18 August 2020

This.........is worth.........................listening.........to

A brief segment from last week's episode of This American Life.  I can't seem to find an embed for the blog (the sharing seems to be for social media only).

The segment entitled "Time Bandit" is 24 minutes in length; if you don't have that much time, try the first seven or eight minutes.  It's worth a listen.  Trust me.


That doesn't seem to work.  Try this link(Image cropped for size)

The subject matter of the video gains increased relevance in view of a recent article describing Joe Biden's stutter -
Detroit was Biden’s chance to regain control of the narrative. And then something else happened. The candidates were talking about health care. At first, Biden sounded strong, confident, presidential: “My plan makes a limit of co-pay to be One. Thousand. Dollars. Because we—”
He stopped. He pinched his eyes closed. He lifted his hands and thrust them forward, as if trying to pull the missing sound from his mouth. “We f-f-f-f-further support—” He opened his eyes. “The uh-uh-uh-uh—” His chin dipped toward his chest. “The-uh, the ability to buy into the Obamacare plan.” Biden also stumbled when trying to say immune system. 
Fox News edited these moments into a mini montage. Stifling laughter, the host Steve Hilton narrated: “As the right words struggled to make that perilous journey from Joe Biden’s brain to Joe Biden’s mouth, half the time he just seemed to give up with this somewhat tragic and limp admission of defeat. 
Several days later, Biden’s team got back in touch with me. One of his aides gingerly asked whether I’d noticed the former vice president stutter during the debate. .. 
In Biden’s office, the first time I bring up his current stuttering, he asks me whether I’ve seen The King’s Speech. He speaks almost mystically about the award-winning 2010 film. “When King George VI, when he stood up in 1939, everyone knew he stuttered, and they knew what courage it took for him to stand up at that stadium and try to speak—and it gave them courage … I could feel that. It was that sinking feeling, like—oh my God, I remember how you felt. You feel like, I don’t know … almost like you’re being sucked into a black hole.”.. 
In addition to periodically stuttering or blocking on certain sounds, he appears to intentionally not stutter by switching to an alternative word—a technique called “circumlocution”—­which can yield mangled syntax. I’ve been following practically everything he’s said for months now, and sometimes what is quickly characterized as a memory lapse is indeed a stutter. As Eric Jackson, the speech pathologist, pointed out to me, during a town hall in August Biden briefly blocked on Obama, before quickly subbing in my boss. The headlines after the event? “Biden Forgets Obama’s Name.” Other times when Biden fudges a detail or loses his train of thought, it seems unrelated to stuttering, like he’s just making a mistake. The kind of mistake other candidates make too, though less frequently than he does.
I admit to having misunderstood some of Biden's known speaking errors as signs of possible dementia.  I stand corrected.

The King's Speech, btw, is a superb movie.


  1. It most.....................c.............It most cer.................. It most certainly was.

  2. Inspired. Thank you.

    This quote moved me: "“Treating different things the same can generate as much inequality as treating the same things differently.”
    ― Kimberlé Crenshaw

    It's a simple rewrite, at least to me, of the golden rule.

    1. That quote struck me as well, and it is quite thought-provoking.

  3. While I am not a Biden supporter, I did not take it as dementia. If it were, I would suspect it would express itself in other, more certain, ways.

    Instead, I simply took it that Biden was tap dancing, so to speak--making it up as he went. And so, not having a rehearsed answer, he faltered, just like I dare say most of us would.

    While Biden likely does better with a tele-prompter, Trump seems to do a whole lot better when he's just winging it (even if some of what he says is wrong, false, or off the wall). But put him in front of a tele-prompter, and it seems that Trump is clearly reading it, falters, adds fillers, etc.

    I suspect that both men are brighter than the opposition thinks the are. You don't get to where Biden is without being sharp. And, frankly, the same goes for Trump.

    In one of Nixon's books, he talks about how many in the White House were claiming that Khrushchev was a buffoon, a total light weight, etc. But one of the cabinet members set the administration straight by saying that Khrushchev had to be far sharper than they thought since he rose to the top in Stalin's USSR, etc. And indeed he was.


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