November 16, 2003


Category: Miscellaneous :: Permalink

All long programmes, on political or other occasions, are a mistake. It is utterly an error, for instance, to suppose that because the list is long the individual speakers will make short speeches. People never make short speeches. A short speech is a rare, romantic, heroic exploit, much more uncommon than a religious martyrdom or a VC [Victoria Cross, awarded for bravery in the face of the enemy]. When people are on their legs (as they always say) you will find it very difficult to get them off their legs, except by pulling them off. I have seen many meetings —¬†political, religious, irreligious, festive, funereal, and even financial. And I can with a clear conscience lay it down, as the outcome of all human experience, that there are in this world of ours only two kinds of speakers. There are two public orators and no third. The first is the man who is making a good speech and won’t finish. The second is the man who is making a bad speech and can’t finish. The latter is the longer. —¬†G. K. Chesterton, “On Long Speeches and Truth,” The Illustrated London News, February 24, 1906.

Posted by John Barach @ 7:18 pm | Discuss (0)

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