Birther-day suit

>> Friday, July 01, 2011

So it seems that a writer for Esquire said some mean things about birthers Joseph Farah and Jerome Corsi and now they're suing the author, the magazine and the publisher for tons of money for defamation and related torts (h/t Chez Pazienza). Apparently Farah and Corsi, quality conservative purveyors of fine hit pieces on Democratic politicians seem to believe they have some kind of reputation to be injured. Enh.

I mean, no doubt they have some kind of good reputation with the kinds of people who like reading things like Unfit For Command and Black Gold Stranglehold, but really? Basically we're talking about a fringe that doesn't take them seriously: aside from seventy-two million Democrats (as of 2004) and however many millions of independent progressives and liberals, there are millions of non-wingnut Republicans who wish all the crazy people who have hijacked party would just go away. Rule out the liberals, the left-centrists, the right-centrists and the non-conspiranoiac right-wingers, and what do you have left? The jackasses, i.e. the audience for Messrs. Corsi and Farah.

And seriously, how many of those people do you really think read Esquire?

Not to make Esquire sound all that hoity-toity or anything. I stopped reading and subscribing to Playboy Lite maybe fifteen, sixteen years ago as the quality of the magazine seemed to be in a death spiral, and I don't know if they've fixed any of the many things going wrong with the magazine in the intervening decade-and-a-half. Which raises a related question, perhaps: who takes Esquire all that seriously anymore, anyway? They had a good run back in the day and filled a niche and featured some good writing and sharp editorial perspective Once Upon A Time, but what have they done lately? Okay, the Newt Gingrich profile, granted, I'll concede that one; but doesn't that prove the previous point, about how many paranoid conspiracy-mongering conservatives read Esquire in the first place?

Anyway, I'm not sure Hearst Publishing should even bother with a satire defense. Maybe they should go with the "what reputation?" defense, instead. They could probably run it both ways if they want to be really snarky and ballsy with it: "Dude, your honor, this case is about a flailing magazine trying to find a relevant niche somewhere between Maxim and Playboy getting sued by a couple of crazy dumbasses; why the fuck are we even going to waste taxpayers' money paying jurors for this happy horseshit, judge just dismiss this thing so we can all get back to something important like sorting our ties by which direction the weave's in."

My favorite part of the complaint is Jerome Corsi being described as "a world renowned author of several New York Times bestsellers...." The accuracy of this statement seemed a little suspect, insofar as I'm not sure how many Americans really know who Corsi is, New York Times bestseller lists notwithstanding, and I have no idea whether anybody living in any of the 202 sovereign states that aren't the United States Of America knows who Corsi is or has any reason to care, for that matter; that he might be famous in any of those faraway places, or even places as close as the NAFTA countries, really, seems dubious to me. Had the complaint's authors settled for merely "renowned" without the qualifier, I doubt I'd squawk, but "world renowned"? Puff, puff, puff; let's see if we can bloat the seriousness of this claim and the alleged damage to our client's reputation, shall we? But I decided to double-check myself, and found to my surprise that Merriam-Webster informs us of an obscure and archaic definition of "renown":

obsolete: report, rumor


Ah, well, that's alright then. I'm sure some foreign newspapers have done reports on Mr. Corsi as an example of how ridiculous and low American politics have been, or mentioned him in the context of the absurdity of birther claims, etc. I'm not sure how many countries it takes to qualify as being reported round the world, but surely he's been mentioned in some kind of "news of the weird" pieces in England and Australia, which would cover two hemispheres and different oceans, if that's qualification enough. And the Internet reaches round the world, and he's certainly been the subject of online reports. As to rumors of the man, well, I don't know... perhaps discretion is in order.

It brings to mind, tangentially, how Miles Copeland made sure to book The Police for shows in Egypt after their second album came out, mainly for the point of having the band play in Africa so he could promote the band's "world tour", a bit of Barnum-esque genius, really, as The Police were hardly Led Zeppelin at that point in their career. It worked, though: tell everybody your band's a superstar marquee act enough times and show off the t-shirts and home movies of them visiting the pyramids, pretty soon the public perception blurs into a reality.

Yes, Mr. Corsi, tell people you're renowned and someday you will be. Probably. Possibly. Maybe not so much. Who let you in here?

The other nice bit in the Forbes piece linked previously (and again here in case you're too lazy to scroll) is Joseph Farah showing up in the comments section to bitch about the way he's portrayed, claiming he's never said President Obama was born in Kenya and has "no idea where he was born", suggesting the President's birth certificate is a forgery. Seems to me that this could be fun and helpful to Mr. Farah: Farah says he doesn't know where the President was born, and it apparently isn't sufficient for him that the President, officials of the State of Hawai'i, the President's family, the newspapers that published the President's birthday announcement, et al. have unequivocally stated that he was born in Hawai'i; there is room for doubt, so let's assist Mr. Farah by way of that classic logical tool, the process of elimination.

Here are some places I am pretty sure the President of the United States wasn't born:

  • Underneath my desk
  • The backseat of my car
  • My kitchen
  • The Mutara Nebula
  • Sprung from the head of Zeus
  • Hobbiton
  • In a crossfire hurricane


Please feel free to suggest in the comments other places President Obama wasn't born (offer explanations/expansions if you'd like). I'm sure if we eliminate every other possible location, we will be able to identify the place of the President's birth per Sherlock Holmes famous axiom from The Sign Of The Four, "when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth."

Shouldn't take too long, I don't think.







7 comments:

Eric Friday, July 1, 2011 at 8:51:00 AM EDT  

In a remote tropical island lab, from an egg created by splicing frog, lizard and bird DNA with dinosaur DNA extracted from a mosquito trapped in amber!

Nathan Friday, July 1, 2011 at 9:03:00 AM EDT  

In the arms of imaginary friends?

By the river?

----------------

Tell the truth, Eric. You wrote that entire thing just so you could say he wasn't born in a Crossfire Hurricane!

And make me snort.

Janiece Friday, July 1, 2011 at 10:32:00 AM EDT  

On the Island of Dr. Moreau.

On my pool table.

From the womb of a non-human surrogate.

timb111 Friday, July 1, 2011 at 11:32:00 AM EDT  

From the womb of a Bene Gesserit witch.

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