Tuesday, 25 April 2006

If you can fake that…

you’ve got it made (referring to sincerity; variously attributed to Groucho Marx, George Burns et al.).

Or: He looked me straight in the eye and shook me firmly by the hand, so I knew he was a creep.

As with body language, so it is with speech patterns. Our leader tries hard, but, surprisingly for a former barrister, just doesn’t cut the mustard. A few moments of his matey, open, informal and confident style of discourse and you know beyond doubt that you are listening to a lying hypocrite cracking up under pressure.
I suppose that nowadays we would not be as stirred by Churchill’s Edwardian cadences as we once were, but what we hear now is surely the least inspiring political rhetoric ever. History might have taken a different course if we had heard on the radio in 1940: Hey, look, let me tell you frankly that we shall fight on the beaches…

6 comments:

Minerva said...

Absolutely with you on this one. I give my kids at school Churchill's speeches to study for rhetorical devices. I am not sure that I could find one in Blair's offerings...

Tony said...

Yes, but I suppose one could say that "Hey, look.." is a rhetorical device, or at any rate a rhetorical flourish. It's just that Blair's flourishes are childish, inappropriate and desperately unconvincing.

H. Campbell-Bannerman said...

I think "rhetorical flourish" is generous. "Hey, look" etc. are no more than tics. Childish, inappropriate and desperately unconvincing tics, to boot.

I mean, like, aren't they, wot?

Tony said...

Yes, all right, Henry, "tics" is better. However, a tic is involuntary, so the adjectives cannot be applied to it. Pull yourself together, man.
But well done for opposing the Boer war, my dear fellow.

Amelita Galinos said...

Tony, pay no attention to
that comment by Henry. It's just the sort of idiotic remark one would expect from someone who's been dead for ninety-eight years.

H. Campbell-Bannerman said...

Yes, but you have to admit that it was not a little prescient of me to compose my response nearly a hundred years prior to the initial remark – and then send it ahead via a medium I didn't know hadn't been invented yet.

And you're right, I was also being generous to young Blair by ascribing his poor manners to something involuntary. He does it all on purpose, to deflect attention from his woefully empty replies. Now, when I used to face Balfour across the dispatch box I would give it to him straight, I would. Hahaaa! Those were the days! None of your "I refer the honourable gentleman to the answer I gave some moments ago" nonsense, either!

Whoops my teeth have fallen out.