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Reading: Opinion | That’s the Last We Need to Hear From Trump – The New York Times

From Opinion | That’s the Last We Need to Hear From Trump – The New York Times

> He pursued an odd strategy, built on pure delusion and dependent on voters’ complete amnesia.

And his own amnesia: I got the sense that trump forget he was the incumbant.

He painted Biden, not himself, as an ethical abomination whose career in government was devoted to personal enrichment. He portrayed the Biden family, not his own, as a clan of grifters. He essentially cast Biden as the incumbent, speaking as if Biden had exited the vice presidency all of 60 seconds ago, and clung to the claim that he, the leader of the world’s richest and most powerful country for nearly four years now, was the ultimate outsider.

“It’s all talk, no action, with these politicians,” Trump said at one point.

These politicians? Mr. President, let me introduce you to the profession that you now inhabit. You’re awful at it, and there’s a death toll of more than 220,000 Americans that speaks to that. But it is your occupation, God save the rest of us.

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Reading: Pence struggles to defend the indefensible and please his disastrous boss | Richard Wolffe | Opinion | The Guardian

From Pence struggles to defend the indefensible and please his disastrous boss | Richard Wolffe | Opinion | The Guardian

A little light rhetorical analysis:

The American people I believe deserve credit for the sacrifices they have made for the health of their family, and their neighbors, our doctors, nurses, first responders.”

This kind of piously indignant pabulum is not a new performance for the current vice-president but rather something he perfected as a talkshow radio host in Indiana in the late 1990s. Pence styled himself as “Rush Limbaugh on decaf” which is just the kind of awshucks deception that is so vital to serving as a cardboard cutout behind Donald Trump’s shoulder.

In many ways, this was a three-way contest, between Harris, Pence and Trump. But only Pence cared about the Trump voice in his head. And that astonishingly loud, gasping voice constantly distracted Pence from the contest on stage.

It does not take much imagination to conjure up a world in which Pence is sworn into the presidency just before the people kick him out of office

For starters, Trump… could not shut his mouth on social media for the entire evening. This was of course a repeat performance of his debate with Joe Biden last week…/.

In truth, both candidates were equally matched debaters. Pence dodged everything about climate change. Harris dodged everything about packing the supreme court.

What was unequal was that Pence had to defend the indefensible: a disastrous and preventable death toll, a collapsing economy and a Covid-infected president.

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Reading: Trump has exposed a huge weakness. Democrats should pounce. – The Washington Post

From Trump has exposed a huge weakness. Democrats should pounce. – The Washington Post

it’s only a short leap to making the point that a major impediment to achieving this is Trump’s pathological need to cast everything on his watch as smashingly marvelous. …

This criticism will stand even if officials do ultimately manage coronavirus effectively. That’s because such an eventuality will effectively take place behind Trump’s back — officials will be succeeding despite the obstacles created by his pathologies.

That’s a case Democrats should not shy away from making, despite screams that they must not “politicize” the outbreak. This is exactly the debate the country needs right now — even or especially in the very political context of the presidential race.

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New Media

debate in sl

200901241005.jpgI found the note that SJU was going to hold a debate in SL underwhelming at first.

This week Stephen Llano, the director of debate at St. John’s University, in New York, announced what is billed as the first tournament debate held in Second Life. It will take place on February 4 at 8 p.m. Eastern Time in the university’s virtual campus (shown below).

[From Wired Campus: College Debate Teams to Face Off in Second Life – Chronicle.com]

But, as The Chronicle points out, the event will test how effective debate modeled on face to face exchange works when mediated by SL:

College debate matches can be physically intense — with participants rattling off arguments at top speed and gesturing dramatically. So it will be interesting to see if a debate contest can work in Second Life, the virtual world.

What they find might inform our ideas about how lectures, student exchanges, and even guide-on-the-side mentoring work in SL.

My sense is that the debaters will adapt their vocal delivery to the 2D cartoon world, and I’d bet they’ll find that the appearance of the avatar is going to be pretty significant to the effectiveness of the argument. It’s not just canned gestures here. Gender, wardrobe, hair, height and weight and body shape are all rhetorical affordances in SL.