Skip to comments.Fever Dreams From My Real Father #3: Factual Failings, #2: "Anne" vs. Ann
Posted on 10/02/2012 9:17:29 PM PDT by Tex-Con-Man
No matter how thoroughly I puncture Gilbert's credibility, I'm sure there will be some people who will respond with "But you didn't disprove every single thing in the movie," as if it were necessary to do an item-by-item refutation of every assertion in an hour-and-a-half long movie.
Sorry, but I'm not doing that. For one, that's more trouble than it's worth. For another, Dreams From My Real Father is so devoid of anything resembling substantive evidence that 90% of the itemized rebuttals would consist of me saying "Gilbert provided absolutely no support for this statement; meanwhile, the available evidence says..."
Or to put it another way, factchecking spin and misrepresentations can be useful. But Dreams From My Real Father is mostly just fiction, and factchecking fiction is a waste of time.
And yet there are still instances where Gilbert does make some easily fact-checkable statements...and he's easily proven wrong. Let's look at several.
First, during the "Gramps was a CIA operative" portion of the film, the 'Obama' narrator says:
"Arriving in Honolulu from Kenya in August of 1959 was Barack Hussein Obama...He was welcomed at Hickham Air Force Base by none other than my grandfather, in a traditional Hawaiian ceremony."
This photo accompanying that line is this:
But that photo's not from 1959, and it's not from a welcome ceremony. (It's also far from certain that the white man is Stanley Dunham.) No, that photo first appeared online at CBSnews.com in 2008, where it's explained "Obama's father, Barack Obama Sr., center, is shown wearing floral leis on his graduation day at the University of Hawaii in the early 1960s."
And if Gilbert thinks CBS was wrong, then he still provides absolutely nothing to support that, or to support his assertion that it's from 1959. More likely, Gilbert simply saw where the photo's been passed around by Birthers claiming it's a welcome party (this erroneous claim appeared in the Wayne Madsen article that Gilbert has previously pulled from), and didn't bother to check the facts.
Second, as mentioned in Part 4:
Noteworthy also were the windows appearing in the pin-up photos. “The windows in the living room of Frank’s house were tall and narrow – a design unique to English Tudor style houses,” he noted.There's only one window visible in the pin-up photos. And it has a bottom sill that's roughly two feet off the ground, not "low to the floorboards." Gilbert can't even describe the pin-up photos correctly.
“The windows at 2994 Kalihi Street appear to match the tall, narrow windows with their bottom sill low to the floorboards seen in the pin-up photos.”
And the notion that tall and narrow windows are "a design unique to English Tudor style houses"? Gilbert has apparently been in very few apartment buildings.
Third, also as discussed in Part 4:
As illustrated in his documentary, Gilbert found a newspaper photograph of Davis sitting on a couch in his living room that appears to be an exact match for the couch seen in the pin-up photographs.The film shows this newspaper photograph. It shows Davis sitting on a couch that has separate cushions along the back. The couch in the pin-up photos does NOT have separate cushions; it merely has a raised seam. You can't even see the whole couch, but just the minimal portion we do see shows that it's not the same couch.
Fourth, Gilbert dabbles in Birtherism in the film:
On August 4, 1961, a midwife was called to the house. A few days later, Gramps phoned in my birth to the Hawaii Department of Health, as was the norm for home births...as agreed, he declared the father 'Unknown.'So if Gramps told the DoH that the father was "Unknown" just a few days after August 4, then that creates a real mystery as to why the newspaper announcements on August 13 and 14 declared that a son was born on August 4 to "Mr. and Mrs. Barack H. Obama."
Gilbert, of course, resolves this conflict with one of the typical conspiracist tricks: by completely ignoring that the newspaper announcements exist.
Fifth, from later in the film:
Thomas Ayers had arranged a job at the firm for Bernardine Dohrn, where she worked with Michelle Robinson. They were friends. When Bill's dad got me a summer intern position at Sidley Austin, Bernardine told me Michelle might be a good match...When I married her a few years later, I married my father. I called her my "bitter half."
It's odd that Bernardine could introduce Obama to Michelle at work, since Obama's internship was in the summer of 1989 and Bernardine had stopped working at Sidley Austin in 1988.
Also odd: the implicit suggestion that after Michelle Malkin started a one-woman habit of referring to Michelle as Obama's "bitter half" in 2008, Obama went back in time and started using that negative term himself. (And lest this is defended as a joke, remember the Gilbert quote from my first post, where he says the film is about telling the truth, not entertainment.)
Sixth, in the course of talking about Obama's role in voter registration efforts in Chicago:
Later, eight of the nineteen 9/11 hijackers were registered under Motor Voter.This is a common claim among 9/11 conspiracy theorists, and there is no shortage of websites that repeat it, but it has no actual basis in fact. This rumor can be traced back to the (incorrect) claim that the hijackers may have been able to register to vote; but there's no evidence that any of them actually were. And in fact, they weren't eligible to register at all; the original rumor resulted from a misunderstanding of the law. For a guy who's (rightfully) dismissive of 9/11 Trutherism, here Gilbert is just regurgitating one of the Truthers' own cherished myths.
And finally, about seven minutes from the end of the film, there's a montage with this quote from an Obama speech playing over it:
"There are millions of working families in this country who are now forced to take their children to food banks for a decent meal. The free market, it doesn't work. It has never worked."It sounds like a single, uninterrupted quote. And Gilbert's edited the video in such a way that even makes it look like a single, uninterrupted quote.
But it's not. Rather, it's cobbled together from no fewer than three different portions of Obama's speech. They're not even in the same order. The first sentence is from the 23:23 minute mark in the linked video. The three words "The free market" are from 11:00. And "it doesn't work. It has never worked" is from 16:18.
Yes, Gilbert actually splices the subject of one sentence onto the predicate of another. Then he follows *that* with a line from 20:50, and finishes with a sentence taken from 38:18. It's a Frankenstein quotation, stitched together from five disparate parts of a speech, but with the seams hidden by visual cutaways to unrelated images.
This, of course, is just a tiny sampling of the myriad falsehoods that are liberally sprinkled through Dreams From My Real Father. Gilbert doesn't merely relate imaginary stories or cite to unproduced evidence, but he also gets the facts wrong. A lot.
And as will be discussed tomorrow, there's nowhere that Gilbert's falsehoods are more blatant than at the very heart of his thesis.
Fever Dreams From My Real Father #2: "Anne" vs. Ann
The following scene begins at approximately 22:30 in Dreams From My Real Father:
"In Sex Rebel Black, I think he [Frank Marshall Davis] memorialized the encounters with my [Obama's] mom.
"Anne came up many times the next several weeks.
She obtained a course in practical sex from experienced and considerate practitioners.
I think we did her a favour, although the pleasure was mutual.
I’m not one to go in for Lolitas. Usually I'd rather not bed a babe under 20.
But there are exceptions. I didn't want to disappoint the trusting child."
Joel Gilbert has repeated this claim in interviews, both on the radio and in an April 2012 article by Jerome Corsi at WorldNetDaily:
Davis also penned a scurrilous, autobiographical sex novel, titled “Sex Rebel: Black,” in which he detailed an illicit sexual relationship with an underage woman named “Anne.” Gilbert believes the name was a thin disguise for Obama’s mother, Stanley Ann Dunham.
It should not surprise the reader at this point that Gilbert is being incredibly disingenuous in this claim, in multiple respects. It is critical here to note that immediately prior to the film scene quoted above, Gilbert shows and even highlights in yellow portions of actual scanned pages from Sex Rebel Black. This is not merely second-hand rumor that he is repeating uncritically; he has seen and read the relevant material from Sex Rebel Black, and knows full-well what he's misrepresenting.
To begin with, although the screenshot above shows how the movie seems to depict a single, uninterrupted quote from the book, that is not at all the case. The quoted words from Sex Rebel Black that are seen and spoken by the narrator are taken from two different parts of Chapter Seven, the chapter that discusses "Anne." The first two sentences are taken from page 76; the latter sentences from page 72:
This is what appears on page 76, with the words quoted by Gilbert bolded:
Anne came up many times the next several weeks, her aunt thinking she was in good hands. Actually, she was. She obtained a course in practical sex from experienced and considerate practitioners rather than from ignorant, insensitive neophytes. Neither of us would have thought of voluntarily breaking her in at thirteen, but she was already on the way toward leading an active sex life.
Notice how Gilbert cuts out the latter half of the first sentence, which refers to Anne's "aunt," and the words that follow the second, including her stated age of "thirteen," and thus would be obviously inconsistent with the theory he's presenting.
Then, from four pages earlier, on page 72, the rest of Gilbert's blockquote:
I think we did her a favour, although the pleasure was mutual. I’m not one to go in for Lolitas. Usually I'd rather not bed a babe under 20. But there are exceptions. I didn't want to disappoint the trusting child.
That is merely how Gilbert has misrepresented the very text he's put onscreen. Does his theory that "Anne" is actually Ann Dunham hold any water? Are "Anne" and Ann at all similar? Not in the slightest.
Davis actually describes "Anne" in considerable detail in Chapter Seven, and in every single respect she is wholly unlike Ann Dunham. Moreover every contextual detail about the setting makes it impossible that "Anne" could be Ann Dunham. To wit:
If that wasn't enough, Davis further undermines Gilbert's theory on page 75, where he acknowledges that he and "Anne" never actually completed any act of sexual intercourse. Were Davis to have fathered a child with "Anne," it would have been an immaculate conception.
Davis describes what happened on "Anne" on page 78, in the final paragraphs of Chapter Seven, and again it bears no resemblance whatsoever to the life of Ann Dunham:
The clouds of World War II hovered and Anne's aunt had already announced she would be returned to her family in Jamaica while transportation was still possible. She left shortly after the run-in with Doris.
Later I learned that soon after reaching home she was knocked up by a Chinese merchant who paid her several thousand dollars to keep quiet. After V-J day in 1945 she returned to the U.S....she became engaged several times in California and Chicago only to have her fiances back out...
I saw her once on a crowded elevated train in 1947, but had no opportunity for more than a hurried hello. She smiled warmly and returned my greeting. Maybe it was best that I didn't talk with her; as stunning and ripe as she looked at twenty-one I would have tried to resume where we left off a few years before. I have never seen her since, nor have I ever bedded another nymphet.
In sum, absolutely nothing about "Anne" resembles Ann Dunham, except the pronunciation of their first names. When Ann Dunham first moved to Hawaii in 1960, she was a seventeen-year-old white girl from Kansas who lived with her parents in a house several miles from Davis; whereas "Anne" was a thirteen-year old mixed-race girl from Jamaica who lived in a Chicago apartment with her aunt prior to World War II, who was impregnated by a Chinese merchant in Jamaica, and who he never saw again after 1947. If Davis were writing about Ann Dunham, it would mean that he changed absolutely every aspect of the setting for his encounter with her, as well as every personal detail about Ann except her name.
More importantly, Gilbert knows every bit of this. His film actually shows pictures of pages 71 through 73, carefully cropped so as not to share any of the above-cited inconsistencies. The 'quote' he puts onscreen and has read aloud by his narrator is cobbled together in such a way that shows he's not only read the chapter, but that he knows what words (i.e., "her aunt") to leave out. He is fully aware how implausible his theory is, but he not only continues to repeat it, but he actively ignored and obscured the overwhelming evidence that contradicts it.
Finally, it is worth noting that Gilbert's claims regarding the "Anne" of Chapter Seven are wholly inconsistent with Gilbert's claims regarding the nude photos he says were taken of Dunham by Davis. Note how even in Gilbert's truncated quote above, Frank still refers to "we" and "practitioners," whereas in the movie, Gilbert has Frank engaging in a one-on-one affair that he wants to hide from his wife. Once again, Gilbert's penchant for dishonesty results in inconsistent stories. In any case, those nude photo claims will be annihilated for good in the final installment of this series. If you haven't been convinced yet of Gilbert's rampant dishonesty and disingenuousness, you will be.
When, Oh when, are lunkheads going to learn that The Immaculate Conception does not refer to the conception event which led to the birth of Jesus Christ?
This fingernails-across-the-blackboard screeches an inattention to facts that calls everything written here into question.
Sorry, but like using "I could care less," or claiming that living organisms "violate" the Second Law of Thermodynamics, as soon as an author says something this glaringly stupid it immediately calls his credibility into question.
what is your purpose???
This the the kind of crap that delegitimizes serious political issues. The influence Frank Marshall Davis had on young Barack is worth pursuing. He was, after all, a genuine communist. This, however, will get lumped in with serious examinations into that relationship to categorize all of it as konspiracy kookery.
Joel Gilbert is an enemy to political conservatism and should be treated as such.
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