I was invited to a “State of the Union” drinking game last night, and I have to say I declined the invitation. Strangely, I think I would’ve gone had it been Dubya behind the pulpit.
Why? Because it’s way more fun to get drunk and rip on an easy target than it is to get drunk and have nuanced conversations with belligerent frat boys I’m way too old to be hanging out with anyway. Dubya was, at the least, a galvanizing president for we left-wing nuts, and a terrible speaker to boot. In his speeches lay endless potential for grammar gaffe-based shot-taking, and lots of opportunity for idealistic moral outrage, followed by earnest head-nodding and more shots.
Say what you will about ‘Bama, but the potential for fun is just not there. It’s hard for me to congratulate him on being a better speaker, since it’s not like he writes his own speeches (no leaders do, nor do they write their own books, which kind of makes critiquing any of them pointless in the first place but that’s a whole other topic); and it’s hard for me to care on any real level about his (or anyone’s) rhetoric, which is what speeches are.
Speeches tell you nothing about politics. Actions are what people should pay attention to; yet I am often called a philistine because I refuse to slavishly follow the media circus around political posturing. The problem with that line of thinking is that allowing your brain to be invaded by carefully crafted rhetoric (definition: language designed to please or persuade; loud, confused and empty talk) just leaves you more snowed than you were before, gifting you the ability only to parrot what you hear on TV. Who’s the philistine now, huh?