Whenever one pundit frets about a loss of civility in the public
dialogue, another cherry-picks some violent quotation from a long-ago
political fight and says, "See? It was worse in 1840!"
So it was with particular interest that I dove into a copy of Volume 1, Issue 1 of Vital Speeches of the Day, dated Oct. 8, 1934.
Seventy-five years ago today, in this then-weekly (now monthly)
collection of U.S. speeches, what were "the leading moulders of public
opinion" talking about, and in what tones?
Read my surprising answer, on the Huffington Post's national politics page.
Good stuff, David. If only they’d had powerpoint back then…
“We were at the end of an era and did not know it.” – keep talking, Colonel, you’ve got me listening.
David Murray says
The formula for good speeches never changes, and it’s just exactly as simple as this: The speaker has something honest to say.
This was a great post David and I enjoyed reading it. Here’s my absolute favourite part:
“These speeches were full of . . . refreshingly unapologetic leadership.”
That is just EXCELLENT!! Those last three words are really all anyone ever needs to think about when writing a speech – if they want it to be something anybody gives a damn about!
Obviously, that is easier said than done, but if you at least keep those words in your mind as you’re writing, I really think you’re on the right track.
David Murray says
Yeah, people are afraid to assert leadership these days. Do we owe this to postmodernism? You’d think would be a good thing–fewer bossy jagoffs, less paternalism, a more egalitarian culture.
Alas, we really do need people to take charge, and they’re not doing it.
Meanwhile, bossy jagoffs still abound and the egalitarian culture blows.