Sep 1, 2008

expletive McCain

Slate's Paul Collins dissects one of John McCain's preferred rhetorical devices: "my friends."
McCain falls neatly into line: Roughly every generation since FDR, a candidate resurrects "my friends." But while used in its first few decades by good or great orators, it's notable that in the last half-century it's been exclusively resorted to by the worst orators in our presidential races.
Three observations.

1. Collins notes that "my friends" carries a vague notion of a threat, but "friend" is more threatening than "my friends" when coming from a stranger. Greg Behrendt's comments here are spot-on.

2. The phrase "my friends" is perfect for a candidate who is a confessed computer illiterate, and therefore has no idea how the phrase has gained currency and lost power via "social networking." These days, "my friends" means everything and nothing.

3. Collins misses the perfect chance to load up his "MF'er" pun. The use of a brief intervening phrase is called "expletive."

1 comment:

david santos said...