In just about the only overtly political post I can remember James Lileks writing on his blog for the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, earlier today, he documented his encounter with the man and/or the woman, the myth, the legend, Ellie Light:
Controversies like these make for amusing sport, as everyone sleuths and decodes and theorizes until they have an epiphany: it was Cheney and Nixon on the grassy knoll! Well. The other day I got a letter from Ellie Light. I’m guessing everyone did. She gave her phone number, and said “feel free to call me.”So I did. Phone rings. Phone picks up. I ask if this is the famous Ellie Light.
“It’s me, it’s me, I’m the one who gave the bad addresses, the full of hubris woman.”
Did she say she was from the cities where the letter ran? I said or strongly implied it,” Ms. Light said. “They’d say, ‘we only print stuff from local residents, you’re from Sheboygan?,’ and I wouldn’t say no.”
She expressed regret: “I hate the idea that I’m causing newspapers grief, that this sort-of plays into the idea that papers are a liberal tool.”
Others have called as well, but she suspects coming clean won’t put the controversy to bed.
Do I think she’s real? Sure. A little googling on the phone number and some property records suggests she’s an actual human, as opposed to a political operative or a cyborg sent back from the fall of 2010 to change an election. Here’s her explanation for her behavior, sent in a previous letter.
Alright, then. Take a deep breath and accept that you’ve all been a bit silly. Let’s imagine a much more plausible scenario. Frustrated Obama-supporter writes letter to some blogs, asking why are we so harsh on our new President? Ben Stein picks up my letter, and even pays me a backhanded compliment in the process (check out the chronology of submissions. They match this). Star-struck girl sees letter in print, accompanied by angry comments from dozens of frothing Tea-partiers. She decides that perhaps she’s quite brilliant after all, and sends her letter around to a few more papers. Voila! The letters are printed, and Ellie’s friends (my friends), all remark that they never get their letters published, and what’s so special about Ellie’s letters. So Ellie, feeling smug and superior, indulges in a bit more self-validation, and submits her letter again…. and again! Then one fateful day, Ms. Eaton from the Cleveland Plain Dealer does her Google search, and a conspiracy theory is born!
I think she means Ben Smith of Politico, not Ben Stein the conservative columnist and Ferris Bueller star. In any case, controversy-wise, “there’s no there there,” as Gertrude Stein said of a city in California.
Wait a minute. Ellie Light lives in California. (She says.) And she said Ben STEIN quoted her.
Maybe this goes deeper than we know. Maybe she’s really Alice B. Toklas.
Perhaps with an even bigger ‘stache than Alice’s:
“I am Winston Steward and have been sending the letters from Ellie Light,” he told The Plain Dealer in an e-mail late Tuesday, following a phone interview in which he said the same. “I hope this ends any confusion and sets the record straight.”…
He repeated that in an e-mail, using the same account as he had when using the name “Ellie Light.”
He said, however, that he and Brooks are no longer married, a point Brooks disputed.
“He’s making up all kinds of garbage,” she said. “We’re not divorced. We’re not separated. He just doesn’t want anybody to trace him because he’s afraid of the right-wing crazies up in Bakersfield.”
As Allahpundit writes:
So our unfounded fears of a deeply disturbing Axelrodian astroturf operation have been replaced by … an even more deeply disturbing one-man letter-writing campaign by a dude who first impersonates his wife, then denies being married to her. I feel much better now. CBO is reporting tonight that the stimulus is going to be $75 billion more expensive than the $787 billion boondoggle we thought we were getting saddled with. Any O fans want to come forward and share what the voices in their head have been telling them about that?
As I have no grand conclusion to this post, I leave you with Ben Stein pontificating about the danger of being surrounded by ass-kissers like “Ellie.”
Update: Ben Smith distills the true lesson of the Light affair: “Obama’s so hard up for advocates these days that this is the best he can do.”
Nahh. You can come back, Barry — the MSM always forgives.