A 6,700 word speech? Seriously?

If my voice sounds muffled, it’s because I’m writing you from a tunnel.

From the carpal tunnel.

The carpal tunnel caused by American speeches, which are usually 2,000 words too long. Right now I’m editing a speech that’s 6,700 words long. (That’s about 40,000 characters, the equivalent of sending an audience 285 consecutive tweets.)

“In closing,” the speaker says—and then goes on for another 1,200! That’s known in these parts as a “New Jersey goodbye.”

I’m going to say it straight out, I’m not going to hedge my bets, and I’m going to challenge anyone to tell me I’m wrong about this: In the modern age—and by the modern age, I’m not talking about Facebook, I’m talking about radio—there is absolutely no call to deliver any speech over 20 minutes, which is 3,400 words, even if a speaker talks fast.

You got anything more to say than that, write a book, so we can go to the bathroom in between the startling insights.

How is it possible that anyone, anywhere, has the temerity to deliver, or the timidity to tolerate, one person saying 6,700 words in a row without pausing to hear some backtalk?

You tell me. Because I’ll be damned if I know. —DM

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