rather than four months later. But better late than never.




—–Original Message—–
From: Irwin Greenstein [mailto:      ]
Sent: Monday, March 29, 2010 6:45 PM
Subject: RE: Your Palin/Rosie piece


OK, thanks. By the way, here’s another one: it’s not a purse on her lap but a so-called ammo box, used to store shells.



—–Original Message—–
Sent: Monday, March 29, 2010 7:52 PM
To: Irwin Greenstein
Subject: RE: Your Palin/Rosie piece


It looks like a purse, with the ammo box behind it. To me, anyway.


Dale revealed in a phone call with us that Devtob failed to follow professional journalistic protocol by contacting him directly for comment. Instead, Devtob decided to rely on his own amateur art (and firearms) credentials as he describes in his Daily Kos diatribe: Way back in college, I took several art history courses and learned about iconography in religious art, the symbolic meaning of flowers, animals, etc., that were part of most medieval and Renaissance paintings.


Norman Rockwell’s Rosie the Riveter

Another blog, Now & Then – An American Social History Project, also got it wrong. Published by the City University of New York, Josh Brown writes…

Dale seems to have understood this problem, at least in so far as he’s poured on the symbolism. Indeed, to compensate, his Sarah is what you might call symbolically overdetermined.  She’s laden with enough right-wing tchotchkes to, well, sink a battleship: death panel beer (or is it soda—some particularly virulent form of diet soda?), a crucifix, right to life and Reagan buttons, a shotgun, ammo, a bible, and a rattlesnake that mimics the original composition but is really the straw that breaks the symbol’s back.  Finally, Dale provides two phallic images (shotgun and snake) for Rockwell’s one (rivet gun)—and replaces Rosie’s coveralls, which might incriminate Sarah as a feminist or worse.

Although Mr. Brown is recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, which “demonstrates exceptional capacity for productive scholarship or exceptional creative ability in the arts,” he mistakenly identified the Blackberry in Sarah’s left hand with something called a death panel beer can, or virulent form of diet soda (must be a multiple-choice).

The formal, higher education of Devtob and Mr. Brown stand in sharp contrast to Dale’s boot-strapped studies.

“I’m fairly self-taught, but I’ve taken many courses and studied art with a couple of working portrait painters,” Dale said. “That and lots of life drawing courses. I’ve been drawing all my life and that’s always been something in the back of my mind because I’ve been able to accomplish what I wanted to do because life is what it is. I’ve worked in the graphic-arts industry, but my natural inclination is toward fine arts. I was a graphic artist, did that for about 40 years, although I’ve only held three, four jobs. The last job I held the company went belly up.”


Dale pays homage to Norman Rockwell’s famous Triple Self Portrait with this illustration of himself.

Dale noted in our conversation that Sarah Palin as Rosie the Riveter wasn’t originally his idea. It was inspired by an email from the editor of the online, All Right Magazine.

Still, the larger question looms: was Dale destined to render Sarah as Rosie?

“When I was 12 or 13, I was enamored of Michelangelo, studied him pretty intensely and at the time I lived with my grandparents,” Dale recalled. “I decided to decorate their basement wall with Isaiah from the Sistine Ceiling, and that’s what Rockwell based his Rosie the Riveter on.”

Rockwell’s depiction of Rosie paid homage to Michelangelo’s Prophet Isaiah on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. The likeness touched the hearts of Americans still stinging some 18 months after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor.

According to biblical scholars, Isaiah lived in the late eighth century BC. A member of the aristocracy, he preached compassion toward the downtrodden. He is credited with prophesying the coming of Jesus Christ.


Michelangelo’s Prophet Isaiah

When the image was on the cover of The Saturday Evening Post on May 29, 1943, astute readers were quick to notice the similarity between Rosie’s pose and that of Michelangelo’s depiction of the prophet Isaiah on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, wrote the New York Times.

Rockwell’s 52-by-40-inch oil painting of Rosie was based on a photo released by the Office of War Information in 1942. The real Rosie the Riveter was named Rose Will Monroe. She worked in a Michigan factory that built B-29 and B-24 bombers. Catapulted by a Kay Kyser pop tune of the same name, and a documentary, Rosie’s fame skyrocketed to the most popular icon of the war effort.

Likewise, the former Alaskan governor’s own star has shot up since her 2008 Vice Presidential run, making her the most popular woman in conservative politics.

“I was trying to relate how Sarah Palin fit into the Rosie the Riveter mold,” Dale said. “Rosie the Riveter was a testament to the women who helped the war effort by working in the factories. And Sarah Palin is trying to uphold the traditions of traditional America, which I think is something worth saving.”

Although the Remington 870 shotgun is the focal point of Sarah Para Bellum, Dale has populated the illustration with other icons that stand in for the objects in Rockwell’s Rosie the Riveter.

The backdrop to both illustrations is an American flag billowing in the wind, but other changes ensue.

The fold in the lap of Sarah’s dress holds three 12-gauge shells. The contour of the fold mirrors the rag in Rosie’s lap that protects her coveralls from the greasy rivet gun.

Dale substituted the air hose that curls up to Rosie’s rivet gun with a diamond-back rattler in acknowledgement of the “Don’t Tread on Me” flags from the Revolutionary War.

The assortment of pins and button on Rosie’s coveralls have been replaced with five buttons that express Palin’s energy policy “drill baby, drill” from her Vice President debate with Joe Biden. Another button on Palin says “choose life.” The others refer to President Reagan and an Old Testament verse. Dale also added a crucifix around Sarah’s neck.

Rockwell emphasizes Rosie’s can-do spirit by depicting her right foot crushing a copy of Hitler’s Mein Kampf. Dale replaced it with Saul Alinsky’s 1971 perennial handbook for grassroots organizing, Rules for Radicals.

Rosie’s right pocket is stuffed with something that appears to be a cloth, but Dale replaced it with a copy of the U.S. Constitution and a Bible.

Rockwell’s Rosie is looking away from the sandwich in her left hand, which Dale has exchanged for a Blackberry that reads “Death Panels” – a nod to the populist uprising that opposed the Obama health-care bill.

And Rosie’s lunch box with her name hand-painted on it? That’s been updated with an ammo box that reads, Sarah.

The Remington 870, though, may have also served as the inspiration for the difference in facial expressions between Rosie and Sarah.

The rivet gun seems to rouse in a Rosie a defiant air portrayed in partial profile, which challenges America’s foes to knock her off the block of wood she uses to sit on. But Sara, with her Remington 870, looks you straight in the eye, effectively saying “bring it on.”

“I wanted to show determination, and for the model of that I went back to Michelangelo,” Dale explained. “I wanted to get the expression of David at the moment of decision to fight Goliath or not.”

Irwin Greenstein is publisher of Shotgun Life. Please send your questions and comments to


Additional resources:

You can purchase Sarah Para Bellum here

Dale’s Out of Order blog

Remington’s Model 870

The Daily Kos essay

The Now & Then – An American Social History Project essay

All Right Magazine

Sarah Para Bellum on the Free Republic



  1. Matthew Hungate

    Long live Sarah Palan, 2012 Victory.
    Sarah is the only Politician that I have any faith in, Great Picture.

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