First – I got this off someone else sharing it on facebook. Sometimes this whole social networking thing is useful.
I wanted to comment on Palin’s resignation when it first happened, because it made so little sense and, on a more superficial level, if one listened to the speech itself one wondered what kind of speech writers (or even proof readers) she had.
Vanity Fair had a little fun with “editing” her speech, but overall this stresses the importance of having good speech writers. There are great speakers – those that can deliver a stirring, moving, and motivational message – and there are great writers – those that create the spirit of the message through the deft use of the right words built on a solid foundation of proper grammar. sidenote: it is amazing how good grammar has such an impact on most listeners and readers – something as simple as that can raise any letter, speech, or other message to another level, yes shouldn’t we all know good grammar? I certainly violate those rules all the time.
Of course, there have been great speakers and speech writers – I would have to think that Lincoln was one, though I guess, having never heard him speak myself, I cannot say for certain. I don’t know how much of Obama’s speeches are his original writing versus editing and crafting from speech writers. But I do know that Ted Sorenson did a lot of writing for John F. Kennedy, and I also know that JFK could deliver one heck of a speech (the Peace Speech is some powerful stuff, and if you listen to how he delivered important yet somewhat dry messages such as those surrounding the Cuban Missile Crisis, one certainly leaves, even today, with a sense of the situation’s gravitas). It’s quite possible that JFK wrote an original that ended up as the majority of the speech, and that he was in fact a great writer as well. But the bottom line is that few orators don’t utilize the skills of others to craft a truly magnificent message.
And less than great orators with less than stellar speech writing skills with which to start can come off as awkward to even the most casual of listeners.