Mark Steyn on revelations in David Maraniss's new book that the president has lied about his life story:
Courtesy of David Maraniss's new book, we now know that yet another key prop of Barack Obama's identity is false: His Kenyan grandfather was not brutally tortured or even non-brutally detained by his British colonial masters. The composite gram'pa joins an ever-swelling cast of characters from Barack's "memoir" who, to put it discreetly, differ somewhat in reality from their bit parts in the grand Obama narrative. The best friend at school portrayed in Obama's autobiography as "a symbol of young blackness" was, in fact, half Japanese, and not a close friend. The white girlfriend he took to an off-Broadway play that prompted an angry post-show exchange about race never saw the play, dated Obama in an entirely different time zone, and had no such world-historically significant conversation with him. His Indonesian step-grandfather supposedly killed by Dutch soldiers during his people's valiant struggle against colonialism met his actual demise when he "fell off a chair at his home while trying to hang drapes."
David Maraniss is no right-winger, and can't understand why boorish non-literary types have seized on his book as evidence that the president of the United States is a Grade A phony. "It is a legitimate question about where the line is in memoir," he told Soledad O'Brien on CNN. My Oxford dictionary defines "memoir" as "an historical account or biography written from personal knowledge." And if Obama doesn't have "personal knowledge" of his tortured grandfather, war-hero step-grandfather, and racially obsessed theater-buff girlfriend, who does? But in recent years, the Left has turned the fake memoir into one of the most prestigious literary genres:
After reeling off a list of other recent fake autobiographies, Steyn concludes:
One can understand why the beneficiaries of the postwar West's expansion of middle-class prosperity would rather pass themselves off as members of way cooler victim groups: It's a great career move. It may even have potential beyond the page: See Sandra Fluke's dazzling pre-Broadway tryout of Fake Memoir: The High School Musical, in which a 30-year-old Georgetown Law coed whose starting salary after graduation is 140 grand a year passes herself off as the Little Rigoberta Hussein Wilkomirski of the Rite-Aid pick-up line. But transforming an entire nation into a fake memoir is unlikely to prove half so lucrative. The heartwarming immigrants, the contraceptive-less coeds, the mustache-twirling bankers all provide cover for a far less appealing narrative: an expansion of centralized power hitherto unknown to this republic. In reality, Obama's step-grandfather died falling off the chair while changing the drapes. In the fake-memoir version, Big Government's on the chair, and it's curtains for America.
Read the whole thing.