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» One Touch Football - Archive » World » The Return of Political Oratory. (Page 1)

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Author Topic: The Return of Political Oratory.
The Batebe of Toro Foundation
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Obama is giving a major address, any second now, on the topic of race and this election.

Looks like a game-breaker.

You'll get it live on CNN.com, if you so wish...

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ursus arctos
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Text here (scroll down).

I haven't read it yet, and probably won't be able to get to it before tonight at the earliest.

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The Batebe of Toro Foundation
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Game Over.

[/wild, dewy-eyed hyperbole]

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Matej
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It's a pretty damn good speech. I only see one big clunker from my viewpoint. ("stalwart allies like...")

There is definitely some powerful stuff in there, though. Hopefully it pays off.

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G-Man
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That's the appeal of Obama, isn't it. The unusual presentation of politicianship and a great turn of phrase that stands above the standard repertoire of political rhetoric. He's an updated version of JFK. I want the guy to win for want of better alternatives, but I have no illusion that he'd be no better than John Fucking Kennedy.

I've read about a quarter of his speech so far, and with the right coverage it could become epochal stuff. Or it gets buried... What mood is the media in today?

"It’s a story that hasn’t made me the most conventional candidate." Dining out on novelty there, man. And good for him.

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G-Man
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Oh man, I do like this bit, on so many levels:


-----------------------------------------------
We can accept a politics that breeds division, and conflict, and cynicism. We can tackle race only as spectacle – as we did in the OJ trial – or in the wake of tragedy, as we did in the aftermath of Katrina - or as fodder for the nightly news. We can play Reverend Wright’s sermons on every channel, every day and talk about them from now until the election, and make the only question in this campaign whether or not the American people think that I somehow believe or sympathize with his most offensive words. We can pounce on some gaffe by a Hillary supporter as evidence that she’s playing the race card, or we can speculate on whether white men will all flock to John McCain in the general election regardless of his policies.

We can do that.

But if we do, I can tell you that in the next election, we’ll be talking about some other distraction. And then another one. And then another one. And nothing will change.

-----------------------------------------------

And then all the "This time..." phrases. Oratory of the highest order.

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bryanattoni
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A few years ago, an artist installed a huge LED scrolling text thing at Schiphol airport that displays random text. I think it inspired Obama.

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In more ways than one...

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But he does seem the least worst candidate.

[ 19.03.2008, 01:49: Message edited by: bryanattoni ]

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Antonio Gramsci
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I wouldn't have said it was brilliant oratory. It was a brave speech, and perhaps even an incredible one in the sense that it was about nuance and paradox when most American political language is about sledge-hammer soundbites.

But the delivery was flat. I think that was deliberate, because he wanted people to focus on the words and not the delivery. But as a result it wasn't particularly stirring.

In years to come, you'll rememer that he made such a speech, but you won't be able to remember him delivering it.

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G-Man
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The worst thing he could have done is to go all incendiary, sounding like Rev Wright. Obama is no MLK; he'd sound silly going for oratory fireworks.

I think he delivered his speech crisply, with a body language that supported his eloquence. It is a speech that one can read, which might help in cementing its historical place (if it has such merit).

Content and subject matter apart, I think -- well, I hope -- that making such an unconventional speech communicates a message that Obama is not taking the public for fools who want to be fed soundbites, but seeks to engage with them to address all the complications of life. If that message can be brought across, then it doesn't matter much what he said or how he said it.

Obama is presenting himself as a viable alternative to voters who think that every politician is just as bad as the other. He presents himself as taking the public's concerns seriously, he projects a measure of idealism for a "better tomorrow", and he has the capacity to use his brain (unlike the present goon in the White House). The race speech will surely support and reinforce these projections.

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Antonio Gramsci
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Absolutely, G-Man. He used the right tone for the words he was delivering. It's just that as a result it wasn't particuarly stirring as an oration.

Did anyone see any American TV news last night? How did they end up covering it? What ended up being the soundbites?

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Andy C
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quote:
I will never forget that in no other country on Earth is my story even possible.
I acknowledge this sort of nationalistic hubris is standard in American discourse, but it always makes me uneasy.
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Nathan HelenaHandcart
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Good piece on Obama vs Clinton from the LRB
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Antonio Gramsci
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For AndyC:

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When my family arrived in this country four months ago, we spoke no English and had no money in our pockets. Today, we own a nationwide chain of wheel-balancing centers. Where else but in America, or possibly Canada, could our family find such opportunity? That's why,whenever I see the Stars and Stripes, I will always be reminded of that wonderful word: flag!

[ 19.03.2008, 10:28: Message edited by: Antonio Gramsci ]

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garcia en dolor
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from nathan's link:

quote:
But his rallies, galling as they must be to the Clinton campaign, convey a misleading impression of his political skills. Better to eavesdrop on him, via unedited video on the internet, at dinner with four constituents in a DC restaurant or answering questions from the editorial board of a local newspaper. What strikes one first is his gravity and intentness as a listener and observer: a negative capability so unusual in a politician that, when one watches these clips, it’s hard to remember that he’s running for office and not chairing a seminar in a department of public policy. When his turn comes to speak, he is at first hesitant, a man of many ums and ers, but as he articulates his answer you realise that he has wholly assimilated the question, inspected it from a distance and seen around its corners, as well as having taken on board both the character and the motive of his questioner. The campaign trail is the last place where one expects to see an original intellect at work in real time, pausing to think, rephrase, acknowledge an implicit contradiction, in such even tones and with such warmth and sombre humour.
that's probably the most worshipful passage i've read about a political figure since g. ward price went powerboating with mussolini.

quote:
Henry James famously said that to be an American is a complex fate. Few living Americans have as fully embodied that complexity in their own lives as Obama has done, and none has written about it with such intelligent regard for its difficulties and rewards.
really? i assumed his memoir was the standard type of self-serving text usually produced by an aspiring public figure, where the story takes second place to political positioning. is it actually worth reading?
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Hieronymus Bosch
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No.
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