... the journal

The Guest
Refrigerator Door

Now we have some magnets from Bob, who is an internet-friend I've never met, but who sent this series...

rs-dare.jpg (16344 bytes)




WHAT I'M READING...

0062507249.01.MZZZZZZZ.jpg (4762 bytes)

Becoming a Man:
Half a Life Story

by
Paul Monette

My Amazon wish list


WHAT I'M WATCHING...

Nothing--working diligently


Pictures from our
England and Orkney trip

are on my Club Photo page.



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That's it for today!

 

SLOGANS AND PLATITUDES

12 November 2001

I want to be inspired by our president. I really do. We're engaged in a war and now is the time to put aside partisan politics and pull together to support our government. I want to listen to the president give a speech and feel my soul stirred. I want to be inspired to pin a flag on my lapel or hang a flag banner up on the bulletin board at work.

But I think my problem is that I've been involved with community theatre for too long.

A couple of days ago, I watched Bush give a speech. Following the speech, I had the overwhelming urge to write an entry pulling the speech apart and pointing out how silly the platitudes were.

The great purpose of our great land is to rid this world of evil and terror.

The evil ones have roused a mighty nation, a mighty land. And for however long it takes, I am determined that we will prevail.

Prevail we must because we fight for one thing, and that is the freedom of our people and the freedom of people everywhere.

They all sounded like they came from Slogan Writing 1A at some community college. How has this blatant propaganda been inspiring people all these weeks?

To get the text, I went to CNN on line, which had the script verbatim. As I read through it, I realized it was a fairly good speech. Well written. I felt patriotism stirring in my soul.

The great purpose of our great land is to rid this world of evil and terror.

The evil ones have roused a mighty nation, a mighty land. And for however long it takes, I am determined that we will prevail.

Prevail we must because we fight for one thing, and that is the freedom of our people and the freedom of people everywhere.

But then I saw portions of the speech replayed on the evening news and again, I wanted to scoff at how blatantly manipulative it was.

I finally realized that Bush is just a bad actor. He's learned to memorize lines (or read a teleprompter) all right, but he still can't deliver them convincingly. He tries to follow his blocking directions, but when he raises a hand for emphasis, it looks contrived and unnatural. When he tries to make eye contact with the camera, he's uneasy and appears shifty eyed.

I read the speech again and tried to hear it being delivered by Clinton or JFK or FDR or maybe even Reagan (though nobody would ever accuse him of being a good actor either). I began the understand the power of persuasion.

The great purpose of our great land is to rid this world of evil and terror.

The evil ones have roused a mighty nation, a mighty land. And for however long it takes, I am determined that we will prevail.

Prevail we must because we fight for one thing, and that is the freedom of our people and the freedom of people everywhere.

I am reminded of the movie Cabaret. The scene is an outdoor beer garden. A sweet faced young man with blonde hair--the perfect Arian--steps to the microphone and in a melodic tenor begans singing a sweet song...

The sun on the meadow is summery warm
The stag in the forest runs free
But gathered together to greet the storm
Tomorrow belongs to me...

As the song goes on, the voice gets more and more strident until by the last verse...

Now Fatherland, Fatherland, show us the sign
Your children have waited to see
The morning will come when the world is mine
Tomorrow belongs to me
Tomorrow belongs to me

By this point, all the people in the beer garden audience have risen to their feet, the boy's eyes have a hard glint to them, and he ends the song with a proud sieg heil. It's a chilling moment--and one which brought home to me how easy it was to manipulate people if the delivery is right.

Think of the speechs of Hitler. You don't need to understand German. Watch the body language, hear the tone of his voice, watch the audience response. This is a guy who knows how to manipulate an audience.

There's something to be said for delivery. I'm with the president. Really I am. But I just would rather read his speeches than have to watch him deliver one. His demeanor makes me question his sincerity and feel like I'm being manipulated. If I'm going to be manipulated, I want it to be by someone who is so skillful I don't know it's happening.

This nation is freedom's home and freedom's defender. And we owe so much, so much to the men and women, our veterans, who stepped forward to protect those freedoms.

They're good words, those last words of Bush's Veteran's Day speech. But they have a much greater impact as I read them than they did as I watched him deliver them.

It's the theatre critic in me.  I'd only give him 3 stars (out of 5).  Perhaps he needs a bit more rehearsal. Unfortunately, I am afraid he's going to get a lot of opportunity to get it right.


One Year Ago:
I have to go potty
(this repeats one of my favorite mothering stories)

(Club Photo has started deleting
photo albums after 90 days,
so the photos which were once there,
have been removed now)


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Created 11/9/01 by Bev Sykes