Whenever and wherever a human does something of which the Times is not certain it approves, the grey lady turns to psychology, like an eleventh-grader with a collection of Capote stories and a looming term paper deadline. The wounded loner narrative is thus their second most popular plotline, a whisker behind the fake trend story. It is marvelously elastic; I've read it regarding murderers, lefty politicians, preachermen, domestic terrorists, stand-up comedians, indie actors, and small-label musicians. And now Pfc. Bradley Manning.
As is usually the case in the venerable rag, newsgirl Ginger Thompson seeks to portray Manning's convictions as symptomatic of an implicitly flawed personal character. Gay computer-nerd loser is the pathology, and revealed government secrets is how it presents clinically. That Manning's convictions and willingness to act upon them might in fact reveal the core of his character does not occur to her; I suspect it would only frighten her if it did. Early episodes in which Manning defends his beliefs and principles despite the social opprobrium and unpopularity it brings him are inverted and reinterpreted as a lonely child acting out.
At school, Bradley Manning was clearly different from most of his peers. He preferred hacking computer games rather than playing them, former neighbors said. And they said he seemed opinionated beyond his years about politics, religion, and even about keeping religion out of politics.Even about keeping religion out of politics. Hallelujah. We've got a gen-u-wine weirdo.
The Times throws in the usual soupçon of sexual confusion, even though Manning does not appear to be sexually confused in the slightest, and ties up the package neatly with a strongly implied motive of self-aggrandizement, ascribing an "inflated sense of purpose" to the young private, before--and this is why we can be glad that the Times appears to be run and edited by illiterates--dropping in a damning quote that makes exactly the opposite point it was plainly included to make.
“I wouldn’t mind going to prison for the rest of my life, or being executed so much,” he wrote, “if it wasn’t for the possibility of having pictures of me plastered all over the world press.”Well, a negative statement followed be a negative subordinate clause is a little hard to parse. Either Thompson and her editors sought to undermine the entire thesis of the story in its ultimate paragraph, or else, far more likely, they misread the quotation and thought they'd caught out Manning proclaiming that he did it for fame.