Words and Music

I have an idea to throw out for you guys to chew on. Laer, at Cheat-Seeking Missiles, in an email asked why Jindal’s speech, which looks great on paper, got such a bad reception. The reception was bad on both the Left and the Right, so its being dissed wasn’t just a matter of media bias. Here’s my response:

Maybe I’m hanging around my two little budding musicians too much, but I think a lot of it has to do with rhythm. Did you know that, when you videotape families in action — say, in the kitchen — and then play those videos back without sound, it turns out that the happy families move with the same rhythm, while the unhappy families’ movements are out of synch? Jindal sounded choppy. His rhythm was off.

When Obama has a speech memorized, his natural rhythms are good and appealing. Put him on a teleprompter, with his head swinging back and forth between the left and right screens, and he ends up with no rhythm at all or, at best, a robotic, unnatural one.

Speech is a form of music, and our conservative politicians have not mastered it. I think Reagan was a great communicator, not just because of his content, but because his speech patterns triggered the same pleasure sensors in the brain that music does. (And conversely, think about the heat that both Romney and Gore have taken for their unnatural speech. It’s not their words, it’s their music.)

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Cross-posted at Bookworm Room

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