· Naughties
· · 2004
· · · July
· · · · 31 (1 entry)

Georgic · You may have heard the term “Philippic,” which means a fiery speech full of in­vec­tive and warn­ing. The word comes from a se­ries of pub­lic ad­dress­es by De­mos­thenes, the clas­si­cal Greek or­a­tor, who is said to have over­came the speech im­ped­i­ment that he was born with by prac­tic­ing his art at the sea­side with stones in his mouth. The speech­es were about the evil of and the dan­ger from King Philip of Mace­don, fa­ther of Alexan­der, who, ex­act­ly as De­mos­thenes pre­dict­ed, even­tu­al­ly did crush the in­de­pen­dent life of the Greek city-states. Wel­l, Ron Rea­gan, son of the late Pres­i­dent and stem-cell re­search ac­tivist, has de­cid­ed to take on Demosthenes’ role. You may, in re­cent times, have heard many bad things said about the ad­min­is­tra­tion of Ge­orge W. Bush. Rea­gan, writ­ing in Esquire mag­a­zine, says them all in one place in a con­cen­trat­ed out­burst of rhetor­i­cal flame. I think one could be a Bush par­ti­san and still ad­mire Reagan’s ex­tend­ed, fo­cused fury. This piece is valu­able, even con­sid­ered on­ly as a time-saver; if you read it, you can pret­ty well skip over all the oth­er anti-Bush rhetoric that’s apt to oc­cu­py the air­waves this year, be­cause it’s all neat­ly pack­aged up here in one place. [Up­date: John Cowan, ap­prox­i­mate­ly the world’s most lit­er­ate per­son, writes to tell me that “Georgic” al­ready means po­ems of the clas­sic pe­ri­od deal­ing with Agri­cul­ture, no­tably those of Vir­gil. Too bad, I’m not chang­ing the ti­tle.]
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