a curious Yankee in Europe's court

blog about living in Europe, and Italy

Today’s opinion pick: “Barack Obama’s Prose Style”

Posted on the January 23rd, 2009

When President Obama stepped to the podium at his inauguration on Tuesday and began to speak, I felt the same curiosity (and slight apprehension) that many, I think, have come to feel every time he makes a major speech. My nervous jitters worried the question – can he rise once again to the occasion? The curiosity encircled my question – how will he rise to the occasion?

For me, our shiny new President didn’t disappoint, but some disagree (or think they do).  New York Time‘s columnist Stanley Fish discusses an intriguing type of reaction to the speech in his “Think Again” column today.

An excerpt:

Commentators on radio and television have been doing a two-step. First they say that the speech lacked the eloquence of his speech on race or of his remarks on the night he won the presidency; and then they spend lots of time talking about the implications of a sentence (“We reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals”), a clause (“programs will end”), a phrase (“dust ourselves off”) or even a single word (“Muslim,” “non-believers.”)

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