I read the other day that someone working for Sky had declared that those critical of ‘taking the knee’ were subhuman. There, I thought, was a prime example of idle hyperbole at best, and crass idiocy at worst. After all there are plenty of ways of displaying your opposition to racism, but taking the knee specifically pays homage to BLM, in the same way as a Hitler salute does to Nazism; and from what I have understood BLM is not the cosiest of clubs. Therefore I leapt at the chance to learn more when I saw that Hillsdale College had in October 2020 hosted a panel discussion entitled The BLM Movement and Civil Rights. I thought this would be a bit of a ‘blog holiday’ for me, not teaching just learning.
I was wrong. If you are a regular reader you will know my obsession with paperless speaking – no script, no notes – and the three panellists in order of speaking went from Paper Prisoner, via occasional glancer, to shooting from the hip, thus offering three stark examples of my case. Furthermore I couldn’t resist other interesting observations concerning their speaking style.
The panelists were Arthur Milikh, Wilfred Reilly, and Robert Woodson. The chairman is Michael Anton.
Of the four names above, Michael Anton is the only one whom I have denied a cyber link to learn about him. That is because he spends the first minute telling us all about himself. I briefly wonder whether he is inordinately nervous or a stammer sufferer who has almost conquered it. I decide upon the latter, which is admirable (it’s a difficult task). He conveys a lovely nature when introducing the others, reading the supplied resumé material but always raising his eyes to add his own personal twist. He’s good.
Arthur Milikh starts at 2:30, and we quickly learn two things. He really knows his stuff and will supply us with a wealth of deeply researched information, but we will have to work harder to absorb it because his audience engagement is lamentable. The reason for that is that damn paper that holds him prisoner. He can obviously communicate well through the written word but he has no idea how to convey it orally. At 9:15 he breaks out of the prison and addresses the audience freestyle, and for half a minute we see how he could be if he threw away his script. For me this is frustrating because I know how easily he’d do that with proper guidance, and how liberating he would find it.
That example is not ideal because it has to cope with transitions from reading to speaking and back again. We see it more clearly during Q&A when he fields a question that begins at 54:55, and thereafter all his speaking is perforce spontaneous and immeasurably better for it.
For all that, this opening talk is hugely informative. There is a very revealing section that arrives around 13:40 on the theme of the appeasement of the corporate elites, and how BLM engineers it. Milikh sets us up well for what is to follow.
Wilfred Reilly, talking about ‘Inner-city Crime and the Police’,begins at 19:42, and intrigues me. There is a nuance to his delivery that keeps me constantly wondering whether he is ever being altogether serious. His light touch seems to belie the seriousness of the topic, but he always stays just the right side of acceptability. His face at rest seems to be constantly slightly smiling, which may be just the way it was built by his Maker, though the preposterous beard – which somehow manages to be charming – is his own construction. He does ambush us with occasional flippant comments, excellently timed, and he sometimes protests that he doesn’t want to be glib but…
The glibness is interesting, because when it appears the humour comes direct from his knack of distilling things to a minimal use of words – e.g. – “My basic one-sentence take on policing is that it’s a good idea”.
Then at around 33:30 his delivery subtly hardens till at 36:28 the blast of war blows in his ears, and he imitates the action of the tiger. His sentences get shorter as do the words and finally he is serious – except he isn’t. He rounds off the entire speech – which, in passing, is full of some horrendous facts – with a flourish which draws a huge laugh from the audience.
This is one skilled communicator.
Robert Woodson begins at 38:45. He was on this blog only a handful of weeks ago with a full-length speech. Here as there he shoots the whole thing from the hip and is magnificent. He is such a wise man!
He finishes at 50:30 and receives a standing ovation. Even his fellow speakers stand.
There follow about twenty minutes of question and answer, and I found that equally riveting.
Anyone, be they footballers, sports commentators, world champion racing drivers, police officers, leaders of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition, anyone who defends the taking of the knee – or, worse, attacks those who don’t – should watch this video and know the nature of the revolting movement to which they are paying abject homage.