I’ve mostly ignored this over the past few months because I believe that examining pictures of a pregnant woman with an eye to figuring out whether her shape is appropriate to the gestation of the fetus is morally degrading to the examiner. But I have to say that I’m with Amanda here, and I’m very surprised at the quarters whence the newest round of conspiracy theory comes.
Don’t get me wrong. It strikes me as completely plausible that Palin, a woman whose public persona is constructed around a conservative fantasy, the tough woman who proves liberals wrong by having Christ, a career, children, and a perfect coiffure, exaggerated the extent to which she was in labor during the plane flight (here’s one account, where the doc says she induced labor upon landing) This would not be surprising for any politician whose career depends more than most on personal charisma and narrative. I have heard that male politicians have sometimes exaggerated their influence in important legislation or their status as a war hero.
What bothers me is the epistemic leap from Palin probably isn’t wholly truthful big friggin’ shocker to Therefore, we have a right to demand the birth certificate of her child to prove that she’s the mother. As near as I can tell the only reason anyone considers the latter question seriously is due to Andrew Sullivan’s hissy fit that started way back before anyone knew that Bristol was pregnant (which makes it next to impossible that there’s another candidate for the role of Trig’s Mother besides Sarah Palin); otherwise it would be a complete non sequitur. Settling the question that Palin is Trig’s mother wouldn’t prove her Wild Ride story to be true or false.
The obvious parallel with birtherism annoys people, but there’s more in common than the fact that in both cases people are demanding birth certificates and bemoaning the lack of MSM interest. In both cases, the demand for the birth certificate came after a bunch of common-sense evidence was rejected as easily fabricated. And I’d be willing to bet that if Palin released Trig’s birth certificate tomorrow, there will still be people pointing out that sometimes adoptive birth certificates show the adoptive parents as the parents with no indication that the child has been adopted, and somewhere down in the abyss of Amanda’s comments there will continue to be arguments that because Palin was photographed wearing kitten-heeled boots, she’s can’t really be the mother.