Thursday, November 13, 2008

Ben Okri Gives First Hand Assessment of Obama the Speechmaker

The Times reports that award-winning novelist Ben Okri flew to America to examine the Obama phenomenon at first hand.

He discovered ‘one of the most audacious and inspiring stories of our age’.

Obama’s Presence
“And then he was there. He is compact, defined and self-possessed in an easy way. His voice is rich and clear. Here is a man who has clearly followed his bliss, the thing that most gets your life juices going. He is comfortable in himself. He is a natural politician as some people are natural actors. It is his ease that is most striking….”

Nature of a Good Political Speech
“Allow me a moment’s meditation on the nature of a good political speech. A good speech is made before it is made. Excitement and expectation have to precede it. It should salute the time and the place. It should celebrate the common interests of the audience. It should start quite high and have a certain music, a certain rhythm. It is best delivered without notes. It is indispensable to have a good voice. A good speech rises, it justifies expectation, slows down in the middle and climbs again until it reaches higher than it began, and then it must peak. When it has peaked, it must be brought to a close. The highest point should be at the end.”

“Obama had made this speech before but it was nonetheless exemplary. He began with…”

Check out this fine essay at the following link:

Ben Okri, The Obama phenomenon: a dream can compel people to hold their breath in wonder, The Times, 1 November 2008.

Dr Geoff Pound

Image: Ben Okri takes a first-hand look at Obama the speechmaker.