For me, and I’m guessing for many DDs, it is a painful thing to watch and to listen to Bush “make a speech” on TV. I put that last bit in quotation marks because he never really makes a speech; rather, he reads the text scrolling by on a Teleprompter.
A Teleprompter is a device that displays the text which a speaker is delivering. It can be: 1) placed directly in front of the lens of a video camera (so that the speaker’s eyes appear to be directed at the viewer) or 2) it can be projected onto those little glass screens you see on either side of a speaker’s platform, such as we will see in the upcoming State of the Union address.
My main point in this diary is that, despite the unending pain of watching Bush speak, there is a counterbalance in the humor provided by his robotic use of the Teleprompter in option 2) situations. I’m sure this arises out of the extensive rehearsals he went through with Karen Hughes prior to previous SOTU deliveries.
Whether Bush starts out reading the text from the left or right screen, the pattern is always the same. Read, read, read, then turn to the center and deliver some platitude he’s delivered a hundred times before, then turn to the opposite side and read, read, read, and return to center for another easily memorized phrase.
For example, in his 2003 State of the Union delivery he read from the Teleprompter: “This country has many challenges. We will not deny, we will not ignore, we will not pass along our problems to other Congresses, to other presidents, and other generations.” Then he turned center and said: “We will confront them with focus and clarity and courage.”
The thing that I find most amusing is the methodical way in which he goes about the performance: left, center, right, center, left, center and on and on in a metronomic, robotic manner. One of his moves that I particularly enjoy is when he is looking center, he keeps he face center but slides his eyes to the side because he doesn’t have a clue what the next words are.
I’ve often speculated that, in his practice rehearsals prior to delivering the speech, they probably decide in advance exactly which phrases will be delivered straight ahead into the camera. And I’ve sometimes wondered if his speech writers had to make certain that simplistic platitudes appeared at regular intervals so he could go center and turn. (But then I realized that his speeches are so totally larded with them that he has plenty of opportunities.)
One year, maybe in 2004, they gave him the option of reading from printed text he had in front of him on the podium. I think it confused him, muddled his focus, and affected his performance, so that was dropped.
I offer this for your amusement and to encourage you to watch the SOTU speech. Since it is so painful to watch him speak, I have to force myself and this little bit gives me a sufficient reason to do so. I also find the commentary and analysis after the speech to be most amusing as they laud Bush for another great speech.