Huffpost Comedy
The Blog

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

Mark Axelrod Headshot

"Spanish Is a Language of the Ghetto"; or, Newt y Yo

Posted: Updated:

It's amazing how things get taken out of context especially in the "lamestream media." Allegedly, Newt Gingrich allegedly said that "Spanish is a language of the ghetto." What people don't know is that it wasn't Newt who said that, but Newt. You see, what people don't know about Newt is that Newt has been a longtime admirer of the work of the Argentine writer, Jorge Luis Borges and one of his most favorite short stories of the maestro is "Borges y yo" or "Borges and I." Yes, he's been quiet about that, but if one goes back to his Tulane days and has access to the library books he checked out during his tenure there one would find evidence that, in fact, Newt was a closet Borgesian.

Now, the Borges story explores the basic notion of the self and begins: "The other one, the one called Borges, is the one things happen to. I walk through the streets of Buenos Aires and stop for a moment, perhaps mechanically now, to look at the arch of an entrance hall and the grillwork on the gate; I know of Borges from the mail and see his name on a list of professors or in a biographical dictionary. I like hourglasses, maps, eighteenth-century typography, the taste of coffee and the prose of Stevenson; he shares these preferences, but in a vain way that turns them into the attributes of an actor."

You see, just as there are two Borgeses, there are two Newts (this latter newt should not be confused with the newt one reads in a Julio Cortázar short story, "Axolotl" which is an entirely different newt, but not necessarily a different newt). We all see the public Newt, the Newt that insulted Ronald Reagan, the Newt who was fined for his unethical congressional behavior, the Newt that's a Washington insider, the Newt who asked his second wife for an open marriage with his third, the Newt who took money from Fanny Mae and Freddie Mac ad astra.

But that's only Newt, there's also the Newt that is known by itself, the one that questions things about the public self, the one that weeps over the death of his mother. So, you see the Newt that called Spanish "the language of the ghetto" was not said by Newt, but by Newt. The Newt who said those things is not the Newt who knows that the Spanish of Cervantes is not the Spanish of the ghetto or the Spanish of Neruda is not the Spanish of the ghetto or the Spanish of Borges is not the Spanish of the ghetto. The Newt who knows those things admires Latinos and feels compassion for whatever plights they may have to deal with. Likewise, the Newt that rails against Saul Alinsky as being a Jewish socialist or about Obama as being a Kenyan socialist, is quite candidly anti-Semitic and racist, but the other Newt is not. That's the Newt who loves Israel and takes Shedon Adelson's Jewish contributions to support his race to the White House or the Newt who wrote so lovingly about education in the Belgian Congo.

No, just as Borges was also Borges, Newt is also Newt and one only needs to read that chapter of his PhD dissertation titled, "Pierre Mentiroso, Author of the Quixote" to get a true understanding of who Newt actually is. Happy reading.