Monday, April 28, 2008

Jeremiah Wright at the National Press Club

I interrupt the series on the Ascension, just to ask what other people see and hear. I woke up early this morning and saw a few extended segments of Jeremiah Wright's speech to a gathering of the NAACP. This morning, I watched C-Span as Wright addressed the National Press Club. The Question and Answer session is still going on as I'm typing these words. So far, I have two reactions:

I thought his speech to the Press Club, full of important historical notes and self-definition, was good. When you listen to something more than a ten-second sound bite, you realize that if nothing else Wright is a gifted, knowledgeable orator.

However, in the Q & A session, I thought some of his responses were so feisty and aggressive, they had the effect of undercutting his previous rhetoric of reconciliation. He clearly thought of some of the questions as unfair. Maybe they were. I just thought that his body language and gestures were inconsistent with some of the good and gracious words he had said a few moments earlier. Some of his answers seemed calculated to whip up the responses of the many people there who were not members of the press, but were supporters.

Did anyone else see or hear the NAACP speech or the one this morning to the NPC? What did you think? To what extent will Wright continue to have an impact on the Obama campaign? What do you think?


Bobby O said...

Points well taken. Wright's post speech "feistiness" did tend to undercut his speech a bit. Reconciliation is a rational insight that can easily be subverted by a lifetime of residual anger.

However, Since we tend to make judgements on a visceral rather than a rational basis, I suspect that Rev.Wright's comments, no matter how valid or at least deserving of respectful consideration, will be filtered through our net of prejudice (For most have formed their prejudices on the basis of those notorious and now discredited soundbites) and his thoughts dismissed out of hand. This may or may not include rejection also of Obama.
Too bad we can't filter our thoughts through our mind and always keep the emotions in tow.

If Wright's appearances hurt Obama it is not because Wright is a divisive racist, but that viewers are dismissive racists. (Submitted by white Korean War veteran)

john alan turner said...

I'm pretty sure that the research he cited about different learning styles between African-American and European-American children is outdated and has been dismissed by most educational specialists.

And the idea that the NAACP isn't aligned with any one perspective? Well, that's just historically inaccurate.

Wright is a masterful communicator. It's interesting to watch when he uses proper grammar and when he uses slang. It's interesting to watch his body language during some portions of his speech and how still he can be at other times.

Frank Bellizzi said...

I didn't buy the part in the NAACP speech about the left-brain, right-brain thing either. He also said that the NAACP wasn't aligned with a certain position? Really? I didn't hear that segment of the speech.

There were parts of the NPC speech that I thought were quite good, content and demeanor. But he blew it during the Q & A, I thought.