Thursday, March 20, 2008

Political Rhetoric and Critical Analysis (JM)

So one of my hobbies is amateur critical theory. I occasionally, and by occasionally I mean way more often than I care to admit, spend time deeply deconstructing things like Matt Roush's TV Guide column. One of the things I particularly enjoy is tearing in to political rhetoric and speeches. With Obama's speech yesterday being hailed as one of the greatest speeches of all time (I didn't watch, but can only assume Chris Matthews favorably compared it to Jesus' Sermon on the Mount) I think it's high time to introduce a new series of posts, deconstructing and critically thinking about some of the greater speeches of all time. Not just why they were great, but what about them engaged the cultural milieu* of that time and what underlying implications they contained.

I will begin with the Obama speech from yesterday, because it is both timely and an interesting place to start. Other speeches I am considering taking a look at include Reagan's "Evil Empire" speech, JFK's Catholicism speech and a few different inaugural addresses. I will also try to include other speeches that come from outside the tradition sphere of politics as well (admittedly I don't anything actually falls outside of the sphere of politics, every action is inherently a political actions as well, but that's a different discussion altogether). I hope you find these posts interesting, if different than the usual snarky offering. To be fair, I actually don't care all that much. Either way though, I would certainly welcome suggests as to speeches and rhetoric to tackle and discuss as well as active engagement on these topics.

Anyway, that's all for now, drive safely and be sure to tip your waiters and waitresses.

*That is the first time I have ever used the word "milieu" in a post, I am allowed two more max, after that I will ban myself from posting.


Alla said...

every action is a political one? really??
and i think milieu is an excellent word.

Jonathan said...

I mean it depends on how you define political I suppose, but in the sense that all actions and statements involve some shift in the social power dynamic I would be comfortable saying that every action is a political action.