A short word on short words

Thanks to the thoughtfulness of my much better half, I am now the proud owner of a collection of great Canadian speeches creatively titled “Great Canadian Speeches.”

I haven’t had a chance to read through it yet but just skimming the titles and authors (speakers?) of the speeches included, I was struck by the realization of just how far the spoken word has fallen in recent years – particularly in politics. We live in a world where speeches are written with careful consideration given to key messages and easily digestible soundbites.

When goaltending-legend-turned-MP Ken Dryden had his sweater retired by the Montreal Canadiens a few weeks ago, much fun was poked at Dryden’s propensity for long-windedness. But after hearing him speak at that event (mp3), as well as at the Liberal leadership conference a few months prior (RealAudio), I was struck by how passionately he spoke.

And by what a rarity that makes him in modern politics.

We’ve become a clip and excerpt society. We want everything delivered to us quickly and easily – in one ear and (more often that not) out the other.  In an age of information overload, it’s seemingly impossible to devote the time needed to really listen and really be engaged.

The ramifications are, frankly, frightening.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *