Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Remember when "birther" used to mean something else?

In 2007, when I was pregnant with DS, I remember coming across the word "birther" for the first time. The basic meaning at the time was "a well-to-do, urban parent" and it was used in the counterculture to rail against people who lived, conspicuously, with children in a gentrifying urban American setting, and did obnoxious things like takeover an entire city sidewalk with a ginormous $700 Danish stroller, while yelling at everyone else to get out of their way. (While I've been guilty of many things, that's one offense nobody has ever accused me of. Kid never liked the stroller. And I'm too cheap to spend more than $50 on one.)

The old meaning of "birther" has now been completely overshadowed and lost (which in theory isn't such a bad thing, now I hear they call them "breeders,") and "birther" means something entirely different today. See here for a synopsis of right-wing birtherism directed at President Obama. There are also some birther conspiracy theories of a different stripe directed at former VP candidate/former Alaka governor Sarah Palin, surrounding the circumstances of her 5th child's birth, outlined and debunked here.

And I ask you: what is wrong with people?


My take on it? Life is too much like junior high. Back in junior high, there were a lot of silly rumors that went around about other kids, about certain members of boy bands getting their stomachs pumped, about certain celebrities and their penchant for gerbils, etc. Somehow these stories started taking on lives of their own. I didn't get it then, and I don't get it now.

Anyone got any good explanations?


NK: Style-ING w/ Children said...

like you say, it is highschool mentality. This morning on my way to work, our radio station was discussing the controversy around President Obama's birth certificate and their take on it was: there would be no controversy if media outlets did not cover it. Period. Sometimes it's wise to not spread the gossip

my two cents:)

oh, and speaking is ppl who think the world revolves around them and their kids, I have two words for them: get a life. You're not the first and only person to have a child, it is not a crusade, and you are in no way a national hero. I see the fact that I have a child as my personal choice, not to be imposed on others. Sorry, very sore topic for me! :)

Cloud said...

As it happens, I saw an article in Slate on this very thing today. I haven't actually READ the article, but here it is:

(And I'm too lazy to go to the last post to say this, but that sleep book was hilarious.)

mom2boy said...

"And I ask you: what is wrong with people?

I wish I knew. Then the American in me would sell the secret and move to Costa Rica and leave the mess behind for someone else to fix. Maybe I do know the secret after all...

Love the sleep book!

the milliner said...

Everytime I hear the word birther, I automatically think 'berther' as in the place for sleeping on a train or boat, etc. Sadly, I have no answer to 'what is wrong with people?' I've asked myself the same question many a time.

We are asking ourselves this very question here in Canada at the moment with our impending election. Hoping for the best and expecting the worst. (Although it's mute in my riding as the favorite is a party leader that I won't vote for. But, still voting anyhow).