May 20, 2009

Overrated Orator


I recently came across a quote, taken from Obama's Inauguration Address. (15:26 if you want to see)

"To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history; but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist."

I remember him giving this line. But only after recently reading it again was I truly moved.

This is just about as powerful a line as man can write and yet, it almost rings flat as he hurries through it. If you watched the video, you'll notice only a dull, delayed applause. He simply doesn't give powerful statements like this enough time to breathe. By delivering every phrase with authority and gravitas, he ends up emphasizing none of them.

Obama speaks with eloquence, thought and power. He simply needs to work on his timing and dynamics. Maybe pick up an instrument...or take an improv class.

Because with lines like this, he would have us.

8 comments:

Matt J said...

It would probably help if he was on a horse while saying it...à la Braveheart and Lord of the Rings.

TJarrett said...

"By delivering every phrase with authority and gravitas, he ends up emphasizing none of them."

I think that's a great observation. Oddly enough, it seems like injecting more of the mundane into his public addresses would go a long way.

Jeff said...

It goes without saying that I disagree.

I was there and that line got great applause in my section. It's worth noting, though, that it was about 20 degrees outside and most people had been standing in the cold for at least 4-5 hours. So even though it was a historic moment, it was tough for people to give raucous reactions to each part of the speech.

Have you watched his recent speech to graduates at ASU? Even though I'm incredibly biased, and recognizing you might not agree with everything he says, I still think you'd enjoy it.

Rob said...

That's pretty much the point. He is a gifted speaker with a teleprompter with some of the best speech writers.

You may be able to appreciate this though eric, one thing that drives me up a wall about with Obama is all these situations, like his first address to congress, where he made a statement like 'we will turn this around' or 'america will overcome this' etc. to a roaring standing ovation as if he just said something so powerful and inspirational. The reality is that he just got hired to a job where that is not an option. It's like a janitor proudly telling his boss "and these toilets will be cleaned" and his boss giving him a standing ovation. America better overcome!

You know actually if you can get over his charisma, Obama is a person convinced his ideology is the answer to all the worlds problems. But actions are sapposed to speak louder than words, which it seems the country is asleep about. Obama has:

- Passed the largest spending bill in our governments history and urged it to be voted on before people even read it. It includes 9,000 ear marks and is sending our deficit somewhere towards 50 cents on the dollar of every dollar spent by government is now debt. Who in the world is going to pay for this?!

- Obama is going to try to pay for some of the deficit by decreasing the size of our military, raising taxes on the wealthy, and eventually by taxing churches. Economists estimate tax rates will have to go through the roof to pay for this. Ok so tax rates through the roof, increasing government size...sounds like we are no longer capitalist...

- Gave an executive order to reverse the mexico city policy after being in office for only 2 days. now tax payers are paying for abortions overseas, like 10 million dollars.

- The GIVE act, manditory volunteerism is likely not going to be used to plant trees in run down areas primarily. The GIVE act is going to create a large Godless civilian police force under complete government control. 250,000 people who are not allowed to listen to any religious teaching or worship, who cannot engage in partisan politics or speak out in any way against the government.

anyhow just a few of the things I have been picking up on.

Eric Olsen said...

just finished the ASU speech, Jeff. The speech had moments. But, I noticed the same downfalls. Not in content. But in delivery.

(insert metaphor)
I'm always surprised by how impressed the American Idol judges are with any black girl with big pipes. It's like they haven't been to a church in years. There are girls like that in every church in America. Similarly, I think Obama's delivery is comparable to the average preacher.

I think the phrase Jarrett hit on is the main point/problem I have with his speaking. And perhaps it's just a personal issue, and I prefer a certain rhetorical style.

But, without interspersing casual speak, his authoritative statements have no authority.

IF I ONLY TYPE LIKE THIS, HOW WILL YOU KNOW WHEN I'M ACTUALLY ANGRY?

Arcane Rest said...

I believe the way Obama speaks is very purposeful. Because he emphasizes everything during a speech, any cut of the speech will make it sound like that part was quite profound.

This is very important for the President because not many people watch the speech more than 1 time. After that one time we just watch clips of the speech, all of which are delivered with power and authority. This may decrease the profundity of the original speech but it may be a calculated risk for the historical look back at his speeches.

Eric Olsen said...

sean, you had me sold for a second. but, he should know that they're only going to take the clips of the profound/important statements, which he would still deliver with authority.

Arcane Rest said...

eric, not necesarily, the media clearly loves any word that comes out of Obama's mouth, profound or not, so they can play anything and it sounds great