Friday, October 01, 2004

Speaking on the Subject

One of the things Matt Margolis at Blogs for Bush said about Kerry's performance was:

Kerry sought to answer questions he was not asked, avoiding saying anything substantive about his plan for Iraq and trying to suggest that funding at home has suffered...

Changing the subject is a standard tactic that is taught at Toastmasters.

For those of you who are not familiar with Toastmasters International, it is a group that teaches the techniques of public speaking, which in practice means teaching dull and boring people to be even more tedious, dull, and boring. How do I know this? Well, my participation in Toastmasters was strongly recommended by the Chairman and the Treasurer of the Libertarian Party of Minnesota during my brief involvment with them about fifteen years ago.

To make a long story short (too late), I was called upon to speak for two minutes on a subject that I knew nothing about. The usual technique for dealing with this situation was to either change the subject or make up something to say.

This to me was the height of rudeness. Instead I stood up and said this:

Mr. President, fellow Toastmasters, and honored guest, I have absolutely nothing to say on this subject. Thank you.

And then I sat down.

The Chairman and the Treasurer of the LP-MN continued to pester me about attending Toastmasters until I found and ran off copies of a short story, in STARLOG magazine of all places, that mocked the organization.

Never heard a word from either of them on the subject after that.

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