In Search of My Father 2017 Writing Project

In Search of My Father 2017 Writing Project
In Search of My Father, 2017 writing project supported by The National Lottery through the Arts Council of Northern Ireland

Thursday, 28 July 2016

US PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES - SHRILL? AND THE REST

The veteran broadcaster James Naughtie, when talking about Hillary Clinton on BBC Radio 4's Today programme, remarked that she had a "shrill tone" when making speeches, thereby igniting apoplexy as only social media can. It became a debate about how the media describes female politicians. But, in its triviality, it was nothing of the kind. It was one person's opinion.  Yes, Naughtie is a man and Clinton is a woman but why (bad word here) genderise it for the sake of stupid argument.

Over the past few weeks and months, commentators, male and female, have described the Trump guy as a blusterer with enough bleugh, blether and blah to nuke a chat room but it's just taken as comedy, panto and part of the deal when you put yourself so prominently in the public eye.

Trump is dangerous hot air but he has his tone. Clinton is experienced hot air but she too has her tone. He can be a shouty specimen (blaring, caterwauling, droning, high-pitched, piercing, screamy, screechy, sharp, squawky, squeaky, yelpy, etc, etc) and she can be shrill (blaring, caterwauling, droning, high-pitched, piercing, screamy, screechy, sharp, squawky, squeaky, yelpy, etc, etc). It's what politicians do when talking to thousands of people. They have to project. They all shout. The shout can be at various pitches on the Richter scale. But they shout according to the strength of their own voice boxes.

If James Naughtie, in a live radio interview feels that Hillary Clinton can be shrill, then, in his op-ed way, he can say it, he should say it and that's that. Disagree if you will, if you must, but do not deny him the option to use any description he sees fit. What word should he have used to make the same point? I've helped you in the above brackets.

On a tangent and in a sexist moment, if you want great examples of shrill, turn on Fox News and other US news outlets and listen to female presenters and pundits. Some of them make your ears bleed. Others can outdo dog whistles.

Jim should not be sent to the Naughtie step for something so trivial.





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