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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 9, Issue 1 (April 2, 1934.)

Unfair Tirading

Unfair Tirading.

But public speaking is not fair tirading. The race is “readied” before it starts, and speech is hamstrung by hesitant “hums” and hoarse “haws,” joined in unholy-mutter-o-mony with collar-clutchings and air-chokes. The speaker feels as Daniel felt when he got a snap-shot of the arena on his retina. He feels that no quarter will be given and everything he says will be used as evidence against him. The silence is as soggy as ten thousand pneumatic drills boring into blancmange.

The chairman is the only purple patch in a pop-eyed panorama. He speaks with the soothing insouciance of a boozed blow-fly and the victim of the piece hopes that he will go on buzzing until the night-watchman comes to turn off the lights. The chairman certifies that the speaker has more virtues than any man could have—and still live. The victim knows he's a liar, and the audience suspect it.

But the speaker becomes so soothed by the chairman's chin-churning that he can scarcely believe it when he hears that sinister sentence: “And now I can do no better than allow Mr. Fourflush to tell us what he is about to tell us.” With the dull impact of a flung tomato the truth connects with his cerebrum, and he finds himself more or less on his feet. Then a voice somewhat like that which called the infant Samuel's bluff, oozes out of the atmosphere. The alleged speaker hears it saying all the things he would never have thought of saying. Then the head disappears and all thought goes with it. This is where he claws his cravat and tries to get a flying tackle on his Adam's apple as it plays dickory dickory-dock up and down his conjunctional plumbing; he gives his notes a glance and finds that they have turned to Hindustani or Siberian shorthand, and are as indecipherable as a doctor's prescription for barley water. There may be artists in public speaking, but they must be too
“When soup is snuffled.”

“When soup is snuffled.”

artistic to speak in public. We will now agitate the allegro:

Public speaking is—well,
It's a sell.
Some people who speak,
Merely leak
Through a hole in their roof.
There's no proof
That what they uncork,
When they talk,
Is speech or coherence.
So often deceives,
And so leaves
The hearer all fuzzled
And puzzled.
And they are the butt,
If they “phut,”
And fail, in effect,
To connect,
Or capture their victims
With dictums
Which no one, we fear,
Wants to hear.
And so it's a fair
Waste of air.
If ever you've tried,
To confide
In a crowded assize
Of pop eyes,
You'll know that the best
Of behest,
To this form of violence,
Is Silence.

And thus we aim to prove that, if the tongue is sometimes silver, silence is often golden.

Of course gesticulation is an ally of articulation—and is also known as fizzycal jerks. But, if it is Art, it is unconscious art, being more anaesthetic than aesthetic.