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Barack Obama’s Excellent Adventure

Sheriff Joe Arpaio dragged out the birther fantasy yet one more time on Thursday, releasing a report that found fault with Barack Obama‘s birth documents. I understand that paranoia is insatiable, and if you want to believe that a birth certificate has been forged or altered, no amount of evidence to the contrary will change your mind. But I wonder if the paranoia is up to embracing time travel as part of the President’s clever deception?

An announcement of Barack Obama’s birth was printed in The Honolulu Advertiser on August 13, 1961. The same appeared the day after in the Honolulu Star-Bulletin. These newspapers were in the hands of thousands of people back then – there’s no doubt that these announcements of the future President’s birth existed back then.

How could Barack Obama and his supporters have contrived to make that happen, if in fact, as Arpaio and the birthers contend, the President was not born in the newly minted state of Hawaii in 1961?

How about time travel? It’s 2007, and Obama realizes that he better do something to make sure his authenticity as a a citizen born in America can never be called into question. So he, or someone in his staff, contacts a friend at the MIT Media Lab – or maybe at that European nexus of cutting-edge physics, CERN – and prevails upon this contact to give the Obama campaign access to a top-secret time machine. Obama sends a trusted associate – could be Robert Gibbs – on a mission back in time: go to 1961, and place those bogus pieces in the newspapers. The future press secretary knows how to get an announcement into a newspaper, even back then, and succeeds.

Is that too much to believe? Well, there’s always the possibility that the President’s mother, or someone on hand back in 1961, was clairvoyant, looked into the future, saw that the baby would someday be President, and placed the lying announcement right there and then.

Too bad Medium, Journeyman, and Lost are off the air. Arpaio and friends could have the makings of a pretty good script.

Paul Levinson, PhD, is Professor of Communication & Media Studies at Fordham University in NYC. His nonfiction books, including The Soft Edge (1997), Digital McLuhan (1999), Realspace (2003), Cellphone (2004), and New New Media (2009), have been translated into ten languages. He reviews television in his InfiniteRegress.tv blog, and was listed in The Chronicle of Higher Education‘s “Top 10 Academic Twitterers” in 2009. Follow him @PaulLev

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Paul Levinson, PhD, is Professor of Communication & Media Studies at Fordham University in NYC. His nonfiction books, including The Soft Edge (1997), Digital McLuhan (1999), Realspace (2003), Cellphone (2004), and New New Media (2009), have been translated into ten languages. His science fiction novels include The Silk Code (1999), Borrowed Tides (2001), The Consciousness Plague (2002), The Pixel Eye (2003), and The Plot To Save Socrates (2006). He appears on "The O'Reilly Factor" and numerous TV and radio programs. His 1972 LP, Twice Upon a Rhyme, was re-issued in 2010. He reviews television in his InfiniteRegress.tv blog, and was listed in The Chronicle of Higher Education's "Top 10 Academic Twitterers" in 2009. More info at http://aboutme.com/paullevinson