The girls, Nancy and Michelle, have mastered the fundamentals of walking and climbing, at least on large branches. Smaller branches are still a challenge, as they’re still learning to use their tails for balance. Regis, fresh from his class at the BPI Fizzix Department, tried to illustrate the fundamental vectors of moment of inertia, until Mrs. Squirrel reminded him that was fundamentally premature.
At least that’s how Newt Gingrich would explain it.
Gingrich is, to quote Nobel laureate Paul Krugman, “a stupid man’s idea of what a smart person sounds like.”
Gingrich is a man of Big Ideas. Well, that’s not quite true. As Dan Amira explained in this week’s New Yorker, Gingrich is a man of Profoundly, Deeply, and most of all Fundamentally Big Ideas. He speaks in adverbially adjectival puffery, and his favorites are “fundamental” and “fundamentally.” In one 2008 speech for the American Enterprise Institute, Gingrich used those words 418 times, in such contexts as:
“fundamental assault on the core values of the American Constitution and a fundamental assault on the core values of the Founding Fathers”
“fundamentally destroying jobs and fundamentally weakening our economic future”
“fundamentally misleading about the nature of reality and fundamentally misleading about the world”
“fundamentally out of touch with the reality of the real world”
“fundamentally, profoundly, ignorantly anti-American the current judicial model is”
Gingrich used the phrases “fundamental difference” or “fundamentally different” 42 times in that speech, and “fundamentally wrong” 30 times … syntax that is fundamentally different from and profoundly out of touch with ordinary speech, as well as being deeply, ignorantly, pufferentially ridiculous.
Such verbal tics are how he manages to retain a reputation as an “intellectual,” despite his history of profoundly absurd proposals like putting mining colonies on the moon, electromagnetic pulse (EMP) weapon threats, space mirrors to light our highways at night, space lasers to shoot down enemy missiles (perhaps the ones carrying those EMP weapons), and geo-engineering to “address global warming” (back when Gingrich believed humans could affect the climate). Such fundamentally impractical and profoundly dangerous ideas should be less deeply surprising, as Gingrich’s “hero and role model” was the fundamentally fictional psychohistorian Hari Seldon of deeply profound science-fiction writer Issac Asimov’s fundamental Foundation series.
If only Gingrich’s Fundamentally, Profoundly, Deeply Self-Aggrandizing Big Ideas ended with science fiction. Alas, he also proposes repealing child labor laws so profoundly poor children can deeply scrub school toilets, and even fundamentally ending adolescence. Again, that should not be profoundly surprising from someone who in the early 1990s sketched “Gingrich – primary mission” as:
—Advocate of civilization
—definer of civilization
—Teacher of the rules of civilization
—arouser of those who form civilization
—Organizer of the pro-civilization activists
—leader (possibly) of the civilizing forces.
If the BPI Fizzix Department’s theory of a Beltway Galaxy with spacetime warped by ego is fundamentally correct – and the Republican presidential debates have been profoundly consistent with its predictions – Gingrich is a deeply supermassive black hole of pretension, where the only question is the event horizon of his implosion.
Or maybe I’m just fundamentally grumpy, profoundly hungry, and deeply in need of macadamias.
Good day and good nuts.