From heroes in history books and cowboy movies [young Newt Gingrich] extracted idealizations of himself. It was in the darkened theater of the mind, the local cheese box of a movie theater in Hummelstown, that he had his awakening, “a moment where I realized, I can be a leader,” he said.Yikes. Read the whole thing, if you can.
He would watch John Wayne kill the bad guys four or five times in a row and go home to try aping the laconic lope of the 6-foot-4 actor. This was not easy for a short, pudgy boy. Nevertheless, he said, “I imprinted John Wayne … as my model of behavior. I was a 50-year-old at 9.”
When Newt dared, at 15, to break the old man’s curfew of 11 p.m., Bob Gingrich recalled, with an intimidating pantomime, how he “grabbed him by the lapels and I smashed him against the wall. Then I dropped him. He didn’t do it again.”
December 23, 2011
"Newt was a solitary boy whose extreme nearsightedness made it extremely difficult for him to recognize people until he was about 12..."
I am a jaded blogger whose extreme fussiness about writing and psychoanalyzing makes it extremely difficult for me to believe that the extreme overuser of the word "extreme," Gail Sheehy, has actually written a fine article about the extremely weird and painful childhood of the man who might have been called "Newt the McPherson," after the "big, brawling man" who impregnated his mother when she was 16, but who acquired the last name of the "bar-fighting bread-truck driver" who married her shortly thereafter.