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dimanche 1 mai 2011

Expressions of the week – birthers, sideshows and carnival barkers

Le présent billet a été rédigé par Jonathan Goldberg, que je remercie. Une traduction en français sera publiée prochainement sur ce blog.

In a week in which Prince William and Kate Middleton looked forward to receiving their marriage certificate in the U.K., headlines were captured in the United States by the release of President Obama’s birth certificate.

What about Clinton's birth certificate? Bush's? Ford's? Kennedy's?
According to the U.S. Constitution, only persons born in the United States are eligible to hold the position of President.  Ever since Obama, whose father was Kenyan, announced his intention to run for the presidential elections of 2008, some people, claiming that his place of birth was outside of the United States, have sought to disqualify him. Followers of this conspiracy theory are known as “birthers”.

File:Billboard Challenging the validity of Barack Obama's Birth Certificate.JPG

As the above birth certificate shows, Obama was born in the State of Hawaii in 1961. (Hawaii is the newest of the U.S. states. It became a State on August 21, 1959. It is the only U.S. state made up entirely of islands.)

In displaying his birth certificate, Obama suggested that Americans put an end to the “silliness” rather than be distracted by “sideshows and carnival barkers”.

The Merriam Webster Online Dictionary defines “sideshow” as:

1. a minor show offered in addition to a main exhibition (as of a circus);
2. an incidental diversion or spectacle.

The Online Etymology Dictionary attributes “sideshow” to P.T.Barnum, an American showman and entertainer, who founded the famous Barnum and Bailey Circus in 1882.

A barker is a person who attempts to attract patrons to a circus, fair or carnival by standing and shouting out its attractions.

This subject will hopefully now become a “non-issue”.

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