31 August 2012

Speeches in a common language for a fistful of voters?

If proof were needed of a point I made a while back - that actors, with the notable exception of Ronald Reagan, are often hopeless public speakers - look no further than Clint Eastwood's speech at the Republican Convention (above).

And, although I'm quite a fan of some US orators past and present (e.g. Ronald Reagan, Martin Luther King and Barack Obama) my main reaction to what I've seen so far from Tampa has been "pass the sick bag".

Watching Mr Eastwood and Mrs Romney made me think that George Bernard Shaw was dead right when he said "England and America are two countries separated by a common language":

21 August 2012

Assange speaks out

Julian Assange may have attracted world attention via WikiLeaks and his alleged sexual behaviour in Sweden but I doubt if he'd ever have been noticed if he'd relied on public speaking as his main form of communication .

His speech the other day from a balcony of the Ecuadorian embassy in London may not have been too badly written, but his delivery left rather a lot to be desired.

An expressionless face, peculiar pausing and repetitive gesticulating with his fist made me wonder whether he'd read it through at all beforehand, let alone taken the trouble to rehearse it a few times.

In fact, the only place where he appeared to come alive was during the rather odd sequence when he recited a long list of Latin American countries (3:46 minutes in) famous for defending human rights (?).

As for what else Mr Assange had to say, I was left wondering who he thinks he is to make such grandiose demands from the USA and the UK, while conveniently forgetting to say anything about his unfinished business in Sweden.

6 August 2012

Great Britain has as many gold medals as the Soviet Union

As one who was brought up to expect Great Britain never to win more than a tiny handful of Olympic gold medals, our current haul of 16 golds, 11 silver and 10 bronze got me wondering how this would have compared with the score of what used to be a major Olympic player, the Soviet Union - if its constituent countries still counted as one.

The answer is that they too would now be at 16 gold medals:

(Gold Silver Bronze)
Russian Federation  4 16 15
Kazakhstan  6 0 0
Belarus  2 2 3
Ukraine  2 0 5
Lithuania  1 0 1
Georgia  1 0 0
Azerbaijan  0 1 2
Armenia  0 1 1
Moldova  0 01
Uzbekistan  0 0 1

... which sounds like encouraging news for those of us of a certain age!