Michelle Malkin and her big mouth

While I was doing a little background research for my recent posting on Brigitte Gabriel I came across another outspoken American woman – a self-proclaimed “big mouth”.  My not having previously come across her is evidence that the Atlantic is still quite wide.

I have been having fun, watching several speeches by Michelle Malkin and trying to choose which to cover. This one is the longest, this perhaps the most temperate and measured, but I chose this one. She is speaking at a dinner in her honour where she was presented with the second annual Breitbart Award. The hosts are the Heritage Foundation and the Franklin Center for government and public integrity

In the first few seconds it emerges that she has been up since 2 a.m. and has drunk lots of coffee. My interest quickens, because an element of peripheral stress can bust the hump and often adds edge to a speech. Also if the way she tells us of the coffee is a guide, this lady is going to tell it like it is by way of a polished repertoire of speaking devices.

I am not disappointed: she’s very good. Yes, of course she’s shooting from the hip – all good speakers do – but there’s more. Look at that beautiful claptrap at 5:45. She hits the word “fight” paying particular attention to the “t” and immediately looks down. The audience applause comes bang on cue. There are plenty more successful claptraps. Yes I know she’s among friends, but still she’s playing the audience brilliantly.

And those pauses! She creates great gaping holes in the soundtrack which serve to heighten our interest in what’s coming next.

She’s a hell of a good communicator. Because I have now watched a great many of her speeches and interviews I have seen how well she either varies her style and rhythm to the prevailing decorum or – more often – creates her own to suit the occasion.

Her self-deprecating self-description “big mouth” is a bit of fun. She’s worked very hard at her speaking skill, which is fairly unusual among writers who too often regard speaking as merely a subdivision of writing. It is not: it is different in very many ways. I salute her.

An Inspired Outburst

I spend a great deal of browsing time, looking for material for this blog. I am specifically looking for speeches, but occasionally I turn the hunt on its head and look for egregious speaking in any other context. When I find it I then look to see if the speaker has speeches on line. It is a system that has proved very effective.

Thus it was that I happened upon this …

This is Brigitte Gabriel.

Man, can she speak! I often tell my trainees that passion is worth buckets of technique, but the dream ticket is to have both. Then the passion can be most effectively channelled.

She has both: buckets and buckets of both.

In three and a half minutes, shooting from the hip, she improvises a mini speech that has a beginning, a middle, and an end. Boy, what an end – I love her last sentence! Furthermore this mini speech has a Face

The peaceful majority were irrelevant

Yes, I know that it’s the safest of bets that she has said all this before, and often, but that’s not the point. It is only by really understanding speaking structure that you can deliver a message instantly tailored to any time-slot required. This speech epitomises so much that I teach that it makes my head spin. I don’t flatter myself that she has read my book. On the other hand I can tell you that she doesn’t need to. I have seldom seen an audience’s g-spot hit so squarely.

Speaking personally, without my rhetor hat on, it was also good to hear her implied message of people ultimately being wiser than their “leaders” (I detest the term). That is the bedrock of democracy, and the reason that tyrannies always fail in the end.

I went seeking examples on line of her formal speaking.

No prizes for guessing who will be the subject of my next blog posting.