Glenn Greenwald: the natural over-speaks

The YouTube introduction reads, “The Future of Freedom Foundation and Young Americans for Liberty presented a one-day conference on the campus of The University of Texas at Austin at the LBJ Auditorium in the Lyndon B. Johnson Library on Saturday, April 11, 2015, that addressed the war on drugs and the war on terrorism“. I added the hyperlinks

I am a little uneasy about this talk from Glenn Greenwald and I am not sure why. The title of the talk doesn’t help, but I know little of him and certainly not enough to condemn him unheard. Could it be his ubiquitousness on the university speaking circuit? After all the word university has these days become such an antonym for diversity that being no-platformed is now a badge of honour and being welcomed almost a reason for suspicion.

This is a free-speech blog, so we shall hear him.

What a dreadful introduction! This young man is obviously well-meaning but he needs to learn how to speak in public and how to tie his own bow-tie.

Greenwald is a natural speaker. That is obvious from the start; and now with my rhetor hat firmly donned I am uneasy for other reasons.

People always seem astonished that natural speakers should worry me. If they had read my post on Peter Schiff they would understand better. I don’t particularly want to rehash all the points here, and I don’t really need to. I merely need to invite you to watch this interminable bore of a speech. It is 45 minutes long, could have been concisely delivered in 10, and expansively delivered in 15.

Better still, rather than lose three-quarters of an hour that you will never see again, click at random anywhere in the speech, watch five minutes and then stop. If you learn any more than could have been uttered in six sentences I should be surprised. He repeats and rambles, rambles and repeats till the air is thick with snoring.

The trouble is that the subject matter is important. If you manage to stay awake long enough you will find that he is speaking mainly about universal surveillance, a subject that should concern us all (it was important enough to be the central theme of the latest James Bond film after all). It bothers me that the matter has been so keenly hi-jacked by Islamist apologists, but still it is a matter that needs to be addressed – and preferably by others than power-hungry bureaucrats.

Greenwald, being a natural speaker, has never needed to learn the speaking disciplines that ordinary mortals require. Accordingly his speaking is undisciplined and tedious.

With a little work he could be brilliant.

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