Over at the Wall Street Journal, Daniel Henninger reports on president Obama’s speech frenzy. He notes:
In our time, public remarks remain first of all a photo-op to make a president glow in public. Mr. Obama is taking it to another level, making the public speech the central act of his presidency.
So what’s the point of so many speeches?
One answer — offered by students of talk from Aristotle through Alfred North Whitehead — is obvious: The purpose of the rhetorician’s art is to persuade. John Locke, watching democracy’s advance, had a darker view; rhetoric, said Locke, is an instrument of error and deceit. Or both: talking people into error.
The whole thing here.