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Figaro rips the innards out of things people say and reveals the rhetorical tricks and pratfalls. For terms and definitions, click here.
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    She's Too Late for Silent Films

    Michael, one of our loyal Figarists, wrote us about Kim Delaney’s incoherent speech, which she delivered after her teleprompter went on the fritz.  “Cicero is turning in his grave moaning O tempora! O mores!” Michael wrote.  

    It’s true that memorization was once considered an essential skill of oratory (along with invention, arrangement, style, and delivery).  With our new book coming out, we’re giving a lot more speeches ourselves lately, and we try to deliver them without notes.  How? By memorizing a few key lines and winging the rest.  It takes practice.  Which poor, beautiful Kim Delaney clearly hasn’t had.

    “It was different in Charlie’s day,” Michael said, and he included this video.  It sure was different.  Back then, if you forgot your words, you simply switched to Foreign!

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    Reader Comments (4)

    Does your new book tell how to deliver a speech without notes?
    September 24, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBillio
    Why, yes it does! Most of the book is dedicated to the kinds of figures and tropes you see on this site--with most of the jargon taking a back seat to practical advice--but toward the end of the book you learn how to use your new-found wit to deliver a speech. Another chapter tells how to win an argument. And still another shows how to tell a good story.

    Thanks for letting me make the plug, Billio! For more info, go to www.WordHero.org.

    September 24, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterFigaro
    What do the lyrics mean?
    September 24, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterElizabeth
    They apparently don't mean anything. Chaplin, who wrote the music for "Modern Times," the talky film in which the scene takes place, adapted a French song. He sings it with a mishmash of Italian, French, and English. Funny: He might as well have stuck with no sound at all.

    You may also have noticed the lyrics at the beginning of the scene, reminiscing about the "darkies" singing. Every time we think civilization is taking a step backwards, we should watch films like this.
    September 24, 2011 | Registered CommenterFigaro

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