Content of the article
Last night, live across Canada, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau delivered a nationally broadcast speech to wake up, galvanize and comfort the nation. He hardly said anything. Persuasive oratory, however, doesn’t require a lot of concrete meaning – just a tide of believable emotion and a bit of argumentative panache. His message lacked clarity, depth and, come to think of it, real information.
But if you didn’t care, it sounded pretty good.
In the NBC sitcom community, Jeff Winger, a disgraced lawyer, charming womanizer and reluctant community college student, is famous for his winger speeches – eloquent, flippant monologues designed to win arguments and fix problems. thanks to the power of charisma with the tongue of silver. It relies on appeals to emotion, rhetorical gadgets, clever turns of phrase (“the real bugs are not those in these beds” “the only ghosts are the emotional ghosts I call fear …” ).
Like Trudeau last night, Winger understands that what often matters is what you say rather than what you really said.
One of the characteristics of this source of discourse is the frequent invocation of the cheerful cliché. It was all there: the confession of apology (“this is not the news that none of us wanted to hear”), the promise of hope (“we still have a chance at Christmas”), the obligatory greeting to our elders (“the Greatest Generation showed us that it’s not easy… but they never gave up”), and of course, the inspiring call to action (“we have the power to master this” , “We can do it”, “we must come together”). This has the clever effect of making the listener both emboldened and responsible. You can do it, insists Trudeau. But remember. It’s on you.