Tuesday, September 24

Gab, gab, gab

GQ's September British issue features an article titled "All the president's gab". Its a great piece with President's ex-speechwriter, his speech excellency Jon Favreau giving advice on how political speeches should be, listing of course examples from Obama's previous addresses. Given its election time in Azerbaijan and how little (softly said) our ruling and (un)ruling politicians talk I thought this might be a timely post.

So here is some piece of advice, I hope the President's speechwriter (including the rest of beloved political speakers) also read this and get few tips: 

1. Begin conversationally:
  • "You know, they said this day would never come" (Obama, opening to the Iowa caucuses victory speech, 2008). Favreau when writing this speech says he wanted it to be natural and yet with a lot of meaning as Obama won the Iowa caucuses. I myself can hardly think of a time when I. Aliyev or any of his staff began their speech conversationally. I doubt that concept even exists in their dictionary, because they rarely talk anyway, most of time issuing orders and praising each other, well, more like one Person most of the time.
2. Tell riskier jokes:
  • "Just the other day, Matt Damon- I love Matt Damon, love the guy- Matt Damon said he was disappointed in my performance. Well Matt, I just saw the Adjustment Bureau, so right back at you buddy" (Obama, White House Correspondents' Dinner Speech, 2011). This is a really good one- can anyone remind me of any political speech that remotely had jokes in it (let alone jokes about the conversations with stars)? I don't. Most of Azerbaijani stars bow their heads, and write songs dedicated to the President and him only, or the land, or the President, or the land. Puf... boring...
3. Get personal:
  • "Being a teenager isn't easy. Its a time when you're wrestling with a lot of things. When I was in my teens, I was wrestling with all sorts of questions about who I was. I had a white mother and a black father, and my father wasn't around; he had left when I was two." (Obama, Back to School Speech, 2010). Hmm... when was the last time the President went personal on anything? Apart from cutting ribbons and dry "congratulations" and "wish you successes" there hasn't been much. But then again, "personal" might not be a "feeling" expressed "commonly" in our political world.
4. Fight with humor (oh boy, this was my favorite esp. in the light of recent bottle- throwing scandal):
  •  "You [Mitt Romney] might not be ready for diplomacy with Beijing if you can't visit the Olympics without insulting our closest ally" (Obama, Democratic National Convention speech, 2012). Ok, I thought not to say anything, but this is too good. One comment, just think of our most recent pre- election TV debates and how "humored" our candidates were (especially some of them). Except from belittling, shouting, and more belittling and more shouting there is nothing really said. Wait, did I just write "said" apologies, my bad.
5. More drama
  • "I'm no longer just a candidate. I'm the president. I know what it means to send young Americans into battle, for I have held in my arms the mothers and fathers of those who didn't return." (Obama, Democratic National Convention speech, 2012). Well well well... This is also not familiar to our vocabulary. I can hardly remember our president ever utter the words like "candidate"- thanks to all the propaganda and brain washing, it feels like he has been the president for as long as people can remember. Wait, was there anyone else before anyway? 
So this is a list. I turned the page hoping there will be more, but these were just the five tips listed. Now who will be first to change their gag?

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