Ron Finley plays a blinder.

I came across this TED TALK. The speaker is Ron Finley. He’s a fashion designer.

Before the greeting applause has died down comes the first sentence. “I live in South Central”. That’s ethos if I want you to look at my glossary page. And the ethos continues till we reach a glorious pair of sentences,

South Central Los Angeles, home of the drive-through and the drive-by. The funny thing is the drive-throughs are killing more people than the drive-bys…

This man has grabbed my interest by the throat, and satisfies my curiosity immediately by explaining that the biggest killer in his neighbourhood is obesity.

So the story unfolds, and the beauty is that it is a story. How I urge people to build a speech on a structure that creates a narrative thread! It makes it much easier to deliver and much more digestible to receive.

Needless to say, Finley shoots this entirely from the hip – look at the empty hands in that picture! – and restricts his visual slides to only those that will enhance the narrative. The speech is around 10 minutes long (the last minute is a message from the sponsor). It’s a beautiful and exemplary piece of speaking; and rather than steal any more of your time I’d prefer to let you simply enjoy it.

Except … I really can’t resist doffing my rhetor hat long enough to observe that this story gives the lie to the fiction we are frequently fed by officialdom and their cheerleaders in the media, namely that The State and Society are one and the same. Here we have a story of a community bypassing officialdom, and helping itself in a manner that is positive, logical, beautiful and which officialdom vehemently opposed till they saw votes in it.