Sunday, February 24, 2008

seeking help with guest lecture

Uh, so I'm giving a lecture on the Sorry Speech on Tuesday. I put this fabulous idea to the prof about a week ago, and he said yesterday that this Tuesday seemed to be the way to go. Short notice, but Very Exciting! I mean, what's the point of TAing for a class on rhetoric if you don't get to explore its practical uses, no?

I mainly want to talk about why the speech was so effective, how Rudd became a rhetorician all of a sudden (what happened to "Just Don't Fuck it Up"?) and why the speech evoked such a response. I plan to play a clip of the speech and also explain the context, you know, what the Stolen Generations are, the debarcle with Howard, etc. I also hope to draw some parallels with Canada (Residential Schools and so forth) , to point out that this is not just an issue of Far Away.

If anybody has any thoughts on the topic please please comment. I"m particularly interested in public response stuff, cos I only know about that second hand, and anybody's ideas on why the speech was so effective (or not effective- does anybody think it wasn't very good?)


groteaux said...

sounds exciting

apparently there was a sizeable minority that were saying "I'm not sorry - I haven't done anything"

itchy and b will know more about it

BBB said...

The whole occasion was very effective because:
1 It was a complete reversal of the stubborn refusal of Howard to acknowledge any responsibility for previous government wrong doings.

1a This was the first act of the newly elected parliament - added extra significance.

2 The whole event was particularly well done. Started the day before with a 'welcome to country' - first time ever in Aus national parliament. Then hundreds of the stolen generation had been brought to Canberra, and were personally welcomed into parliament house by Rudd through the Prime Minster's entrance. And they sat in the Chamber and he was speaking to them directly.

3 His speech contained a full and complete apology - no weasel words.

4 He told a real story of one woman's life, very moving.

5 he promised action with real targets to be achieved in terms of life expectancy.

6 He made it bi-partisan by saying it was an issue above the petty squabbling of day to day politics, and invited the Leader of the Opposition to join him in addressing the first issue - housing.

Put all that together = magic!

Nelon in contrast was caught between 2 camps. A poll of voters showed overwhelming support for the apology by Labor voters, but amongst conservative voters, it was split almost exactly 50/50. So Nelson had to try and appease both sides, which was impossible as they are implacably opposed.
Around the country there was a massive audience, somewhere in the order of 1.5 million, apparently a huge audience for 9am in the morning. The whole thing was taken live by schools, prisons adn many workplaces.

itchy said...

i haven't got much to add beyond what BBB said, except that i think part of the overwhelming emotion might have had something to do with the fact that this was the first time in a long time that Parliament has done something meaningful that is positive for the country. Generally when people gather in the streets and in Fed Square it's because a war has been announced, or to protest AWAs. Plus, it had echoes for me of when I realised we had actually voted that little bastard out. Pride. It has been a long dark night, and the dawn is beautiful, etc. sorry, i don't know much about the speech, I only heard short clips of it on the news, and read the transcript. but it did have a sincerity that also has been lacking in our leaders since before I could vote.

the end.

Epponnee-Rae said...

thankyou, thankyou, stalwart commentors. veyr useful info.

do you mind if i quote youse?

itchy said...

not at all, as long as you make me sound smart(er) than i am.

groteaux said...

itchy, didn't you mention the racism of your work colleagues?

itchy said...

doesn't have anything to do with rhetoric.

but, if you would like a direct quote from my supervisor;

"it's all very well to say sorry, but does that mean they'll stop being alcoholics and abusing their kids?"

*swallows bile*

Epponnee-Rae said...

i'll quote you as Dr Itchy, Esq. how's that?

ta muchly for supervisor quote. i don't know if i'll be able to bring myself to use it. . .

BBB said...

Itchy's supervisor quote is very relevant, if unappealing to us. It is a real reflection on the feelings of a significant minority of Australians, e.g. my sister in law.

And, yes, you may quote me.