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.