Wednesday, September 13, 2006

persuasion

On Monday night, when President Bush interrupted my TV watching, I told Allie to turn it off. Didn't want to hear it.

But she insisted to leaving it on. She said she was in the mood to hear his idiot drawl.

So I listened while playing a stupid Internet game. And after awhile I start thinking, Damn! This is pretty good.

I haven't been paying attention to the news. I don't know how the pundits scored the speach. But from my perspective it was beautifully written, and delivered with an almost perfect mix of authority, thoughtfulness and down-home plain talk.

Of course, I knew it was mostlly bunk -- all the stuff about how the war in Iraq is vital to our freedom and all that. But that's not the point. Presidential speeches aren't really about reality. They're about framing the debate. They're about persuasion.

I've been thinking about this a lot lately, as we gear up for the new debate season. We're running an argument this year about the importance of persuasion, about the need to strike a balance between ethos, pathos and logos inorder to affect just about anything.

They're keys to power.

Some of our primary evidence is the last two presidential campaigns. Both Gore and Kerry were both almost entirely logos-centered, we argue. Little real emotion, no clear sense of their characters. Bush, on the other hand...

Bush's cowboy, or barbecue buddy schtick might be complete hooey, but it works.

Good speech. That's where the opposition needs to be.

1 comment:

Dr. WhoAmI said...

.

We work like a horse.
We eat like a pig.
We like to play chicken.
You can get someone's goat.
We can be as slippery as a snake.
We get dog tired.
We can be as quiet as a mouse.
We can be as quick as a cat.
Some of us are as strong as an ox.
People try to buffalo others.
Some are as ugly as a toad.
We can be as gentle as a lamb.
Sometimes we are as happy as a lark.
Some of us drink like a fish.
We can be as proud as a peacock.
A few of us are as hairy as a gorilla.
You can get a frog in your throat.
We can be a lone wolf.
But I'm having a whale of a time!

You have a riveting web log
and undoubtedly must have
atypical & quiescent potential
for your intended readership.
May I suggest that you do
everything in your power to
honor your encyclopedic/omniscient
Designer/Architect as well
as your revering audience.
As soon as we acknowledge
this Supreme Designer/Architect,
Who has erected the beauteous
fabric of the universe, our minds
must necessarily be ravished with
wonder at this infinate goodness,
wisdom and power.

Please remember to never
restrict anyone's opportunities
for ascertaining uninterrupted
existence for their quintessence.

There is a time for everything,
a season for every activity
under heaven. A time to be
born and a time to die. A
time to plant and a time to
harvest. A time to kill and
a time to heal. A time to
tear down and a time to
rebuild. A time to cry and
a time to laugh. A time to
grieve and a time to dance.
A time to scatter stones
and a time to gather stones.
A time to embrace and a
time to turn away. A time to
search and a time to lose.
A time to keep and a time to
throw away. A time to tear
and a time to mend. A time
to be quiet and a time to
speak up. A time to love
and a time to hate. A time
for war and a time for peace.

Best wishes for continued ascendancy,
Dr. Whoami

P.S. One thing of which I am sure is
that the common culture of my youth
is gone for good. It was hollowed out
by the rise of ethnic "identity politics,"
then splintered beyond hope of repair
by the emergence of the web-based
technologies that so maximized and
facilitated cultural choice as to make
the broad-based offerings of the old
mass media look bland and unchallenging
by comparison."