Has Barack Obama lost his oratorical touch? Is he beginning to be tuned out because we see so much of him?
When I’m browsing for a book to read, I always check out the first couple of lines. If they grab me, I’m more than half way there. I want to know what happens next.
Instead of the 15 minutes he was allotted, Colonel Gaddafi of Libya recently spoke for 96 minutes to UN delegates in New York. He discussed Somali pirates, the death of JFK, jet lag and swine flu conspiracy theories. He was ridiculed by the media and anyone within ear shot.
No doubt about it, the political climate of 2009 is hot. When policymakers on both sides of the aisle think nothing of accusing their opponents of lying, you know that discourse in the public sphere has reached an all-time low.
A major overhaul of our health care system. Financial regulation. Economic stimulus. The environment. Two wars. Lots of people say President Obama is trying to tackle too many problems at once. Some critics say he ignores the legacy of past presidents who maintained a more steady focus.
When the acclaimed memoirist Frank McCourt died this week, he was lionized for the simple and sad storytelling in his Pulitzer Prize winning book, “Angela’s Ashes,” which recounted his impoverished childhood in Ireland. But he spent much of his adult life as a high school teacher in New York, where he prodded his writing students to tell their stories, using himself as an example. One former student, who became a writer, said, “He used to sort of recite from memory the stories that became ‘Angela’s Ashes.’ Some of his fellow teachers admonished him for revealing so much of himself, noting he had a right to privacy with his students. According to the New York Times essay on McCourt at his death, his colleagues would say, “Your life, man. It’s all you have.”