BBC News 5 March 2016: ‘Turkey’s biggest newspaper, Zaman, has condemned its takeover by the authorities in a defiant last edition published just before police raided it.’
Cocaine? Line of white…helmets snaking across the foyer of the publishing house, copying by chance the curved balcony of the floor above, thronged with journalists, modernists.
Only for a nano-sec, sickened journos look down on the white line of primitives looming up at them.
Under attack from the state – these innocent men, embarrassed by naked power.
Younger than the old West, men in suits, no ties, bound to ideals; dressed to go argue, drink coffee with John Stuart Mill and Jean-Paul Sartre.
How quaint is their personification of progress.
Outside: shaft of watery light canons into crowd of protesters.
Splits the people like an axe.
Retreat: clustering like cattle, women in frumpy coats and floral silk headscarves; bovine and Bette Davis, both.
Runaways listing like penitents burdened with sin. Under the eyes soft skin itching until teardrops explode.
Please accept my apologies for such an undisciplined description – it’s the teargas talking.
Doffs his gasmask, offs his helmet, riot police leans in like a courtier to the stricken lady looking up at him.
Pain in her face in place of petticoats and pleasantries.
Seated at the conference table, flanked by guy-in-a-bow-tie (hey, buddy, the sign says ‘White House’, not ‘Barber Shop’) and baby-faced-woman with Lady-Exec hairstyle, the President is a picture of panache: Barack Obama, who doesn’t have to try….too hard.
Apparently effortlessly, he is establishing the likelihood of American air strikes against the Assad regime. Of course there are cracks to be covered, not least the anomaly of stopping to explain the effectiveness of imminent military action. Which can only have the effect of making it less than imminent, thereby reducing its effectiveness. But the way he speaks effectively conceals such flaws.
This presentation is a sit-down, low-key affair; cadences are reduced accordingly. The rhythm’s the thing. It is audible throughout the President’s remarks. We can hear it, for example, in his enunciation of the following four words:
‘The kind of attack’.
Here they are broken down to show the underlying rhythm:
The Kind-of-a Ttack. Daa da-di-da daa.
In 4/4 time, beginning on the fourth beat of the bar: Crotchet, Triplet, Crotchet, Rest.
Again: The (Crotchet)/ Kind-of-A (Triplet)/ Ttack (Crotchet)/ Rest (Crotchet).
Thus Obama’s phrase ‘the kind of attack’ is couched in rhythmic form. His words acquire their sonority from the rhythm in which they are couched. If certain phrases resonate with the public, it is because they are formulated as rhythm; because they are composed of rhythm between words as much as the words themselves.
It so happens that the phrase used above to describe Obama’s way of speaking, is similarly comprised of the exact same rhythm: ‘the rhythm’s the thing’; Daa da-di-da daa.
But the thing about rhythm is its combination of exactitude and variation. Obama’s speech pattern is four beats to the bar. Precisely. But it also sounds something like but not quite the same as the speech of previous Rhythm Kings such as Martin Luther Jnr. Who patterned the democratic aspirations of the day, who formulated the degrading experience of many into one uplifting note, so that Obama could echo that sound and evoke its democratic content 50 years later.