Anglo-American Speechwriting


Logos (logic) and pathos (emotion) are self-explanatory, but ethos is more elusive. Essentially, ethos means building a bond with the audience, so that the audience will trust the speaker and be receptive to the speaker’s message.

To illustrate, I gave two particularly appropriate examples, about 60 years apart, of how two very different British prime ministers used ethos when they addressed a joint session of the U.S. Congress.”


Continue reading Anglo-American Speechwriting

Meryl the Martyr?


Ms. Streep began her Golden Globes speech by announcing that she had lost her mind. Speaking at the Human Rights Campaign fundraising gala, she revealed that she has still not got it back.

Continue reading Meryl the Martyr?

Some Archaeology


SNL has now become the voice of conscience and sanity for many Americans. Of course, its messages have no official imprimatur, and, luckily for the fun of the inventors, it has no checks on its balance. After a killingly funny parody of the White House spokesman last week, I knew some of it sounded familiar.

Continue reading Some Archaeology

Prime Minister Theresa May’s Philadelphia Speech


Mrs May skilfully framed many international policy issues in a way that appealed to Donald Trump’s instincts, even if he might well have serious doubts about the outcomes. By doing that she sounded confident, steady and businesslike. She sounded like a leader.

Continue reading Prime Minister Theresa May’s Philadelphia Speech

The Real Forgotten Americans

But the truth is this: These white working-class voters have never been forgotten, while those who truly are forgotten still don’t have a voice.

If Trump really wants to speak for forgotten Americans, he would travel to the Mississippi Delta and the rural Black Belt of the American South, where conditions are so wretched and dire that even a struggling Rust Belt factory town might seem like a bountiful paradise of opportunity and wealth.

Continue reading The Real Forgotten Americans