20202Obama influenced by Tolkien?
- Nov 26, 2008Or, more likely, both Obama and Tolkien were influenced by Cicero.
In an article analyzing Obama's use of rhetoric, Charlotte Higgins points
out his use of a series of three:
"One of the best known of Cicero's techniques is his use of series of three
to emphasise points: the tricolon. (The most enduring example of a Latin
tricolon is not Cicero's, but Caesar's "Veni, vidi, vici" - I came, I saw, I
conquered.) Obama uses tricola freely. Here's an example: "Tonight, we
gather to affirm the greatness of our nation, not because of the height of
our skyscrapers, or the power of our military, or the size of our economy
..." In this passage, from the 2004 Democratic convention speech, Obama is
also using the technique of "praeteritio" - drawing attention to a subject
by not discussing it. (He is discounting the height of America's skyscrapers
etc, but in so doing reminds us of their importance.)"
This reminded me, not of Cicero, but of Faramir's great speech:
"but I do not love the bright sword for its sharpness, nor the arrow for its
swiftness, nor the warrior for his glory. I love only that which they
Obama reportedly is a fan of Spider-Man, but I have not heard if he likes
He seems so well read that it would be surprising if he hadn't read the Lord
of the Rings.
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