The Dirty Rhetorician; The Glib and Oily Art

”If for I want that glib and oily art,

To speak and purpose not…”

This is a quote from Shakespeare’s King Lear. It refers of course to rhetoric – that dangerous dark art of manipulating words to speak and purpose not! Rhetoric is still today seen as a dirty word that is often used to accuse adversaries of possessing a questionable disposition. For example, the media only really uses the word ‘rhetoric’ when they are talking about Donald Trump or North Korea (when they are talking of Obama they tend to use the word oratory).

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I hereby declare, today, for the world to hear, that this blogpost is published

Some people are saying that President Donald Trump’s speech in Poland last week was actually quite good. Even Donald Trump himself sent out a photo (of himself) with an excerpt from the speech reading: “I declare today for the world to hear that the West will never, ever be broken. Our values will prevail. Our people will thrive. And our civilization will triumph”. It is quite the rhetorical bubble. It sounds a lot more dramatic than simply saying ‘the West will never be broken’. But why? Continue reading “I hereby declare, today, for the world to hear, that this blogpost is published”

Sarcasm: The tricky trope

In yesterday’s Prime Minister’s Questions, Jeremy Corbyn said ‘I hope that the Prime Minister is proud of her record…’ Most native English speakers would know that this isn’t what he meant. In fact, Jeremy Corbyn doesn’t care whether or not Theresa May feels pride in her record. However, he is pointing out that she shouldn’t be proud. Sarcasm; plain, simple and scathing.

Jeremy Corbyn could have said ‘I hope the Prime Minister is ashamed of her track record’, however, he clearly thought that sarcasm was more effective. Sarcasm can be a nasty way of telling someone off, and if it’s done publicly in a way that patronises your opponent, then you definitely get bonus points from your party.

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A Writer’s Guide to Speeches

Guy Doza will be running the a Writer’s Guide to Speeches on Friday 23rd June 2017. This workshop is designed for anyone who has been asked to write speeches and is seeking to grasp the basic principles. It covers the theory and explores how we can use rhetoric to enrich our wordpower. Guy will go through all of the practical tips you need to get ready, get started and get approval for your speech. So if you are already a speechwriter, or if you expect to be writing speeches in the future, then this is the workshop for you. Book your place now.