The making-of documentary has been taking viewers behind the scenes to expose a little bit of movie magic for ages. Israeli comedian and prankster Nimrod Kamer (aka Peter Rehnquist) chose to play off that trend by releasing “How I Faked Obama’s Kenyan Birth,” a behind-the-scenes look at the deliberately bad special effects from the “Obama’s Kenyan Birth” hoax video he and Vice magazine released last week.
The idea, presumably, was for Birthers to take the bait and cite the original video as “evidence” for their belief that Barack Obama is ineligible for the presidency because he’s been a secret Kenyan illegal immigrant all along. That Birthers would fall for an obvious hoax is not without precedent—Birther queen Orly Taitz was notorious for embracing a number of obviously fake Kenyan birth certificates—but Kamer’s hoax might have been too obvious for its own good.
A week after he and Vice released the birth video, they released the making-of sequel: “How I Faked Obama’s Kenyan Birth.”
The Vice article included a link to Kamer’s own Tumblr, telling readers, “To get a glimpse of all the trolls and media outlets who published and talked about my video, go here.”
But his list of links leads mainly to media outlets talking about how ludicrously fake the video is, with no actual Birthers linking to the video as “proof” of their theories. Indeed, the only obvious troll here is Kamer himself, who pretended to be a sincere Birther while giving media interviews.
Dr. Conspiracy is the writer of the Obama Conspiracy Theories blog (“Fishing for gold coins in a bucket of mud”). When he interviewed Kamer (as Rehnquist) about the birth video, he concluded, “I asked Mr. Rehnquist how he reacted to the fact that the video is being met with skepticism everywhere. He replied by saying that he believes the video is authentic, inviting me, and he sounded sincere, to prove that it was not.”
The objections are spectacularly easy to understand. The brief spoof video allegedly shows a young white woman giving birth to a black baby (presumably after several hard hours of labor), before the camera briefly focuses on a wall calendar reading “August 1961,” then pans over the foot of the hospital bed, showing “Ann Durham’s” patient record next to a sticker of the Kenyan flag.
But the video’s fakery is obvious. The baby is far too big for a newborn; instead of crying, he smiles to show several gleaming white baby teeth; and despite the glycerine and fake blood stuck to his body, he (and the sheets on the hospital bed) both look suspiciously clean. (Kamer also said that the Kenyan-flag sticker was not the actual Kenyan flag circa 1961. We hardly noticed the discrepancy, because we were too busy wondering “Who thinks hospital beds come with flag labels identifying which country they’re in?”)
Regardless of its worth as political satire, “How I Faked Obama’s Kenyan Birth” does work as a dry parody of movies in the making-of genre: Kamer and his assistants solemnly buying an authentic scalpel in a medical-supply store, while the “art and props” woman describes putting Kenyan stickers on the bed with all the seriousness of a Pixar executive discussing cutting-edge CGI animation techniques.
Kamer’s article for Vice also promises to release forthcoming video interviewing “a 2012 presidential nominee who believed the [birth] footage to be authentic and we have a close encounter with Donald Trump's trusted advisor Michael Cohen.” Of course, Trump’s former bid for the presidency always appeared about as authentic as Kamer’s Obama Kenyan birth video.
Photo via Nimrod Kamer/YouTube