Report on Enough Said: What’s Gone Wrong with the Language of Politics?
The March gathering related an extremely positive review of our first Book Club field trip to the Ennis Book Club Festival earlier this month as well as a lively discussion of the read this month: Enough Said: What’s Gone Wrong with the Language of Politics by Mark Thompson.
Enjoying the hospitality of Mike and Joe, four of us enjoyed the finest of times down in Ennis in early March. Although the weather was less than optimal, the combination of extremely fine company, wonderfully engaging talks, and fine dining made for a truly memorable experience. Thanks to our most hospitable of hosts – we would sincerely hope this may become an annual outing. Paul Durcan gave a generous serving of poems wonderfully curated and delivered. The list of 10 books you should read proved to be stellar entertainment when the Cork combination of Lisa Mcinnerney and Conal Creedon proved to be absolutely inspired. Viva – presented as part of the festival was a most surprisingly evocative and heartrending film experience. Superb film. Finally the Sunday Morning debate on sport and politics got us all talking and capped a great weekend out. Let’s plan for next March.
Discussion tonight around Enough Said, was lively and raised as many questions as related findings. Stemming from the suggestion that Rhetoric in Public Talk might shed light on the nature of rhetoric itself, we spent at least 10-15 minutes attempting to deduce what in fact rhetoric really is and largely concluded that the book didn’t necessarily illuminate this at all.
The aspects of the book that looked at classical conceptions of rhetoric were universally appreciated and past experience with the story of English and the Socratic Dialogues armed us with some background in this. The Orwell chapter was pointed to as a hinge moment when the book may have made its now paradigmatic shift (;-) from the overall arc and seemingly stated objective of the book as a whole. Although there was a wealth of enjoyable anecdotal material (snippets) that were individually enlightening what might have been an earlier narrative arc began to deviate from the central argument, to the extent that the later chapters become far more reflective of what seem to be Thompson’s personal rants and peccadilloes. This raised a larger question of what the perceived audience may have been by the author in the writing of the book and one answer tendered was that he really seems to have done this for his own edification.
Ultimately there was some serious challenge to the increasing amount of focus on where we are today and that the observations already appear far less grounded in the structure of defining rhetoric and became more of a anti-paen of what ails a very western-oriented way of looking government and the governed. Who is really responsible for where we find ourselves today?
After a discussion tonight it was agreed that the Waterloo Bar on Baggot street was most convivial to book club needs – and we even managed to grab a snug so suggested that we might continue to avail ourselves of the spot until otherwise advised.
Our agreed read for the month of April is The Glorious Heresies by Lisa Mcinnerney who comes to us partly as a result of the book club festival and is a recommendation championed by Fergal.