June 06, 2005

Obama at Knox

Commencement was Saturday, and Senator Obama was the main speaker. God, he's a great orator. He also is, or has, an excellent speechwriter. But it's not just that; he can integrate stuff on the fly. The Knox website has a "transcript" that is pretty obviously just the intended speech (and not copyedited, at that, tsk tsk), but comparing that to the actual transcript is pretty impressive, as you can see how he made changes as he went, and if you listen to the video you can see that when he would misspeak on one word, he'd extemporaneously edit the rest of the sentence to match it.

After Obama's speech, and after the diplomas were distributed, Dan Lieberman gave the student speech. It was structured around a motif of "Hi mom!", "Hi faculty!", each one followed with some remarks thereto, and when he addressed the abovementioned orator, he turned around and said, "Hi, President Obama!" A brief gasp and then thunderous applause from the audience. Dan then coyly explained that he wanted to "try that out and see how it sounded"---more applause. Dan then directed the Senator to find under his seat Dan's résumé (it was actually there, Obama held it up to show the crowd), in the most shameless bit of job schmoozing I've ever seen. I hope it's effective; he'd be a great guy to get into politics.

Aside from these two excellent speeches, the ceremony was chiefly notable for the rain which didn't quite hold off. As the choir sang "How can I keep from singing", a perfectly serendipitous thunderclap accompanied the line "No storm can shake my inmost calm..." as grey clouds raced in to threaten. The platform party skipped a bunch of stuff to get to the diplomas in an effort to beat the rain, which failed, so all the graduates got a bit rained on. However, by the end of the list, the rain had stopped again, so we went back and picked up the earlier stuff we'd skipped, and indeed the weather then completely cleared. By the time we'd finished the recessional, it was sunny and warm again. Sigh.

At that point, I grabbed some food, said hi to a few people, and then ran off to my car to race up to Milwaukee. But that's for another post.

"If Christianity is to remain relevant in the United States, it has to emphasize a doctrine that has historically been important to the faith but has been much maligned in this past century: the efficacy of the conscience apart from the institutional church." --Chris Tessone

Posted by blahedo at 8:57pm on 6 Jun 2005
That resume trick is choice. Posted by Kimmitt at 6:44pm on 9 Jun 2005
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