Friday, March 04, 2005

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SIMSOC next week – fill out Choice Sheet today. We can take creative measures in the game, as long as we observe the laws of the SIMSOC world. Be on time, and bring the SIMSOC manual (take the self-test in the manual to be sure we understand the rules).

The Persuasive Speech

Three kinds of proposition in persuasive speeches:

1) Fact – try to change people’s minds about facts – the world isn’t flat
2) Value – change people’s values – e.g. religious sermons
3) Policy – change the way people behave – vote for referendum 14

The assumption is that the way things are is the way they should be…this is the presumption. The “burden of proof”, that the way things are is not the way things should be, is the speaker’s responsibility, and a tie goes to the presumption. The audience must be clear on what is at issue, don’t leave the audience uncertain unless there is a kicker in the speech that is served by a degree of mystery.

The status quo must be firmly indicted…a “pain and suffering point” must be made to make the audience want to make a change (Cognitive Dissonance). The alternative should motivate the audience to action.

Three organizational schemes:

1) Start with solution – each advantage must be pressing, desired by audience
2) Need, problem, solution
3) Lead with the critic’s view – “the usual objections to a flat-rate tax are…” confronts the big objections the audience might have to a change.

Have a road map for the speech, and point out the signposts as the speech proceeds.

Pacing and pictures count, as does the poetry the words will create for “the ear”.

“Framing” – what larger pattern is this issue a part of…e.g. school uniforms can be framed in the larger issue of discipline, or conversely, individuality.

Observe the time limits of the speech, 7-8 minutes. We’ll write a one-minute introduction of our speaker. Credentials of the speaker, the topic, how the two relate, and how they relate to the audience, should be included in the introduction. Credentials can be made up, but not the name or personality of the speaker. One way to make a speech better is to try to make the introductory speech work well. A warm description, or mention of impressive credentials, can help capture the audience. A speaker can offer an outline of the key points about him or herself, sent to the person making the introduction, is usually welcome and can help make the introduction effective. Usually applause indicates a successful introduction.

We must also write a press release for the speech. This should be written in the past tense, to create interest among the media. “At a meeting in downtown Chicago this afternoon, a leading oceanographer told a Chicago business audience that Lake Michigan is about to dry up…” The press release should be one page. The title is the most important part of the press release. It should capture attention of the editor who will decide whether to publish a story about the speech. The first paragraph of the press release should motivate the press to cover or publish the speech. Two articles in the course pack will help us write the press release.
We’ll discuss today’s assignment, the Michiavelli/Noonan paper. Michiavelli was considered the first political science, he took a practical view rather than a theoretical one, wrote about how people actually behave rather than how they should behave. In The Prince, he told rulers how to cope with the harsh realities of the world. He was the first to “get real”, and “tell it like it is.” Noonan’s book was a portrait of a writer at work. One of Noonan’s strengths was her literacy, she was well read and her reading inspired her writing.

Monday, February 07, 2005

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Ceremonial Speech

Read about this speech in Cook - videotaped on Feb. 19th.

4 Ps of Writing for the Ear:

1) Partitioning – Structuring, Organizing the speech into patterns. A speech for the ear must be more clearly organized than a written speech because the audience cannot “rewind”.

Motivated Sequence – Psychology - Alan Monroe:

1) Attention
2) Need to Change/Problem
3) Solution/Satisfaction
4) Visualization
5) Action

E.g. Vacuum Sales Pitch:

1) Get it the door with a pitch
2) Throw dirt on the customer’s rug
3) Use vacuum to clean it
4) Show and tell about the clean rug
5) Close the sale

2) Pace – How fast ideas are covered in a speech. “More words per square thought” gives an audience time to absorb information. When ideas are clear, the “fat boiled out”, the speech can be expanded to make it better suited for the ear. Picture – Abstractions go in one ear and out the other, but pictures stick with us. Image-based words work better than concept-based words for the ear. “Words are like ice picks we use to break up the frozen seas within us” – Kafka “The only way of expressing emotion the form of art is by finding an objective correlative – in other words, a set of events which shall be the formula of that particular emotion. Such that when the external facts are given, the motion is immediately evoked.” – T.S. Eliot “In proportion as the manners, customs and amusements of a nation are cruel and barbarous, the regulations of their penal code will be severe.” – Hebert Spencer – Manners, customs and amusements could be something like sports…”In proportion as people delight in battles, bullfights, and combat of gladiators, they will punish by hanging, burning, and the rack.” “When someone tosses litter in the street it becomes a serious problem for the municipal authorities. Weather conditions make the situation worse. Because of the economic pressure, civic payrolls have declined; litter may remain uncollected for long periods of time…could be, “Every time you throw a McDonalds wrapper, a used paper cup, or a cigarette but into the street, sanitation work has to come along and pick it up….”This was a man of peace and reconciliation, a man who brought people together across national and religious boundaries” about King Hussein of Jordan, could be, “This was a man of peace and reconciliation, a man who reached out to speak with those who opposed him, a man who went to Israel to meet with the families of those who were killed by Jordanian terrorists and who knelt with them in prayer.” Or, “This was a man of peace and reconciliation. And when he learned that Jordanian terrorists had killed a group of Israeli children he left his royal palace in Amman and he flew to the small house on Ben Gurion Street where the parents of those children were gathered in mourning…”

Monday, January 31, 2005

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Handout: Our Writing So Far: Some Common Problems and Specific Suggestions


80-90% of the time, an extemporaneous speech is better than a manuscript speech.

Hierarchy of speech quality (Bucket Analogy):

Worst is a Bad Extemporaneous speech, which can be improved by composing a manuscript (10% of speeches given). Then comes a Bad Manuscript. (40%). A Good Extemporaneous speech is next best. It is worth it to learn to write a good Manuscript, because those speeches can be the best; they require the right time, place, topic, audience, and speaker.

Advantages of manuscripts:

1) Eloquence
2) Precision
3) Efficiency
4) Predictability
5) Accuracy
6) Nuance
7) Symbolic Value – Caring (a speaker can show he or she cares by using notes – Cher said that her speech at Sonny Bono’s funeral was so important she had to write it down)
8) Institutionalizing (Before Delivery) – set the stage for the speech, advance its purpose, get buy-in.
9) After-Life (a manuscript is communicable through more channels than an extemporaneous speech after it is delivered)
10) Confidence

Why More Professional Speechwriters:

1) Growing Complexity of Subject Matter
2) Growing Complexity and Multiplicity of Audiences
3) Speakers have less time to write
4) Speaker are less expert on many topics
5) Audiences spoiled – exposed to best writers
6) Audiences Overwhelmed by Information Glut (Need to Cut through Clutter)
7) Speeches wear out quicker
8) More Speeches being given
9) Writing skills generally in decline
10) Proactive Needs: “Strategic Speechwriting” – scheduling, selecting the audience, fitting the speech into a larger strategy

What makes a good manuscript speech?

Speechwriting is an art form, distinct from other kinds of writing. Writing for the ear is very different from writing for the eye, a “different language”.

3 Reasons why the Ear is different than the Eye:

1) The Ear is slower than the mouth
2) The ear has a lousy memory – rhyming an rhythmic music and poetry is the exception – speechwriting should be about music, poetry, and pictures.
3) The ear cannot pause, rewind, or fast forward

No, “In one eye and out the other”, or “I can hear it in my mind’s ear”

The Ear:

1) Slow
2) Forgetful
3) Passive

To manage the ear, use the following:

1) Partitioning (Organization)
2) Pace
3) Pictures
4) Poetry – music, rhythm, sound

Monday, January 24, 2005

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Viewing the 2005 Inaugural Address:

There is one force of history…the force of human freedom. No human rights without human liberty. When you stand for liberty, we will stand with you. “Untamed Fire” of freedom…Day of Fire, the enemy’s weapon. Fire vs. Fire…(a phrase/concept that resonates with the Muslim world)

The survival of liberty in our land depends on the survival of liberty in other lands.

No one is fit to be a master; no one deserves to be a slave.

Seek and support the growth of democratic movements in every nation and culture to end tyranny in our world. Not primarily the task of arms…Freedom by its nature must be chosen, sustained by the rule of law. It is the concentrated work of generations…

Freedom is eternally right…we will encourage reform in other governments; success in relations with U.S. will depend on the treatment of their own people.

Americans who do the difficult work of serving in the military add to the country’s character.

Build an “ownership society” – retirement, education; “make every citizen an agent of their own security” the public interest depends on private character.

Bush’s speech was described by a historian as the best speech Wilson ever wrote; Wilson promoted the League of Nations, and making the world safe for democracy. The trademark first line, creating parallels in defining lines of the speech, like, “no one is fit to be a master, no one deserves to be a slave.” He also used chiasmus and alliteration.

Presentation of Fallacies

Thursday, January 20, 2005

The Living Room Candidate

This site has a viewable archive and transcripts of Presidential campaign television ads from 1952 to 2004.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Links to Fallacy

An exhaustive list of fallacies -

More detail, and a quiz! -

Monday, January 17, 2005

Chiasmus Website