Now that George Bush is out shilling for his “memoir,” it’s a good time to look again at Stephen Colbert’s keynote speech with Bush in attendance at the 2006 White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner.
Colbert was said by the rightward portion of the punditocracy to have “bombed” — and the increasingly stunned silence of the audience seems to confirm that. But it’s pretty clear in retrospect that he got it right. (For example, this is where he introduced the phrase “Reality has a well-known liberal bias” into common parlance.) The speech is scathingly funny and is a gutsy instance of speaking truth to power in the presence of a press corps that is supposed to do so, but doesn’t.
In any event, Colbert’s appearance so shook things up that the next year the keynote speaker was Rich Little. Rich Little. The comedic equivalent of white bread and tap water.
The only known photo of Lincoln after giving the Gettysburg address. The speech was so brief that it caught the photographer unawares.
On this date in 1863 Abraham Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address.
Frye in The Educated Imagination:
I often think of a passage in Lincoln’s Gettysburg address: “The world will little note nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here.” The Gettysburg address is a great poem, and poets have been saying ever since Homer’s time that they were just following after the great deeds of the heroes, and that it was the deeds which were important and not what they said about them. So it was right, in a way, it was traditional, and tradition is very important in literature, for Lincoln to say what he did. And yet it really isn’t true. Nobody can remember the names and dates of battles unless they make some appeal to the imagination: that is, unless there is some literary reason for doing so. Everything that happens in time vanishes in time: it’s only the imagination that, like Proust, whom I quoted earlier, can see men as “giants in time.” (CW 21, 482)