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Friday, November 21, 2014

Presidential Speeches

Notice the trend in Who Was America's Most Well-Spoken President? According to the article:
Speeches have grown less sophisticated over time....Despite President George W. Bush's reputation as a poor speaker, Obama's speeches are only slightly more sophisticated.
The analysis was done with the Flesch-Kincaid Readability Test.

Read the entire article HERE by clicking on "Next" when that word appears.


  1. I notice it jumps from Carter to Clinton in the discussion, bypassing You Know Who and a period when executive discourse dove by a couple grade levels.

    1. Barry Poppins said

      DIVED. D-I-V-E-D.

      DOVE is a BIRD.

      Today, I DIVE.

      Yesterday, I DIVED.

      I have DIVED many times in many places for many years.

    2. FT, I do use vernacular but it is hardly the sin you imagine.

      Dived is the traditional past tense and past participle of the verb dive. But the newer dove, which probably came about by analogy with similar words like drove and wove, has been in the language approximately two centuries and is now standard in American and Canadian English.

      Stop being so pedantic.

    3. Duck,
      FT and I are members of the Grammar Police. Live with it.

    4. He probably says SNUCK instead of SNEAKED too, which I absolutely ABHOR and cannot ABIDE. Any student of mine who used "SNUCK" was SOL. He or she got an automatic F no matter how "good" the rest of the paper may have been.

      Draconian measures do work. ;-)

  2. I can believe it, and it makes sense. Obama's voter base is not functioning at a very high level. The absurd, flatulent outburst from his supporters in these forums demonstrate that.

    1. May I suggest that the reason the index fell under Reagan is that, unlike Carter, he was speaking exclusively to the right?

    2. Duck,
      Or maybe Reagan was a good speaker -- better than most. From what I can tell, Reagan's speeches were also submitted to the Flesch-Kincaid Readability Test. If you see something that indicates otherwise, let me know.

  3. I must the the only one who cannot read/understand the chart/ or find the nuances. I gather they don't rate speeches on content. Certainly Reagan had a gift for expressing sometimes complex and controversial ideas in clear language anyone could understand. FDR's content was a little slippery, but very smooth and making you feel like you'd heard a nice talk. The last 2 could only hope to approach these greats (in speechifying, that is).

    If anyone else is missing it completely (which I did on the first 2 passes) you must be reading on a laptop and have to scroll up. The top panel is completely invisible unless you look for it.

    1. Baysider,
      The new trend in Language Arts is to avoid discussing or analyzing the content in favor of analyzing the structure. Unless the content is Leftism.

      I kid you not!

      English courses at the college level are now boring, boring, boring.

    2. I am so sorry to hear that. The whole point of a section on the SAT was to analyze the content and understand what is being said. How can this NOT be on purpose? Who would want voters who react reflexively with emotions to trigger phrases and lack the ability to understand what it being said! Who, indeed?

    3. Baysider,
      David Coleman is the new president of College Board and is revamping the SAT along the lines that I mentioned above -- and in line with Common Core. Coleman is one of the architects of Common Core.

      A Google search of the man's name will provide more information.

    4. Well, THAT was enlightening. The answer to my question above is obviously 'EDUCATORS', for one. Isn't it interesting that so-called serious educators want to keep their students from learning to think? Now, that sounds like what INDOCTRINATORS do.

    5. Baysider,
      Too Americans today worship "experts" -- never mind the evidence staring Americans right in their faces.

      For all the yapping about "critical thinking," I see little evidence of that skill in my own students till they've been forced in my classes to justify their answers (Language Arts). They actually get left-side headaches from having to exercise the portion of the brain that reasons. They don't have the neural pathways for reasoning! Creating those pathways after age 12 is difficult, so my classes are a pressure cooker.

      The parents themselves aren't much better -- particularly the younger parents. What does all this tell us? That, overall, education today is a disaster.

    6. Thanks for expanding on this. I can't say I'm shocked or even mildly surprised. But deeply pained to see all this boasting about our shame. Oh well, keep 'em happy and distracted with the new opiate of the people -- sports, tweets and legal weed.

    7. I don't know if you've heard Greg Koukl on Stand to Reason (Christian apologetics). His 2 K-8 age daughters go to a Trivium academy, and I've learned about this system with pleasure. A drop in the bucket, but stout training in the classics of grammar, logic and rhetoric. They are definitely building those synapses before age 12. His 9 year old gets it in ways most college grads lack the skill to think.

    8. Baysider,
      I haven't heard Greg Koukl, but I do know that the brains of younger children have a great deal of neuroplasticity.

      I shall take a look at Koukl's web site. Thanks for that information.

    9. It's a wonderful ministry and show with often thoughtful and well reasoned discussion on questions from callers: www.str.org, but it's a little hard to navigate.
      Podcasts, too, but heaven knows when you'd have the time.

      "Equipping Christian ambassadors with knowledge, wisdom and character."

  4. I concern myself more with the meaning of their speeches than the delivery.



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