Speech Peculiarities That Make My Teeth Itch
When Pastor Rick Warren invited Barack Obama—the charismatic new Democratic senator from Illinois—to speak at an AIDS conference at the Saddleback megachurch in Lake Forest, California, a number of conservative Christians urged that the invitation be rescinded.
They were angry at Obama’s liberal position on abortion.
“If Senator Obama cannot defend the most helpless citizens in our country, he has nothing to say to the AIDS crisis,” wrote Phyllis Schlafly—head of the conservative Eagle Forum—in an open letter. “You cannot fight one evil while justifying another.”
I admit that I’ve no interest in hearing certain speakers—neo-Nazis, members of the KKK, apologists for dropping the atom bomb on Japan, spokesmen for the Man/Boy Love Association and Suze Ormond—to name a few.
However, as a sometimes speaker and inveterate television dial-surfer, I relish the opportunity to see great orators in action. Much can be learned from how they put together a talk and deliver it. My four current TV favorites are: Bishop Fulton J. Sheen, Bishop T.D. Jakes, the young Billy Graham and Jimmy Swaggart.
On the other hand, all lousy speechmakers should be muzzled and not invited to address a group of people that you care about.
The Most Irritating Philadelphian
Whenever a civic issue came up in my Philadelphia neighborhood that directly affected my life—such as the construction of a massive casino complex 10 blocks from my house or a reassessment plan that would triple my real estate taxes—I would attend a neighborhood meeting to learn more about it.
I stopped going to these meetings.
The head of the local organization is intelligent and personable, but drives me nuts.
She’s a dark-haired, attractive young woman and quite articulate. But when she addresses the group, she constantly says “um.”
Not a quiet, low-key “um.”
Rather, she presses her lips together hard and says “UMMMMM” very loudly, with the sound projecting from the mask and out the nose like a singer humming.