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08/12/2010 / Lynn Rabbitts

Review of the MARG’S Speech Genres

Neil Young, after hearing Nirvana for the first time, immediately went to his garage and played through the entire night because their music kicked his [butt] so much. Young didn’t do this in a competitive spirit—he felt the need to carry on.

It’s inspiring when it happens. It catches you off-guard, making you want to try everything a little harder, sharper, better.

I’m speaking, of course, about the MARG’S presentation on Speech Genres. Specifically, the grace and care they breathed into the subject, transforming an otherwise dry subject in the book and offering it up clean, cut, to the point.

Dissenters will immediately voice their opinion the MARG’S played to my heartstrings with Orson Well’s version of ‘War of the Worlds’. I will blush on this account, and try to look away, but contextually the Well’s performance was:

•    Incredibly well done

•    Scared and screwed with an entire nation

•    Holds up over time

The MARG’S were able to take all three of those aspects and not bend them to their wills, but perfectly fit the notion of speech genres over the top of them.

As they explained, the power of Orson Well’s voice and the different actors, using their voices to both capture the characters they were playing and in doing so, brought the audience along with them for the ride.

The MARG’S used the media of radio, the main form of immediate news dissemination in 1938, to illustrate their point while taking a swipe at the jealous media of newspapers who were still trying to drag themselves out of yellow journalism: fake war with Mars is bad; creating an actual war with Spain is okay.

This brought the notion of speech genre’s to life far better than the book. It’s horribly exciting.


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