Saturday, February 16, 2008

Shafer, Jack. "How Obama Does that Thing he Does." SLATE February 14, 2008.

Barack Obama bringeth rapture to his audience. They swoon and wobble, regardless of race, gender, or political affiliation, although few understand exactly why he has this effect on them. No less an intellect than The New Yorker's George Packer confesses that moments after a 25-minute campaign speech by Obama in New Hampshire concluded, he couldn't remember exactly what the candidate said. Yet "the speech dissolved into pure feeling, which stayed with me for days," he writes. Given that many of his speeches are criminally short on specifics, as Leon Wieseltier writes this week, how does Obama do that thing he does? A 2005 paper (abstract) by University of Oregon professor of rhetoric David A. Frank unpeels Obama's momentous 2004 Democratic National Convention keynote address (video and text here) for clues to his method. Obama's spellbinding oration earned near-universal raves, including one from establishment conservative Rich Lowry, editor of National Review, and its echoes can be heard in every speech he's given as a candidate for president. . . . Read the rest here:

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