Making History Rhetorically Speaking

As one who’s penned quite a few speeches myself, this brief profile on Barack Obama’s 27-year-old speechwriter, Jon Favreau, is interesting.

Speeches claiming victory are never as interesting as those conceding defeat, because people are never more interesting than when they lose. In any case, neither Favreau nor his cowriters Adam Frankel and Ben Rhodes had been expecting to have to concede anything that evening [Obama’s concession speech to Hillary Clinton the night of the New Hampshire primary]. But things change quickly. After consulting with Obama for about half an hour — Obama talked, Favreau typed notes — they decided to reprise the hopeful refrain of “Yes, we can….” which had been the slogan of Obama’s 2004 senate race in Illinois. And at that moment, a mere presidential campaign was transformed into a movement, coalesced around three simple words.



~ by eaesthete on 12/22/08.

2 Responses to “Making History Rhetorically Speaking”

  1. Favreau, Obama’s 27-year-old chief speechwriter, is the guy who stood next to a life-size cutout of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and groped the figure in a sexually explicit manner while being photographed. This is the kind of behavior you’d expect from a drunken frat boy. But Mr. Favreau is not a boy. He’s a grown man charged with the responsibility of expressing the highest ideals and beliefs of our next president. Here’s the picture:

    If Favreau was working in any corporation, and posted pictures of himself gleefully groping the image of a female colleague, he would lose his job. It’s sexual harassment.

    Favreau’s behavior devalues and disrespects our incoming Secretary of State. His jubilant portrayal of sexual assault should immediately result in his removal from his position in the new administration. He should be fired. How would you feel if this was your mother, sister, Michelle Obama, Obama’s daughters or others? It’s just plain wrong.

    Favreau should be fired.

  2. Gleefully groping female colleagues, real or imagined, is the epitome of impropriety. Sadly, it seems we live in times of shameless disrespect. Sexual harassment (and make no mistake, cardboard or vinyl, this is what it is as you point out) is the modern name for ungentlemanly behavior that is also unprofessional behavior — two grievous violations of etiquette and civil rights.

    With litigation gaining ground in professional circles these days (what used to be interpreted as merely bad manners is now a federal crime), some enterprising young men have discovered ingenious ways to disguise harassment, discrimination, contempt, and anger. It would appear Mr. Favreau is predatory and well versed in the practice of good ol boy behavior who will undoubtedly fit in all too comfortably on Capital Hill.

    His inexcusable display, whether intended to shock inadvertent onlookers or simply to ignore their sensibilities are bound to inspire additional antagonism. Your response is a start. In calling attention to what some would dismiss as a mere and harmless “joke,” only seeks to remind us how vulgar, crass and unimaginably rude people can be. Thank you.

    In the meantime, I would politely suggest that when in public, we all make a concerted effort to keep our hands to ourselves.

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