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EL-336; Radio and the Rediscovery of Rhetoric. Ch. 4

"Franklin Roosevelt and Adolph Hitler embodied power and persuasion over men's minds which was electronically transmitted and which proved functionally essential to the kind of political influence that they wielded." (Havelock. The Muse Learns to Write)
I loved this chapter so much, that I read it twice. It actually defended the argument that I have been trying to defend. Speech relying on writing. One needs the other. The two were forced into some bizarre union. The result was successful. Radio personalities need some sort of script to read off of when they broadcast. This is what reaches the masses, not some random thoughts a DJ can come up with out of his/her head.
Radio waves are able to be transmitted worldwide, reaching the necessary parties that they cater to. Oral communication was designed to reach specific audiences in times of war and other such events. This would either build character, or in the case of Hitler broadcasting to threatening countries, destroy. The power of the word is very strong, but to speak well and mean it, something must be written, so the speaker is able to get their point across clearly. Reading off of a script is a lot easier than trying to persuade an audience empty handed.

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Comments

yeah, I definately don't think that Adolf and Frankie came up with that stuff off the tops of their heads. A great speech takes time to write and time to rehearse. It is essentially a monologue, and I know how long those take to prepare. The speech is tested first-from speaking the words allowed, you discover where the different inflections and emotions belong. Writing is a blueprint for speech.

Well, I suppose that nobody has won any awards for unscripted speeches. Not that I know of.

The devil's advocate would question your argument by asking how, then, was any communication attempt successful in the time before writing was discovered?

I'm not disagreeing with you, though. Preparation is crucial in every aspect of life, and writing is the ultimate preparation for oral communication in my opinion. Imagine if we had to take the time to write our response to everyday conversation before we actually spoke. I'm sure a lot of arguments would be avoided, haha. My dad always says, engage brain before mouth...

There is actually an "extemporaneous speech" category in public speaking competitions. You basically draw a topic out of a hat and you have maybe a few minutes to prepare what you want to say, and then you say it. I never did that sort of thing myself, but my brother did when he was in high school.

In my Honors Presentation course with Dr. Klapak today, we practiced reading Disney nursery rhymes to each other in different emotional tones in order to train ourselves to recognize how to manipulate an audience with our voices. It was a simple exercise, but challenging--particularly when we were forced to reread with slight adjustments (for instance, reading angrily and then reading bitterly, which required very careful, subtle changes to the rhythm and mood). Afterwards, I had a much greater appreciation for the art of public speaking, of course, but I also came to understand that it's not necessarily the content of your speech that wins or loses your audience's attention--it's the delivery.

That Roosevelt and Hitler had such incredible public speaking ability is a testament not only to their ability to write captivating lines of text, but also to their force of personality--that is, their ability to control those words and amplify their meaning through the use of special techniques.

Speech definitely relies on writing to the extreme and this especially true in the political arena. Politicians and world leaders prepare written speeches of all the important things that they need to convey orally. This is probably one of the best examples that I have seen of written and oral language coming together and depending on one another.

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