Friday, October 15, 2010

It's an Ironic World After All.....

Sorry to mix my musical metaphors, but um... Toto?  Did you know that Obama and Palin are distant cousins.  Yup!  I love this little bit of info and wish I'd had it earlier this semester to help illustrate the notion of "Irony" in my literary comedy class.

But, wait... it gets better J Obama has another surprising cousin -- Rush Limbaugh!  Seriously, I'm not making this up.  This was part of an AP News Release from 2 days ago.  I must quote:

"A genealogist at the Utah-based, Anastasia Tyler, said Obama and Palin are 10th cousins through a common ancestor named John Smith, a pastor and early settler in 17th-century Massachusetts. Obama is related to Smith through his mother, as is Palin, Tyler said.
"Smith was against the persecution of the Quakers," Tyler said in an interview. "He was a very socially conscious man."
As for Limbaugh, he's also a 10th cousin of the president — one time removed — through a common ancestor named Richmond Terrell, who Tyler said was a large landowner in Virginia, also in the 17th century. "His history is a little more nebulous," Tyler said."
And frankly, the 17th century (relatively speaking) isn't so very long ago.  Of course, the fact of their familial relation doesn't in itself demonstrate irony -- family feuds are hardly uncommon.  The irony here is tinged for me by the barely beneath the surface racism encouraged by Palin and Limbaugh through their encouragement of groups that question Obama's religion, place of birth, etc.  
It all just makes me want to break out in song:  

There's so much that we share,
That it's time we're aware,  
It's a Small World After All! 


  1. AH, but the wisdom of the song begins:
    It's a world of laughter, a world of tears
    It's a world of hopes and a world of fears

    Each of those things is surely embedded in the story, as well.

    6 degrees of separation is really not that far- and apparently human genealogy indicates we aren't nearly as diverse as we sometimes like to think! On the other hand, any family tree that is linked through some guy named "John Smith" who lived in the 1600s may be a bit suspect.

  2. Indeed Stephanie! I was sort of hoping that our 17th C. John Smith might be related to ye olde John Smith of Pocahontas fame -- it round out the Disney angle so nicely :)