Thursday, August 6, 2009

Birthers Are Awesome

Some people get mad at birthers, and occasionally I'm no different. Most of the time, though, I think they're amazing. There's just something so grandly foolish about believing that Barack Obama's parents set him, as an infant, on a nearly 50-year course of immaculate deception on the one-in-billions shot that he'd become President of the United States. It's even nuttier when you realize he was born in an era when people still wanted to set the hoses on blacks who merely wanted to be present at the same part of a lunch counter as whites.

That's the great thing about conspiracies, though: making sense is always secondary to their being scary as hell. I remember reading a book by Richard "Detective John Munch" Belzer once in which he spent an early chapter explaining how the moon landing was part of a plot by the U.S. government to exploit space for some reason or other; then, in a later chapter, he explained how the moon landing was faked by the CIA. At no point during the book's editing did it seem like a big deal that the two chapters' both being "true" meant that either one or both were wrong.

The birther crowd operates on this level. No one fact means anything in relation to another fact so long as one of them seems to make sense. Obama had a non-American birth certificate to get him into Pakistan, but he had an American birth certificate to get him somewhere else. Somewhere, he had to forge a document, but he'd had a forged birth certificate all along anyway. Both these things make sense, so long as you're protean enough mentally to believe that two absolutes are simultaneously not.

Recently, their movement was aided and sabotaged by two things. The first is the "release" of Obama's Kenyan birth certificate, a wonderful farce of Photoshop and history to which they cleaved immediately with glee and then were forced to disavow (although certainly some members will always think it legitimate). It not only doesn't look real, it manages to fuck up every relevant fact. If it provided a passport for Obi Wan Kenobi and Photoshopped Alec Baldwin's head onto the body of Ewan MacGregor, then claimed that Kenobi was a US citizen because of the stamp of a Nazi Eagle, it might be more persuasive. It might also be less fictional.

The second sabotage came from one of the movement's leaders, Orly Taitz, a woman who inspires contempt on so many levels, from pure sense to generalized internet mockery. Honestly, I can't even tell whether to say, "Way to sound like you're a French airport," or mention that she's got the name of a stupid image meme involving a moronic-looking bird. All I can say, with assurance, is that she's fabulously stupid. She's stupid in the way TV producers hope stupid can be. They lick their lips fervently that someone will be aggressive or misspeak or just be nuts. She's all three. There are TV producers across America hoping to book her for another show, because they're afraid there's never going to be an orgy of idiot quite like her again. The only way she could top herself is by ripping her blouse open and showing her tits. And, really, that could still happen.

Recently, Orly went on some MSNBC show I don't watch and was just crazy. Here, watch it. This woman is fucking insane, just watch it:

I saw that interview and was reminded of a longish article about her in the OCWeekly that was also deeply satisfying for all your crazy needs. The whole article is worth the read, but here are some excerpts as teasers:
“And it’s just during this last election, I became really concerned because I came from a communist country. I saw the things that Obama is saying that really did not make sense and that concerned me. One, of course, that had to do with the all-civilian army. And I saw footage of children dressed in uniforms, saluting Obama and doing drills. That reminded me of young communists.”

“Taitz . . . kept making stranger and stranger assertions. At one point, she asked why the government had fined broadcasters for Janet Jackson’s ‘wardrobe malfunction,’ but didn’t intervene to force the media to report on Obama’s allegedly phony birth certificate.”

“It’s just fascinating,” says Bob Haggard, a frequent poster on Politijab’s Orly Taitz forum. “She runs around the country doing things that amount to absolutely nothing. She tells her followers that she ‘files’ all sorts of documents, but she never files anything. She drops stuff off.”

It’s a fairly exhaustive document of all the ways that Taitz may have crossed the line as a lawyer, from her out-of-court communications with judges to not-so-veiled calls for armed insurrection if the legal process doesn’t eventually get Obama removed. (In February, for example, the complaint alleges she posted, “The simple fact is that we are long overdue for another Rebellion in this nation, and I heartily endorse the idea of having one again very soon, preferably starting THIS year!”)
Picking on Orly is easy, though, so I'll leave it there. But what makes her interesting is just the level of derangement to which people are driven when they think their vision of the future is an entitlement, an evolutionary fait accompli. Orly is merely the most unhinged public avatar of millions of people who feel that God or Fate has destined them to never lose.

Their entire web of needy suppositions extenuates from the premise that Barack Obama could not have become president under any legitimate circumstances and that his doing so indicates a gross miscarriage of justice. That's why ultimately the birth certificate thing is irrelevant and hilarious. It doesn't matter that he's allegedly Kenyan; it's that he's president. The latter determines whatever the former crime is, because the latter must be the culmination of a crime — whatever crime. God himself could descend from heaven and whip these people back to the date of Obama's birth in Hawaii, show him coming out of his mother, and then suddenly the argument would switch to his father not being a citizen or to Hawaii's statehood never properly having been ratified. Or something about ACORN. If your premise rests on no reasoning and the reasoning is backed by no fact, you can just change it whenever you like: the only criterion is being able to make more shit up.

Hence the internal logic of a four-decade conspiracy of falsification about his identity to aid a fantastic bid for the presidency in a nation still teeming with racists. Because no plot short of something that labyrinthian and sinister could derail the natural course of human evolution toward Republicanism. Barack Obama can't win as the better candidate because he just can't; there's an international commie machine backing that. And voter fraud. Hell, all the blacks are in on it, except for the good ones who talk adenoidally and can't play basketball just like us.

The thing that makes this funnier is that these are the same people who couldn't stop shrieking "GET OVER IT!" whenever anyone on the left mentioned what a clusterfuck of non-democracy the 2000 election was. Say what you will about the angry left, but at least they had honest-to-God conspiracy ingredients to work with. There at least you had a Republican Secretary of State unlawfully kicking thousands of black people off the voter rolls for Conspiracy to Commit Blackness (probably by voting Democrat, again), a Brooks Brothers riot of conservative operatives agitating against a recount and essentially manufacturing "public" discontent with following the democratic process, a candidate's brother ordering that same SecState to certify the election results, then a largely conservative Supreme Court (many of whom owed their jobs to the candidate's daddy or his former boss) rubber-stamping the election results in what's widely considered one of the worst Supreme Court rulings in American history.

Was that whole fiasco more crooked or more predisposed to the disenfranchisement of minorities than any other general election? Who knows? But what we do know is that it's a damn sight more unsettling than a guy who used to be a community organizer being really good at getting community organizers to organize communities for him. And it's much greater cause for doubt and anger at the perversion of the will of the people than just inventing birthplaces, birth certificates, passports, religious affiliations and ties to the UN/New World Order/Communists/Bilderbergs, etc.

But the people angry at a result just because it's a result and because it contravenes what they believe to be their political birthright will never "get over it." After all, they don't lose. Their beliefs make them born to rule, so Obama must have been born and swaddled in perfidy. There are dozens of excellent websites out there debunking the birther cause (the OCWeekly article cites several), enough to make working at it further unnecessary. All that's left to do is marvel. Because there's nothing you can do to change the minds of people who consider what is real to be an affront to what is True — and who can meet any fact with another momentary ratiocination that changes reality to be the cause of any fabricated crime and changes the premises of injustice to whatever sounds good enough at the moment.