Critique of Pres. Obama’s Inaugural Address (1-20-09)

In my previous blog entry, I said that the address that the President gave to the millions was “beautiful”. In that brief entry, I gave an outline, not of Obama’s speech, but of a speech that I wanted him to deliver. I wrote my outline in anticipation of his speech to see if I could project what, to me, would be the ideal inaugural address. I did not come close.

Pres. Obama’s speech was persuasive without being informative. The persuasive speech must have a strong informative structure at its base. My outline established an informative base upon which a persuasive speech could be built.

Pres. Obama’s speech lacked structure. I previously citiqued Obama’s “Acceptance” speech and found the same fault, which, to me, is a glaring deficiency. Without the informative structure, many questions are begged. Without the proper structure what remains?

I watched a round table discussion of the Inaugural Address on Charlie Rose’s program that evening. What they mostly talked about was the catchphrases in the speech, which were springboards to digressions of the panel’s own tangents. That’s when I concluded that the speech was persuasive without being informative. Many reports on the speech reach for those catchphrases because they were (are) the most memorable aspects, and memorability is the test of any good speech. Pres. Obama’s address — called that because of its “formal” nature — was Knute Rockne’s dressing room talk to his team at half-time of a losing football game. “Pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off…” Etc.

“Let’s win one for the Gipper!”

There is no doubt that Pres. Obama is master of the catchphrase. Do not ever underestimate the power of the stylish phrase. Such a device has the power to define an issue succinctly. The mind of the phrasemaker has to be marvelously penetrative of tough subjects to come up with its simple statment. Pres. Obama has shown powerful abilities to manage a political campaign and the transition of power between regimes. I could feel the iron grip of competence seizing control of our public affairs to the satisfaction of nearly all.

Perhaps January 20th was the time for the persuasive pep-talk at half-time of a losing game. However, he has just set us up to expect and demand that talk with the structure to inform, following something like the outline I proposed in my previous blog entry. I believe it is forthcoming.

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Published in: on January 21, 2009 at 11:22 am  Comments (3)  

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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. energeticdad

    If I publish my articles to my school paper are they copyrighted or do I have any ownership over them?
    [JFD says: Does your school paper announce in its masthead that the contents of the paper are copyright-protected? Copyright infringement is the use of works protected by copyright law without permission. That protection should be affirmed somewhere in the publication. Do you think you can expect to be protected against plagiarism even if that affirmatio9n is not made? Plagiarism is literary theft. It is a crime. But to be strictly legal, the territory must have a fence around it that says “keep out”, and that is what a declaration of copyright in all printed works does. Does your paper have such a declaration “fence”? You should find and identify your plagiarist, confront him or her, and tell them they are literary thieves, but only if you are sure your printer has made the declaration somewhere in the masthead of the publication that you own those words in that piece of writing. How do you confront a thief? Who is probably ignorant of that thievery. As many are. At term paper time in the schools, there are many infractions, people taking right and left what does not belong to them, and that is one of the important lessons to be taught in paper-writing assignments.]

  2. I couldn’t stop reading this article. It’s not just interesting, it’s written in an easy to understand manner as well as being easy to understand. Thanks for your great work!

  3. […] Critique of Pres. Obama’s Inaugural Address (1-20-09) January 2009 Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)#1 Page and Top 3 Posts In 2009 Published in: […]


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