Fundamentally Hilarious

In New York magazine, the clever Dan Amira captures the essence of Newt Gingrich‘s windbaggery–the self-promoting adverb that makes the speaker look like an intellectual. Profoundly, deeply, frankly are frequently padders of Newt’s rhetoric, but by far Newt’s favorite word–the crutch without which he cannot walk a thought past his lips–is fundamentally. Examining Gingrich’s speeches since 2007, Amira found 418 unique uses of fundamental or fundamentally.

In one 2008 address to the American Enterprise Institute, fundamentally or fundamental appeared eighteen times. As Amira’s wonderful list shows, Gingrich usually uses fundamental to smarten up some prosaic thought (“fundamentally a falsehood,” “fundamentally a lie”), but Gingrich clear uses the word so thoughtlessly that he tosses it in anywhere (“fundamentally off-base in very profound ways”.) My favorites are those in Gingrich starts to double-dip: “fundamental, profound change”; “fundamentally, profoundly change Washington”; “fundamentally, profoundly wrong”; “fundamentally profoundly ignorantly anti-American the current judicial model is”; and “fundamentally reform and overhaul the federal government — fundamentally.”

[Cross-posted at]

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Jamie Malanowski

Jamie Malanowski is a writer and editor. He has been an editor at Time, Esquire and most recently Playboy, where he was Managing Editor.