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?