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Why Can’t a Woman Be More Like a Man?

From the Scrapbook.

May 9, 2011, Vol. 16, No. 32 • By THE SCRAPBOOK
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The cost to the taxpayers of the District of Columbia was comparatively modest—Sheen’s promoter reportedly paid $445.68 for the escort—but we’re intrigued by the principle of the thing. In the past, The Scrapbook has complained about the bumptious practices of the Secret Service and Metropolitan Police and U.S. Park Service when ferrying President Obama, Vice President Biden, and other bigwigs around town: large sections of the city closed to traffic, screaming sirens, cops bullying people going about their business, a general tone of arrogant indifference to the lives of citizens. But in such cases, at least, there is an underlying justification for ensuring the safety, in a dangerous world, of our senior government officials.

Charlie Sheen, in The Scrapbook’s considered opinion, is not included in that category. Yes, our hearts go out to fans who bought tickets for the Violent Torpedo of Truth tour and might have been obliged to wait an extra 15 or 20 minutes—perhaps a half-hour!—for the main attraction to arrive. But is that a matter of official concern requiring police resources in the onetime Murder Capital of the World? The question answers itself.

And the madness is spreading. Around the same time Charlie Sheen was getting the presidential treatment, District police shoved all and sundry aside to escort the New York Rangers to and from a playoff game at Washington’s Verizon Center. In New York City, the NYPD recently furnished a similar service for rapper/producer Sean (P. Diddy) Combs on the journey from a Manhattan concert venue to a New Jersey club appearance.

The Scrapbook wasn’t born yesterday, of course, and understands that some people, especially celebrities, are more equal than others. But in a world of tight budgets, violent crime, and a war on terrorism, it must be more than a little discouraging to be caught in traffic for an hour, or forced off the sidewalk, while Charlie Sheen and his police escort zoom by. 

Birth of a Conspiracy

The Scrapbook has never been especially agitated by the circumstances of Barack Obama’s birth, and so shrugged its shoulders when the White House released the president’s “long form” birth certificate last week. We weren’t interested when the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign first raised the “birther” issue back in 2008, and we’ve paid no attention since to the various articles, websites, books, and symposia that have suggested—in the absence of an original “long form” certificate—that Obama wasn’t born in the United States, or was illegitimate, or born with two heads, or whatever.

Now, of course, the long-awaited birth certificate confirms what The Scrapbook has always assumed: that Barack Hussein Obama was born on American soil, to his parents of record, and on the universally accepted birth date of August 4, 1961. Hawaii, we should note, was already a state by the time Obama arrived, and his mother (Ann Dunham Obama) was a native-born American citizen. So Barack Obama is fully, and constitutionally, qualified to be president of the United States. Case closed.

Well, not quite. As students of the Kennedy assassination, moon landing, and 9/11 attacks are well aware, the existence of incontrovertible evidence is no barrier to a good conspiracy theory. The Scrapbook has no doubt that Obama’s birth certificate will be rejected as a hoax in certain quarters, and is equally confident that birthers are already closely studying the two Xs handwritten above the squares marked “Twin” and “Triplet,” or pondering the inarguable fact (stated clearly on the birth certificate!) that Obama’s father was an alien. No, not that kind of alien—those diaphanous creatures in Close Encounters of the Third Kind—but do birthers acknowledge that there is any other kind? 

The irony of this nonevent is that the long-awaited release of President Obama’s birth certificate, far from settling the issue in these quarters, has awakened troubling doubts in The Scrapbook’s mind. We refer to one feature which, so far as we are aware, nobody else has noticed: Namely, that the newborn is identified as “Barack Hussein Obama II.” 

As everybody knows, in identifying descendants, children named for fathers are “Junior”—“Frank Sinatra Jr.,” “John F. Kennedy Jr.,” “John Gotti Jr.”—while “II” is reserved for children named for uncles, or grandfathers, or any relation other than parents. So the clear implication of the birth certificate is that President Obama was not necessarily named for his father Barack Obama (1936-1982) but for some cousin or uncle we know nothing about, whose location is unknown—and whose possible influence on American foreign and domestic policy cannot be casually dismissed. 

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