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Friday, February 27, 2009

Weekend Cinema (political edition)

OK, so most of the country tuned into Obama’s “not-State of the Union” address Tuesday night, and some of us stuck around for LA Gov. Bobby Jindal delivering the goplets’ rebuttal afterwards. Mrs. Fetched was busy helping Cousin Splat get some of the business end of the lawn care business dealt with, so I caught the speech on my laptop. After a few minutes, I got tired of hearing my fans winding up, so I switched to an audio-only feed — this was good, because I had to get in the car and could continue listening on NPR without missing much.

President Obama delivered a pretty good address, of course. Even though he had a few zingers aimed at the goplets, he also had them joining the applause and had a few quips aimed at loosening them up, and from what I could tell from the audio they worked pretty well. One could almost feel sorry for Gov. Piyush “Bobby” Jindal, having to follow that act — and indeed, he was working under several handicaps:

1) He’s not Barack Obama.
2) He didn’t have an audience to interact with.
3) He’s a conservative, trying to make a case for the same Epic Fail policies that got us to this point.

Indeed, Jindal’s response was widely panned, by both the Left and the Right. I personally got the impression that he was reading a bedtime story; all it needed was an appearance by the Wingnut Fairy to wave a wand and make everything right… or Right. The happy peons go home to their hovels from a 16-hour workday, the Owners live happily ever after, etc. He lost me the second he started talking about compassion as some kind of conservative value — I bet he’d pretend he never heard about Gretna barricading the road out of New Orleans after Katrina.

But I digress. This is Weekend Cinema, and that means a short (and free) video, right? Tonight’s selection is actually a news report, based around Gov. Jindal’s comments made over an open mike shortly before he delivered his response. It at least explains the “bedtime story” delivery:

It accidentally highlights the stereotype of Indians talking really fast (an example of which appears in the above clip). But you’d think someone who is a governor, one considered a “rising star” in his party, would have started working with with a speech coach a long time ago. Another stereotype: southerners tend to talk slow, and are automatically suspicious of fast talkers… that hasn’t seemed to hurt him. I know I talk fast when I’m nervous… but one would think a former congresscritter and current governor would have long ago shed any public-speaking nerves.

But look. If his name’s really Piyush, why call himself “Bobby” of all things? The freeking president has a funny name, and he doesn’t call himself “Barry”; you’d think that would no longer be a handicap. Oh well. Give the conservatives 20 years or so to catch up with reality…


  1. Hey FAR,
    Too bad you couldn't see the speech on the teevee machine, because Obama really had the room in his hands. Of course many made fun of "jack in the box Pelosi" hopping up so often, but I thought the speech was out of the park. We loved the goplet zingers too ... I wasn't sure how he'd do, but was really pleased with the results.

    Isn't it refreshing to have a president who can speak in elegantly composed sentences that make sense AND good politics? An A+ from me on that issue alone.

    As for poor Piyush ... it was both laughable and creepy. Kind of like they got a zombie Mr. Rogers to sing song his way to a deluded bedtime story for junior brownshirts. I think it was Rachel Maddow who said she expected him to pull out finger puppets ("nice bunny tax cut" vs "big bad stimulus") at any moment. That summed it up perfectly for me!

    And now, the poor schlemiel got caught lying about that Sheriff/boat story ... oh well, at least Fat Tush Limpdick still has a man crush on him, hehe.

  2. Yeah, his expression when he stepped out *was* more than a little creepy. A little too much time spent in the swamps, maybe… wooden and squishy at the same time just ain't natural.

    I think if I'd been advising the goplets, I would have suggested Gov. Rogers, I mean Jindal, deliver his response at the CPAC — working a live audience might have made him a little less wooden. They could have had a guy off to the side holding up signs for "polite applause" or "prolonged cheer" or "drill baby drill!" 'Course, if I were con enough to want to help them, I wouldn't be creative enough to have thought of it. grin/duck/run

  3. Far .. is this the right place to ask a little advice on something you mentioned in the parent post? You mentioned southerners speaking slowly and being suspicious of them who speak quickly.

    At the place where I work, we have someone working out of a field office a ways south of here. He is in fact a native of the south. We've got a bit of a culture clash. He speaks so slowly that you can generally hear the whole sentence coming after the first two words, and the whole of it is delivered in a fashion that makes paint drying look like a fast Olympic sport in comparison. As a result of this, people avoid being on the phone with him if at all possible. When he's on the other end of a conference line, everyone is rolling eyes and trying not to laugh at how circumloquacious the poor fellow is. Mostly, too, we are simply busy and trying to get as much productive activity done during the day as is possible .. and talking with him is a guaranteed time-waster. As a result of this, he's probably feeling a bit alienated over everyone dodging him when he calls the office.

    Even worse, he speaks redundantly, calling 5 different people to relay the same message, when leaving it with just one would suffice.

    So the question is this: do you think there is ANY way at all to politely encourage him to engage in speech at a more rapid clip? I have come perilously close to asking him if his brain functions like a slush of frozen helium kept at near absolute-zero, with the stuff trickling in slow motion, and for god's sake could he PLEASE get stoked up on coffee before opening his mouth?

    Of course, since it would be horribly impolitic to say it that way, I've kept my yap shut. But only barely. Had to chew on fingers a couple times just to keep quiet.

    Sorry to whine. :(

  4. Hey Far, I'm caustiously optimistic right now. I really liked O'Bam's speech, at least it didn't look like he was reading the lines from being prompted. heh! ha!

    The headlines in the paper read, "$17 million for the new Soo Lock". This will be used to build the coffer damn (lasting about a season), in order to begin the actual work on the new expansion of one of the existing locks. That project is expected to last 5-7 years at the cost of over $750 million.

    This next week on Wednesday, I'll likely summit my resume' to two marine dredging companies who'll very likely be awarded the contracts. This would be my first experience working from a barge, but I suppose crane operation/foreman, is much the same as on the mainland.

    I know, I'm really jumping the gun here, but what do I have to lose? It's very likely my hourly rate would quadruple and my annual earnings could raise ten fold. At least these people will have my number in the case, they need people on the double quick, to get things going.

    Keep me in your prayers, eh?

    thanks, yooper

  5. But Far, you sometimes speak fast because you're really from the icy north. :-)

    Jindal is just a liar, and not a particularly crafty one. His Katrina story was so quickly undone that it was obvious his handlers hadn't done even minimal research. This is the rising star?!! Laughable.

  6. Sure, Nudge.

    One workaround might be to get him to use email — if you need his feedback, send an email and explicitly ask him to email his response back. Does he have any friends there? I guess a friend might be best able to relay the message… "we talk fast up here, you might try speeding up your delivery." Or even a boss going "Joe, can you speed it up a bit?" during a conference call.

    It's possible that he *does* think a little slowly… I do as well. Mrs. Fetched is what I call Porsche-smart: she can mentally zip through traffic, switch lanes in an instant, and turn on a dime. I'm more the 18-wheeler type: it takes me a while to get moving, I don't change direction easily, but I can pull a load. :-P I assume he does very well at what he does, since he's still working.

  7. Hey Yooper, hope that works out for you! A steady job for the next 5-7 years? Hey, what's not to like? Definitely get your name in there now; when it's time to ramp up they'll be looking & they'll probably like that they didn't have to look for you. ;-)

    Boran, true. On all counts. It's good to see a little fact-checking going on, though, and that quickly.

  8. Good morning Far and thanks for the suggestion. Actually email for that one guy is something of a problem, since he types at low 2-finger speeds, is on dialup, and after more than a decade of it still hasn't developed any ability to use the computer. We've been hearing that “Maybe I should take a computer class .. “ line for 10+ years now.

    His cardinal sins o' email are a) hitting “reply to all” for really inane replies that only the original sender ever needed to see, and b) not wanting to bother to use the address book, he scrolls through his trash until he finds an older email from you, hits “reply”, then starts his new email to you in the body .. and when you receive it you wonder why he's bringing up something that was finished months ago.

    He visits the office often enough to note the perhaps-caffeinated, 200+ word per minute rate we usually use. In our culture, it's somewhat rude to speak so slowly that you've frustrated your apparent audience for the sake of wordy oration. He hasn't had a stroke or anything; he's just not with the program.

    We did have a NYC salesman, long ago, who had a stroke. It took him quite awhile to recover. He said right up front that talking slowly in NYC sales was not an option. He needed back the gift of gab (even good, old-fashioned doublespeak) to do his sales job right.

    Yooper, good luck with that, but knowing how impossible it is to “create prosperity” (since the real thing is a quality of the whole fabric of society, and not a matter of money dumped B52-like from above onto selected targets) one wonders if we'll have a whole new set of dams, memorial off-ramps, and bridges even as the country slides into a rather Ayn Randian type of future. At the rate our major oil suppliers are going into depletion, we should be asking ourselves just how much industrial (and road) activity we're expecting to see 10, 15, 20, 30 years down the road.

    As someone on the HBB put it: “Our currency has evolved from gold to paper to plastic to hope.”

  9. Nudge, actually the project Yooper is talking about (upgrading the Soo) is a good one. The Soo is a series of locks that facilitate shipping — and we're talking big ol' freighters here — between Lake Superior and Lake Huron. The system was built in the days of sail, if I remember my Michigan History class. The UP still has pretty good deposits of iron & copper, but mining jobs were outsourced in the 1960s/70s… if oil gets scarce and we start reshoring manufacturing, we'll also want local sources of raw materials.


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