Rawstory and other sites are reporting on an interview Christian Broadcasting Network conducted with Newt Gingrich. A highlight:
“There’s no question at times of my life, partially driven by how passionately I felt about this country, that I worked far too hard and things happened in my life that were not appropriate,” Gingrich said.
“What I can tell you is that when I did things that were wrong, I wasn’t trapped in situation ethics, I was doing things that were wrong, and yet, I was doing them,” he said.
This juxtaposition stands as an excellent example of pseudocratic lying–lying in the age of “truthiness.” The order of the statements is crucial. Gingrich leads with the assertion that his feeling passionate about his country led him to work too hard, and working too hard led him to cheat on his wives. (The timing of cheating-revealed is macabre, by the way: he presented his first wife terms of divorce while she was in hospital recovering from cancer, and he told the second wife about his cheating when she had just been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.)
But of course he hopes the lead–I was passionate about my country–will serve as mis-direction, even as he has made the calculation that he must also admit he did wrong.
One cannot prove that he is lying when he attributes his behavior to having felt passionate about his country, but Hemingway’s famous crap-detector would probably start making loud noises if fed the statement.
The greater problem is that we are drawn into such base, distasteful “information” because Newt is still thinking of running for president, is in a Party that pretends to be holier than thou, and must “inoculate the jury,” as it were. The last time around, he went on a minister’s radio talk show and did the same sort of quasi-mea-culpa.
I don’t want to think about Newt’s transgressions and his ghoulish timing, especially with regard to this subject, about which my general philosophy is “judge not lest ye be judged” along with a sprinkling of “who cares?” But, as Jacques Ellul noted, academics and others who fashion themselves as “current” and well informed are suckers for propaganda and for unseemly trivia masquerading as news.
Mis-direction, truthiness, unsavory spectacle, one mean, low-down man’s dogged yearning for power, falsehoodedness, lying-esque statements: welcome to the permanent pseudocratic fog. Remember the fog-machine in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest?