One of the great bon mots of the last century was Oscar Wilde's description of the English upper class "sport" of fox hunting as "the unspeakable in pursuit of the inedible." This deathless line came to mind as I watched the results of the Florida Republican Primary dribbling in last night on MSNBC. Regardless of strategic calculation or schadenfreudlichen lust, it is impossible to watch a mudfight between Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich with anything but revulsion.
As I have noted from time to time, this is a country of three hundred thirty million, so any characterological deformation or spiritual corruption, no matter how extreme, is sure to be exhibited by more than a few Americans. What astonishes me is the exquisite precision with which the Republican Party has managed to filter through the entire nominally adult American population and gather into the ranks of its presidential aspirants so bizarre a collection of psychopathic personalities. Under these circumstances, embracing anarchism seems to me as natural as rooting against the Yankees. Perhaps it was a mistake on my part to struggle so manfully with my health problems so that I could return to the public world of political commentary. A little obsessive navel-gazing might have a certain survival value.