An obituary got me thinking. The obituary announced the death of renowned Arkansas poet Miller Williams, who was celebrated for using everyday language in his verse. The short poem cited in the piece – titled “Compassion” – moved me, as it did Miller’s daughter, the country singer Lucinda Williams, who used her father’s spare lines in a song:
keeping it real
Do you have trouble understanding what people are saying these days? Do you know what they really mean? And do you find people in business using vague words with little meaning, without mentioning real people, actions or thoughts?
President Obama’s recent speech before a joint session of Congress last week couldn’t have contrasted more sharply with the rebuttal given by Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal. But the stark differences in style and political substance were only part of what set these two speeches apart. The other key difference was the choice of words and images they used to build a “reality” for the audience that they could easily comprehend, given the complexity of our economic difficulties.