Sunday, March 6, 2011

Infinite Jest and Mike Huckabee

Hal Incandenza is working out a taxonomy of liars:

“Then there are what I might call your Kamikaze-style liars. These’ll tell you a surreal and fundamentally incredible lie, and then pretend a crisis of conscience and retract the original lie, and then offer you the lie they really want you to buy instead, so the real lie’ll appear as some kind of concession, a settlement with truth. That type’s mercifully easy to see through.”

David Foster Wallace, Infinite Jest (Boston: Little, Brown, 1996).
Hal’s observations might help one to understand Mike Huckabee’s statements earlier this week about Barack Obama’s childhood. Huckabee began with the claim that Obama grew up in Kenya:
“And one thing that I do know is his having grown up in Kenya, his view of the Brits, for example, very different than the average American. . . . But then if you think about it, his perspective as growing up in Kenya with a Kenyan father and grandfather, their view of the Mau Mau Revolution in Kenya is very different than ours because he probably grew up hearing that the British were a bunch of imperialists who persecuted his grandfather.“
And later:
“In my answer, I simply misspoke when I alluded to President Obama growing up in Kenya and meant to say Indonesia.”
And later:
“I do think he [Obama] has a different world view, and I think it is, in part, molded out of a very different experience. Most of us grew up going to Boy Scout meetings and, you know, our communities were filled with Rotary Clubs, not madrassas.”
See? Not Kenya. Indonesia. And madrassas. Obama did not attend a madrassa, and he spent most of his childhood in Hawaii. Scouting and Rotary, by the way, are alive and well there, as they are in Indonesia and Kenya. Mercifully easy to see through? I hope so.

As Andrew Sullivan observes, Huckabee is “Palin without the figure.”

Related reading
Huckabee’s “Kenya” clarification (Washington Post)
Huckabee: Obama Was Raised in Kenya (Mother Jones)
Gerakan Pramuka Indonesia (Scouting in Indonesia)
Kenya Scouts Association
Pramuka Indonesia (Wikipedia)
Rotary Clubs vs Madrassas (The Daily Dish)
Rotary Clubs vs Madrassas, Ctd (The Daily Dish)
Rotary Clubs vs Madrassas, Ctd (The Daily Dish)
Rotary in Indonesia (Rotary First 100)
Rotary in Kenya (Rotary District 9200)

comments: 4

Ben said...

Good post, Dad!

Michael Leddy said...

Thanks, Ben!

Elaine said...

Huckabee is mercifully no longer Arkansas' governor, and I find his presence on the national stage utterly baffling. I see he's gained back all of that weight...which is fine with me, because slimmed down he looks like Kevin Spacey. Now I can't stand either of them.

Michael Leddy said...

Elaine, I was hoping you’d say something about your ex- here. :)