Archive - Jan 2010
Lacrosse practice - http://twitpic.com/zfbkg
Maybe so. In case you missed it, check out the performance of “Freebird” from Conan O’Brien’s final Tonight Show last night. It features Will Ferrell on vocals along with Ben Harper, Billy Gibbons…
Oh ye of the teleprompter derangement syndrome. You who love to ridicule the president for his reliance on teleprompters...implying that it means he's not really much of a speaker...or doesn't really believe what he says...or that he's not actually all that bright...or whatever it is that you think makes it worthy of ridicule. First of all, go back and read Bush speechwriter Michael Gerson's article from last March about Obama and his teleprompter (link). It's not as if Gerson doesn't write some rich stuff (a Bush speechwriter criticizing a president for not sufficiently owning up to his mistakes? please!: link), but I thought he was right on with his analysis back in March and still do. An excerpt:
This derision is based on the belief that the teleprompter exaggerates the gap between image and reality -- that it involves a kind of deception. It is true that there is often a distinction between a president on and off his script. With a teleprompter, Obama can be ambitiously eloquent; without it, he tends to be soberly professorial. Ronald Reagan with a script was masterful; during news conferences he caused much wincing and cringing. It is the rare politician, such as Tony Blair, who speaks off the cuff in beautifully crafted paragraphs.
But it is a mistake to argue that the uncrafted is somehow more authentic. Those writers and commentators who prefer the unscripted, who use "rhetoric" as an epithet, who see the teleprompter as a linguistic push-up bra, do not understand the nature of presidential leadership or the importance of writing to the process of thought.
Governing is a craft, not merely a talent. It involves the careful sorting of ideas and priorities. And the discipline of writing -- expressing ideas clearly and putting them in proper order -- is essential to governing. For this reason, the greatest leaders have taken great pains with rhetoric. Lincoln continually edited and revised his speeches. Churchill practiced to the point of memorization. Such leaders would not have been improved by being "unplugged." When it comes to rhetoric, winging it is often shoddy and self-indulgent -- practiced by politicians who hear Mozart in their own voices while others perceive random cymbals and kazoos. Leaders who prefer to speak from the top of their heads are not more authentic, they are often more shallow -- not more "real," but more undisciplined.
Now watch the video below. Obama spoke at the House Republican retreat in Baltimore today and then spent over an hour in a Q&A session with the House Republicans. You'll notice that teleprompter technology has come a long way since Obama took office. These days they are apparently invisible and able to respond to impromptu questions within seconds with knowledge and insight.
Oh no he didn't. That must have been a fluke (just like the BA from Columbia and graduating magna cum laude from Harvard Law were). I know he didn't just show (again) that he's able to talk intelligently and extensively about policy with or without a teleprompter. Anyway, here is the speech that preceded the Q&A:
A friend at work showed me this video of this 7-year-old boy Kiki who was rescued after 7 and half days in the rubble from the earthquake in Haiti. His smile and the cheers of the rescue workers as Kiki emerges from the rubble are wonderful. It reminds me of another round of applause that I witnessed in person about 3 years ago (link).
Here are a couple videos from last night...First, Stewart laments what Olbermann has become:
|The Daily Show With Jon Stewart||Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c|
|Special Comment - Keith Olbermann's Name-Calling|
Then, Colbert discusses how Obama is apparently "Adolf Carter": somehow "both an iron-fisted autocrat and a laughably incompetent waffler":