Thursday, January 15, 1998

Lyons Effective Speaking Contest

[devil persona, no eye contact] [long drawn-out maniacal laughter] [then slowly] I - am - victorious. [first eye contact, calm, man persona] Well, [scoff] [conspiratorial] at least that's what he said. [scoff] Said it right to my face he did. The devil, the prince of darkness, the chief of the fallen angles, the archfiend himself has officially declared victory. [scoff] Took me a little by surprise it did; I don't know about any of you, ladies, gentlemen, honorable judges, but I was under the vague impression that I had at least a little bit of fight left; however, he apparently is convinced he has won, so I set myself to thinking and, well, he does have a strong case.

I peeked outside the other day and received an incredible shock: it was raining. [pause] Now hold on, I can see that all of you fine people consider rain to be a rather common occurrence but this wasn't your average sort of rain. It was no friendly little conglomeration of hydrogen and oxygen spearing towards parched soil, no cats, no dogs, not even the occasional poodle. [crazy persona] It was raining fire. [pause] We are at war. [man persona, casual laugh] You know, I always forget that I'm a foot-soldier in the great corporate war. You see, I'm waiting for the Jackals to come and save us all.

[scholar persona] The great Canadian theorist Marshall McLuhan said that World War III will be a guerilla information war, with no division between military and civilian participation. [man persona] He was right. [crazy persona] He just forgot to mention that there would be no division between countries, no division between morals or causes, no division besides corporate name. [scholar persona] [lovingly] General Electric, Procter & Gamble, Exon, Hollenger, Disney and so forth. [man persona] [sadly] We are indeed foot-soldiers in the filthy corporate war. A war whose purpose is to determine which group of [stacato] select citizens [/stacato] can maintain the largest horde of coins, a war to determine which of these tiny groups can enslave the most souls.

[insincerly agast] How has this been accomplished? How was it made possible that so few could control so many? [snap, revelation] Ahh, ahh, yes, of course, the information age, [full of joy] our brave new technology, that's what's made it possible for so few to control so many. But now you sit there and stare at me aghast; technology has done so many wonderful things you say; it is only in a few cases that it has been twisted to malignant ends. [sadly] But you are wrong. [crazy persona] [vehmenent] A whip is a whip and a chain is a chain; they were created, designed, manufactured, for one purpose and that purpose is to control. [scholar persona] [lovingly] Computer technology, the microchips that sneak ever so close towards our brains are the result of a calculated investment. They were designed to be a control device, [crazy persona] birthed as a whip. [man persona] [sadly] It is not in a few cases that technology has been twisted to malignant ends, it is sadly only in a few cases that it has been twisted to good ends.

[melencholy laugh] Luddites had the right idea. [pause] [kindly] Let me explain. [stress]Luddites[/stress] were those individuals who in the early eighteen hundreds destroyed machinery because they thought the world was better off without it. [happily] You see, they would snatch up great big hammers and beat the encroaching machinery until it bled rust. They saw the industrial age stomping towards them and they decided that things just weren't looking up. The movement was of course crushed and the name fell into the history books, but a new breed of Luddites has arisen, and you just might be one. [solemn] These are those who realize that Marshall McLuhan spoke the truth. These are those who can see the fire raining down upon us.

Let me paint a little picture. You've just buckled yourself into a computer terminal cubical and set yourself to work like an eager little serf. Now don't you feel even a mild pang of malice? Come now, the heartless brute is nearly flogging you, what with those electrons it's firing into the back of your brain and the clickity clack clacking of its key board like the beat of the slave drums in the belly of a ship. Hey!!! It could be a family event, get the folks, call the kids, we'll rip out it's guts and choke it with it's own entrails. What fun it'll be. If you like that idea, and I think you do, then you may just have the blood of a luddite.

So just how strong is old Lucifer's case anyhow? Has the information age really made us into the greatest fleet of pawns ever pushed by the malignant corporate hand? Come on kids, we're smart people, the prince of darkness hasn't gained anything on us. It doesn't matter how heavy the mephitic mechanical heap on our backs gets. We still catch a ray of light now and then. We know what's important. We don't have to stay and play by their rules. As a point of fact, we do own the ball. Come on Jimmy, we're going home.

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