Weeks after the red, blue and generally vacuous spectacles that characterize modern pre-election, big party conventions, the news-obsessed, like me, have had a chance to pore over the blustering and grandstanding. I keep coming back to this video of the speech made by former Michigan governor Jennifer Granholm, whose exaggerated hand gestures and machine gun platitude delivery fired up those assembled.
On screen, I think she appears very foolish, aggressive (often pointing at members of the audience as she berates them), and chillingly disconnected with reality (see 3:35). The rhetoric itself is constructed entirely of platitude and insultingly stupid metaphor (Barack Obama’s going to “restart our engines?” D for drive, R for reverse, and so forth).
I understand the legacy of inflammatory oratory in convention speeches, where we’re safely preaching to the choir, but does oratory that’s based on an understanding mob mentality raise the level of the dialogue in America?