Monday, May 02, 2011

The rhetoric of triumph

Over at Contentions, I use a little literary criticism to compare President Obama’s speech last night reporting the death of Osama bin Laden to President Bush’s speech aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln eight years ago on the end of major combat operations in Iraq.


PMH said...

Your analysis lays bare their ideologies, one Federalist, the other Communitarian. It is interesting how each speaker evokes situations that are more idealistic than true.

Kerry said...

Your characterization of Mark Steyn as "conced[ing]" that he was critical of Obama was the stunning bit.

Mark Steyn also 'conceded' (to use your phrasing) that Michelle Obama is "Kim Jong-Il dressed up with a bit of Oprah Winfrey dressing".

The fact that you could type that "Mark Steyn concedes" with respect to a criticism of Obama betrays a lack of objectivity in this arena. (Not that you are required to be objective, but, if you wanted to be at all persuasive, you really needed to find a quote from someone who didn't already think Obama was a socialist.)

D. G. Myers said...

Wow. You don’t like Mark Steyn, Kerry. I get it.

But unless you also don’t like the genetic fallacy, you’ve got to admit that his other views do not refute Steyn’s criticism of Obama’s speech.

In context, in fact, you will find that Steyn was reluctant to criticize the speech. Hence my use of the word concedes.

Take care of yourself, buddy.

Kerry said...

I am not sure what tips you off to the admitted fact that I do not think very highly of Mark Steyn, perhaps it is the fact that I quoted him which is likely never very flattering for him.

At any rate, the sorts of cues you picked up in my own comment matter is all I was saying.

I take it you do not dispute that Mark Steyn is, generally, highly critical of Obama. If you do not dispute that, I would think you would also have to admit that using the word "concedes" with respect to a Steyn criticism of Obama was maybe not the best choice.

I never claimed that stopped watches are not occasionally correct. In fact, I did not think much of the Obama speech.

But we will have to disagree on how "reluctant to criticize" the speech Steyn really was. In that very piece, after all, he characterizes Obama's usual speech delivery as "his glassy-eyed follow-the-bouncing-ball routine".

I am not trying to pick any fights or anything. I like you. You're a smart guy. I just thought it was a bad note, one "tinny key", in a piece designed to criticize just that.

You could reasonably ask why I would go out of my way to point out that one quibble. It is not to defend Obama, the speech could and should have been much better, and in many of the ways you point out. But Steyn thrives on echo-chamber commentary (in his case hysterical conservative) and I believe you are above that.

I admit "shrill Obama critic Mark Steyn eagerly points out the weakness of the President's speech" may not have the same pithy ring to it, but at least it is scrupulously accurate.

And, really, I like you (or, having never actually met you, I like your online persona and respect your obvious literary knowledge). There is no ill-will emanating from me to you, I assure you. I wish you the best, including success at Commentary.