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Fairy tales

I’ve been reading fairy tales of late, the real ones in books, not the Mike Zullo radio interview. One of the things which is noted of such tales is the common archetypal characters in the tales of different cultures. I was struck today by the  correspondence between the Russian fairy tale, “Koshchei the Deathless” and an Indian tale called “Punchkin.” In both the villain is powerful and immortal except for a secret weakness.

What I was thinking and wondering today, as I put off finishing my income taxes, was whether the character of the “usurper” in the birther mythology is like the central character in some other conspiracy theory, or perhaps even some character from folklore.

In the two fairy stories I mentioned, the “death” of the villain is hidden in a distant location and closely guarded, which reminds me of the mythical nemesis of Obama, the birth certificate (or lack thereof) in a vault in the distant location of Hawaii or in a top-secret government facility in Kenya.

In fairy tales, the villains (snakes, dragons, magicians, devils, wolves, one-eyed witches, imps or whatnot) aren’t very smart. While endowed with great power, magic and even immortality, they are, in the end, easily overcome by cleverness and knowledge. Birthers, I suppose, consider themselves the clever prince or the wise old grandmother, who alone among the hundreds of hapless victims see clearly who the demon is and know his weakness. Birthers think, for example, that the birth certificate forger was incredibly inept and that they alone are clever enough to prove it.

But those are fairy tales. Sometimes a fairy tale carries a moral and perhaps conveys a bit of good advice, but the real world doesn’t work like fairyland (or Birtherstan). Obama is not all-powerful, but he is President of the United States, fair and square.

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17 Responses to Fairy tales

  1. avatar
    scott e April 12, 2013 at 4:41 pm #

    don’t you get tired of writing the same shit over and over and over again. why not put your “talent” to something useful ??

    [I may repeat myself sometimes, but at least what I write is accurate. I have all sorts of other activities that exercise my talents. Last Saturday I volunteered at the Special Olympics, where the athletes are different from birthers in that they are much more pleasant to interact with. Doc]

  2. avatar
    Paul April 12, 2013 at 5:08 pm #

    Wow. Astute observation. You nailed it.

  3. avatar
    Thomas Brown April 12, 2013 at 5:17 pm #

    “Buck… b’k…. brwaaak…. b’kAAAAAWK!” –Scott Erlandson

    If you had a hair on your sack you’d agree to an actual, formal debate.

    The fact that you won’t prooves that you know how flimsy your beliefs are.

  4. avatar
    RMinIL April 12, 2013 at 5:21 pm #

    And here we have the Tale of the Fisherman wherein Doc reels in another birtherfish and beats it’s head against a rock.

  5. avatar
    Paper April 12, 2013 at 5:38 pm #

    There is another aspect to many fairy tales that seems apropos as well: the mercilessness of the territory or villain, not only for the average adventurer but perhaps especially for the ones who think they know the secrets. Invariably, the heroes, for all their cleverness or other highlighted traits, are the rare ones, walking past the bones of failed adventurers, or having earned unknown, unpredicted aid in avoiding the traps, even as mundane as eating fairy food that inevitably traps the wayward forever.

    When I consider birthers, I see them in such a light, unable to escape the merciless nature of the rules, of the rarified world of the law or just plain old reality.

    In turn, I see the birthers as traps waiting the unwary in fairy tale land. Do not visit the Taitz Tree or you will be swarmed by a virus or harassed for the rest of your days by screeching owls that have no wings. Beware of believing the noisesome, babbling illusion of words springing from the Apuzzo Brook. Believe what you hear there at your own peril. Watch out for the peddler of broken pots, Trader Jack, under any alias. The Mud Pits of Gard threaten to suck in the traveller, embroiling you in a curse of cleaning mud off your shoes over and over again to the exclusion of all else, including eating, drinking and sleeping. Never speak the secret name of the Corsi-Bird. It will find you and corrupt all your efforts, ruining all you hold dear, convincing you you are righteous while transforming you into a harpy.

  6. avatar
    Deborah April 12, 2013 at 8:58 pm #

    Darn- I missed some really good posts this week, and I can’t begin to do any worthwhile researching and commenting until tomorrow afternoon. But today…

    I was driving down the road as a passenger with an Obama Conspiracist and she pointed out the “increased numbers in white, unmarked police vehicles” (which she suspects Obama has caused). I said, “yep- it’s a sign. The end of the world is coming soon.”

  7. avatar
    alg April 12, 2013 at 9:04 pm #

    So putting it all into perspective, what has all this birther nonsense really accomplished anyway?

    What’s really missing is a true and bonafide scandal to consume peoples’ energy and time.

    Monica Lewinski where are you when we really need you>

  8. avatar
    Deborah April 12, 2013 at 9:10 pm #

    Actually, I have two minutes to make a real, educated comment about fairy tales.

    In fairy tale justice, the villain gets the exact same punishment or misery he wished to inflict upon the hero (according to child psychologist Bruno Bettelheim, who is Freudian, in Uses of Enchantment).

    FOR EXAMPLE: in fairy tale justice, Orly’s wish to see Obama tried and hung as a treasonous traitor would result in her own trial and conviction as a treasonous traitor, and if not being “hung at the gallows” she would at least be deported.

  9. avatar
    Deborah April 12, 2013 at 9:23 pm #

    Paper April 12, 2013 at 5:38 pm (Quote) #

    Do not visit the Taitz Tree or you will be swarmed by a virus or harassed for the rest of your days by screeching owls that have no wings. Beware of believing the noisesome, babbling illusion of words springing from the Apuzzo Brook.

    Sincerely, that is great stuff, Paper. You give me ideas for my next book of fairy tales (you can Amazon it- Tales From the Enchanted Forest, Deborah Khora). We should corroborate.

  10. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy April 12, 2013 at 9:25 pm #

    Scott made a number of additional comments, but he’s banned, and you didn’t miss anything. I should add that I do web sites for churches and civic organizations as well as reading public domain audiobooks (just finished my 5th book). I volunteer at the Special Olympics and help raise money for developmentally disabled kids.

    scott e: don’t you get tired of writing the same shit over and over and over again. why not put your “talent” to something useful ??

  11. avatar
    Thomas Brown April 12, 2013 at 10:20 pm #

    Yay Paper. You writes good. Me likee.

  12. avatar
    Keith April 13, 2013 at 2:07 am #

    Dr. Conspiracy: as well as reading public domain audiobooks (just finished my 5th book).

    What service do you read for and what have you read? My wife just discovered LibriVox the other day and we’ve got about a dozen books lined up for the next car trip. We’ve been listening to Sherlock Holmes and Tom Swift adventures. I think she’s got P.G. Wodehouse teed up next.

    I downloaded Moby Dick yesterday, and it took forever, it is a LOT bigger than I remembered it.

  13. avatar
    ArthurWankspittle April 13, 2013 at 2:55 am #

    Deborah:
    Actually, I have two minutes to make a real, educated comment about fairy tales.

    In fairy tale justice, the villain gets the exact same punishment or misery he wished to inflict upon the hero (according to child psychologist Bruno Bettelheim, who is Freudian, in Uses of Enchantment).

    FOR EXAMPLE: in fairy tale justice, Orly’s wish to see Obama tried and hung as a treasonous traitor would result in her own trial and conviction as a treasonous traitor, and if not being “hung at the gallows” she would at least be deported.

    Can we hang her before we deport her, please?

    What has always fascinated me about birthers is that they seem to think that if they were ever proved right, is that history and time would be “re-wound” to a point before America elected a non-pure-white president and everything would start again in 2008,

  14. avatar
    Deborah April 13, 2013 at 12:50 pm #

    Fairy tales are considered folk history as compared to “official history” by many scholars. It is the folk re-writing history according to their own version of events. The idea is that one of the folk will prevail as hero over the “official hero.” Russian folk tales are depicted this way. From that perspective it makes sense that Orly is the self-appointed folk hero taking on the evil “regime.”

    It cracks me up when she calls people who do not agree with her point of view “Obama operatives.”

  15. avatar
    Deborah April 13, 2013 at 12:58 pm #

    ArthurWankspittle April 13, 2013 at 2:55 am (Quote) #

    they seem to think that if they were ever proved right, is that history and time would be “re-wound” to a point before America elected a non-pure-white president and everything would start again in 2008,

    Yes, they think they can re-write history, Arthur.

  16. avatar
    Deborah April 13, 2013 at 1:08 pm #

    Dr. C

    What I was thinking and wondering today, as I put off finishing my income taxes, was whether the character of the “usurper” in the birther mythology is like the central character in some other conspiracy theory, or perhaps even some character from folklore.

    I had some intrigue in that myself. The first place to start would be to find a real usurper in history, or a country in which a monarchy was overthrown and replaced by a republic, for instance. I posted this link a couple weeks ago and I’ll re-post it.

    http://listverse.com/2007/09/27/top-10-pretenders-to-the-thrones-of-europe/

    See if you can find a Jstor article titled Russian Folklore and Peasant Mentalitie [sic]- under the history section of Jstor. I don’t have access to Jstor right now- though it might be available by Google.

  17. avatar
    Deborah April 13, 2013 at 1:15 pm #

    Folklore as Evidence of Peasant Mentalitie by Maureen Perrie is the correct title.