Monday, December 31, 2007

Vonnegut, Mailer, Paley

The LA Times has a piece on the passing this past year of these three (very different) giants of American literature. I suppose providing the link (below) is a fitting way to end the year. All were stylish, original, uniquely eloquent writers.,0,272691.story?coll=la-books-headlines

This piece brought to mind a Peter Mansbridge interview I saw recently with Ted Sorenson, John F. Kennedy's speechwriter. Mansbridge asked Sorenson why there were so few memorable lines from Presidential speeches these days. (Sorenson wrote the "Ask not" lines.) Sorenson responded that "the age of eloquence" was over. The influence of image (and sound bite to accompany image,) had eclipsed articulation. The current President was perhaps the most inarticulate in US history, he suggested. And when ideas and policies can not be eloquently expressed, it indicates that they are not carefully and completely thought out. Seems to me the same can be said about recent Prime Ministers.

I asked an office colleague if he could repeat a Presidential line. He said, "I did not have sexual relations with that woman... Miss Lewinsky." Nough said.

Happy New Year! And may this coming year bring greater eloquence!

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