January 4, 2016

It's Spokaoke — spoken-word Karaoke.

"The burly fellow in the gray T-shirt and red-and-white-striped suspenders is absolutely killing Patton’s speech to the Third Army."
“We’re not going to just shoot the sons of bitches,” he yells, waving his arms like a maniac as beads of sweat form on his forehead. “We’re going to rip out their living goddamned guts and use them to grease the treads of our tanks. We’re going to murder those lousy Hun cocksuckers by the bushel-fucking-basket!”...

“There’s something about the embodiment of performing [these speeches] for a group,” says [Spokaoke creator Annie] Dorsen as she sips white wine at a table next to the stage. “It has a certain kind of immediacy. You get a kind of feeling of what it would be like to actually be the intended audience. That becomes really powerful.... I think a lot of people get up there and are surprised that the speech works them as opposed to them working the speech... One guy in New York, he got physically ill after reciting Joseph Goebbels’s ‘Total War’ speech. It’s an uncomfortable thing to speak words you don’t believe.”
I absolutely love this idea. What speech would you do?


Cornroaster said...

Patrick Henry - "I know not what course other may take, but as for me, give me liberty or give me death."

Cornroaster said...

Patrick Henry - I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty or give me death."

The Bear said...


The last speech of John Brown - Abolitionist.

rwnutjob said...

Charleston Heston at NRA meeting.
Long version.


Meade said...

I don't know but I would conclude my speech by telling them that I was done with politics and speeches for the present, and they might all go to hell, and I would go to Spokane.

Curious George said...

I would do the Lou Gehrig Farewell Speech at Yankee Stadium...echoes and all.

holdfast said...

Reagan - A Time For Choosing.


glenn said...

Winston Churchill's "Finest Hour"

fivewheels said...

"On this team, we fight for that inch. On this team, we tear ourselves and everyone else around us to pieces for that inch. We claw with our fingernails for that inch, because we know when we add up all those inches that’s gonna make the fucking difference between winning and losing! Between living and dying!"

Gahrie said...

Otter's speech to the discipline panel from Animal House.

lgv said...

Robert Duval - Apocalypse Now

R. Lee Ermey - Full Metal Jacket, riffing on Private "Pyle"

Alec Baldwin - Glengarry Glen Ross

None are actual speeches. How about one of those all day Castro speeches? Kidding. I would probably choose a Nigel Farage address. That would be fun.

Ann Althouse said...

I would like to perform something that I didn't agree with, that the audience knows is wrong, and that is evil or stupid of disastrous in some way. But not Nazi propaganda or anything that's for a cause that we can't play at entertaining. Something where you could get into the wrongness of it. I can only think of Shakespeare monologues... tragic figures...

campy said...

Any of Barack Obama's Greatest Speeches Of All Time.

Gahrie said...

I would like to perform something that I didn't agree with, that the audience knows is wrong, and that is evil or stupid of disastrous in some way.

Chamberlain's "Peace in Our Times"?

Carter's "Malaise"

An interesting choice would be some of Lincoln's speeches from the Lincoln-Douglas debates. They certainly shock my students when we read them together.

jr565 said...

I don't really care for this. Karaoke is bad enough. But now spoken word karaoke? It feels like you are auditioning for a part.
if you pick something obscure how does the crowd even know if you got it right.

Four score and seven years ago, our nation (oh shit, I don't remember it) our father brough forth a new nation, indivisible and under god dedicated to the proposition that ALL men are created equal and judged on the content of their character and not the color of their skin.
Than longen folken to go on pilgrimages.
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.
Wehter its nobler in the mind to bear arms against a sea of trouble, or to be or not to be. I think therefore I am, that is the question

Thank you. Thank you.

Unknown said...

Jonathan Edward's "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God".

Bob Ellison said...

Jimmy Carter's "crisis of confidence" (known as the "malaise" speech) would be a challenge. Especially the Georgian accent. Maybe do it in a Slavic accent!

Guildofcannonballs said...

"The stated reasons to "vote no" include:

BECAUSE 90% of the women either do not want it, or do not care.

BECAUSE it means competition of women with men instead of co-operation.

BECAUSE 80% of the women eligible to vote are married and can only double or annul their husband's votes.

BECAUSE it can be of no benefit commensurate with the additional expense involved.

BECAUSE in some States more voting women than voting men will place the Government under petticoat rule.

BECAUSE it is unwise to risk the good we already have for the evil which may occur.

"You do not need a ballot to clean out your sink spout" and "There is...no method known by which mud-stained reputation may be cleaned after bitter political campaigns."


mccullough said...

Allen Iverson's practice soliloquy.

samanthasmom said...

JFK's speech at Rice University challenging us to go to the moon. "We choose to go to the Moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard; because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one we intend to win." I used to assign my students an essay to write about something they did because it was hard. I got a lot of insignificant things written about, but every year there was a least one kid who wrote something that made me sit up and take notice.

Bob R said...

There was a guy on my high school football team who would stand in his jock strap and recite the Patton speech. We weren't that good at football, but we had a good time.

I love all of the choices above. I haven't seen a bad one. I'd love to do St. Crispin's Day from Henry V.

Bob R said...

Network - "I'm as mad as Hell..."

gilbar said...

Bill Murray's; "It Just doesn't matter" speech from that movie where he was Chris Makepeace's sidekick. It fits into AA's idea of performing something that I don't agree with, that the audience knows is wrong, and that is evil.
It kinda goes short; 'cause it's not stupid or disastrous in some way. But you COULD get into the wrongness of it.

Paul Snively said...

"For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."

I so wish I could have heard Paul thunder this in a Roman church, or, I suppose, seen the inkblots as he pressed the point onto parchment. John 3:16 may be the Gospel in a nutshell, but Romans 8:38-39 is the afterlifetime guarantee.

The Godfather said...

"Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow, creeps in this petty pace . . . ." I never played the role (when I was 13 I played one of the witches in the Scottish Play), but for some reason I still remember it, word for word.

Michael in ArchDen said...

How about something from our political past that we would now recognize as obviously wrong, yet not uniformly see as evil? Maybe one of Lindberg's speech's arguing for neutrality, or a Margaret Sanger speech in favor of eugenics? Maybe the "Cross of Gold" speech from William Jennings Bryant...

Wilbur said...

I like Churchill. No shouting, just enunciating the supremely well-chosen words with sincerity.

An wise man told me once "When you're called upon to give a speech, be short, be sincere, and be seated."

Curious George said...

Kings' "I have a Dream". When I was done I would say, "Now in Espanol!"

Captain Ned said...


As long as I can do Bluto's "Germans bombed Pearl Harbor" speech.

Hammond X. Gritzkofe said...

St. Crispin's Day


Ann Althouse said...


Yes. That's what I mean.

Crimso said...

I'll wait for Mimaoke-mime karaoke.

Sebastian said...

"I would like to perform something that I didn't agree with, that the audience knows is wrong, and that is evil or stupid of disastrous in some way"

Anything by Fidel (in translation). Ahmadinejad at the UN. A sermon from the collected works of the Rev. Wright.

Virgil Hilts said...

John Galt's radio speech from Atlas Shrugged! T h e e n t i r e t h i n g.

Virgil Hilts said...

The supercomputer AM's rant about how much it hates humanity from "I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream" would be a good short one. And tricky, because you would have to sound like a really, really, really, really angry computer.

William said...

I'd like to do one of Bill Cosby's monologues, but I'd wear a black leather outfit and laugh inappropriately in the wrong places.

Mark said...

When visiting the Lincoln Memorial with my 7 year old a month ago, I read her both speeches on the wall in the monument ... Gettysburg and the 2nd Inaugural.

It was very profound to read to her Gettysburg, was one of the more powerful moments of the trip. The second inaugural has great moments, but isn't as dense and powerful as Gettysburg and where kiddos attention never wavered.

I would chose something else on a stage, but this article strikes a chord because of the recent experience.

I would be lilely to go for some rabble rousing speech of Jinnah or another from Indian Independence.

traditionalguy said...

We few, we happy few, we band of brothers. For he today that sheds his blood with me shall be my brother... from Wil Shakespeare's Henry V, done just the way Kenneth Branagh did it.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Marcius' banishment speech Coriolanus

Dido's Curse - Aeneid

Some part of Cicero's Cataline orations

Bay Area Guy said...

Reagan's D- Day memorial speech -- the Boys of Point Du Hoc


'TreHammer said...

Spokaoke...how is this word pronounced?

'TreHammer said...

spokaoke...how is this word pronounced?

bwebster said...

Uh, this is called 'oral interpretation' and it's been a staple on high school and college speech teams for decades. I did oral interp myself for my high school speech team my senior year, though I used three poems rather than prose.

Titus said...

So I deleted grindr but kept 5 hookups-we now text by phone rather via Grindr-here are their resumes:

Adi-1/2 Indian 1/2 Spanish, from London-Harvard UG 2017 CS
Omar-Beirut-he is now 4500 miles away because he in break and gets back 1/20-same with Adi. Harvard Phd in something. Beirut is the best muzzie place for fags
Ken-he lives in Dorchester, but works at Harvard.
Trinidad-he fuels planes at Logan and smells like gasoline-so hot.
Every Sunday-some tatted latin who is dl.

They are all dark like the peeps in Trump's ads. I love exotic dark guys.

White guys bore me sexually.


Laslo Spatula said...

"I would like to perform something that I didn't agree with, that the audience knows is wrong, and that is evil or stupid of disastrous in some way. But not Nazi propaganda or anything that's for a cause that we can't play at entertaining. Something where you could get into the wrongness of it."

I strongly agree with this statement, except for the "But not Nazi propaganda or anything that's for a cause that we can't play at entertaining."

Doesn't "something that I didn't agree with, that the audience knows is wrong, and that is evil or stupid of disastrous" contradict with "anything that's for a cause that we can't play at entertaining."? Evil is off-limits to mockery, depending on just how evil it is?

Not trying to rehash old stuff, but: "I would like to perform something that I didn't agree with, that the audience knows is wrong, and that is evil or stupid of disastrous in some way" is EXACTLY what I was doing here..

I see where "anything that's for a cause that we can't play at entertaining" is a response, but I do not see it as valid in consideration of your first statement: I see it as Fear of the opinions of others Who Might Misunderstand.

I trust the majority of the Althouse Audience to know what they find Wrong, and I trust that some may tight-rope on the line. Some may fall off completely.

I flip coins for a living.

I am Laslo.

Unknown said...

Lincoln's Cooper Union speech.

Abe may have been a hick, but he was a better speechwriter than almost anyone, including our current narcissist in chief.

Laslo Spatula said...

As far as real speeches go, I would have to lead with Martin Luther KIng Jr.'s fiery pronouncement:

"As God is my witness, as God is my witness, they're not going to lick me! I'm going to live through this, and when it's all over, I'll never be hungry again - no, nor any of my folks! If I have to lie, steal, cheat, or kill, as God is my witness, I'll never be hungry again."

I am Laslo.

Theranter said...

I think it's a great idea! Off the top of my head, I'd choose one of these:

1.Henry V, Act III Scene 1 (Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more;)

2. Martin Luther King "Street Sweeper" Speech (same advice my parents gave me.)

3. Grew up loving Muhammad Ali. This "speech" of his motivated me each time on my way to chemo as I'd "Spokakoke" on the way over so loud people in the car next to me could hear!
Been choppin' trees
I done something new for this fight ...
I've wrassled with an alligator...that's right !
I done wrassled with an alligator
I done tussled with a whale
I done handcuffed lightnin', throwed thunder in jail!
That's bad...
Only last week I murdered a rock,
Injured a stone,
Hospitalized a brick.
I'm so mean I make medicine sick!

Last night I cut the light off in my bedroom, hit the switch, was in the bed before the room was dark!


And you, George Foreman-
All of you chumps are gonna bow, when I whoop him.
All of ya!
I know you got him, I know you got him picked...But the man's in trouble .

I'mma show YOU how GREAT I AM !"

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Laslo Spatula said...

How about the Romantic Words of Robert C. Byrd, (Democratic) Senator?

I am a typical American, a southerner, and 27 years of age, and never in this world will I be convinced that race mixing in any field is good. All the social ‘do-gooders,’ the philanthropic ‘greats’ of this day, the reds and the pinks…the disciples of Eleanor…the pleas by Sinatra…can never alter my convictions on this question. I am loyal to my country and I know but reverence to her flag. BUT I shall never submit to fight beneath that banner with a negro by my side… Rather I should die a thousand times, and see Old Glory trampled in the dirt never to rise again, than to see this beloved land of ours become degraded by race mongrels, a throwback to the blackest specimen from the wilds.

I think he blogged that.

I am Laslo.

Bill said...

Khrushchev's "Secret Speech" of 1956.

The Gold Digger said...

JFK's speech at Rice University challenging us to go to the moon

You forgot the part where he asked, "Why does Rice play Texas?" a question almost as unfathomable, given the relative football abilities of the two schools, as the idea of going to the moon.


A Rice (and a Texas) alum who has never seen Rice beat UT

Jim said...

I have always enjoyed Nelson Mandela's 1994 Inaugural Speech "Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. 
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. 
We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be? 
You are a child of God
Your playing small doesn't serve the world. 
There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you.
We are all meant to shine, as children do. 
We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. 
It's not just in some of us, it's in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine, 
we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we're liberated from our own fear, 
our presence automatically liberates others."

chickelit said...

I did something akin to this by reciting Althouse and Althouse commenters a while back. I called it "chirbitizing". I'd voice the original text in a more or less famous voice. Here's betamax3000 as Rod Serling. The original text is here. Nearly every chirbit was based on original comment. I also did Althouse as a pedantic scold, Meade as W.S. Burroughs, Titus as Paul Lynde, Rhythm and Balls as W. F. Buckley, and NotquiteunBuckley as Foster Brooks, to name but a few.

Fun times!

Patrick said...

The speech Herb Brooks have just before the US defeated the Soviets in 1980. Or the more concise speech he gave to the team just before the third period of the Gold Medal game against Finland. "You lose this, you'll take it to your fucking graves."

Sam's Hideout said...

I wonder why this has this new name, considering many speeches are already read from teleprompters.

The first thing that came to mind for a speech that you (likely) would disagree with and most would agree would be wrong and perhaps evil, was "Carthago delenda est" but since Cato the Elder reportedly added that at the end of most of his speeches, I had to pick one.

So how about: In Support of the Oppian Law (which placed a number of restrictions on women).

Static Ping said...

As long as I can end it with "Carthago delenda est", anything will do.

Michael said...

Enoch Powell's "Rivers of blood" speech. Reaching across the decades I would offer the speech as an apology to him who was so prescient. He saw it coming. He warned us. He was reviled for it as truth tellers often, or always, are.

tpceltus said...

A lot of good ideas here, but isn't this concept just a variation of old-fashioned elocution?

Smilin' Jack said...

Jonathan Edward's "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God".

Yeah. But maybe some of today's mullahs can top it. Maybe we'll find out.

Ken B said...

Interesting no-one mentions the Gettysburg Address. It's maybe the greatest speech ever, but I wouldn't attempt it either.

I'd want something real, but with calm cold anger, which I think I could pull off. Giordano Bruno to the inquisition perhaps. Mark Antony's speech from Shakespeare, if only it were real would be perfect. Or Thomas More's denunciation of his trial --that's the ticket.

Mark said...

I used to assign my students an essay to write about something they did because it was hard

I remember the time when I was asked to write one of those "what did you do" essays, and the response was basically, "none of your damn business is what I did."

Charles said...

Only two folks have cited Henry V's St. Crispin's oration.

I guess I shouldn't be surprised, but I am.

Churchill's "We shall fight on the beaches" would be another good choice.

I denounce myself for my choices of the words of dead white men.

Titus said...

So I just had a horrible experience. I had to take the rare clumber out for last call. I entered the building to some asian guy bitching at Carleton the doorman to call someone in the building. Carleton wasn't letting him in because my neighbor was in Ibiza and his brother was feeding his pussy cat. Carleton would only let the asian in if he was accompanied by someone from the unit so the elevator arrived with my neighbor's brother. My neighbor is exclusive realtor to all MIT Profs and asians buying real estate full price in the area. He drives a porsche suv and looks gay but is a straight fag. He is a local Cambridgian who actually became successful and he wants everyone to know he is.

The horrible part was riding up to the Penthouse with the asians. My neighbor's brother said to the other asian, there were 3 doms when I started taking care of pussy and now there are only 2 doms, do u know u drank the third dom? I wanted to puke.

The brother and the guest had funky haircuts dyed and skinny jeans.

This is the type of drama u flyovers never have to experience.

The neighbor before the asian was MIT expert Tobias Harris who writes about Japanese politics and blogs observing Japan.

Sometimes it can be hard being fab. I live in a Penthouse loft in Cambridge which I abs love but it isn't easy. The MIT prof below me is another straight queen and a bitch.

This is my hood!

Quaestor said...

Winstons Churchill's speech in the House of Commons, 5th of October 1938, on the subject of Mr. Chamberlain's peace of paper (the concluding paragraph):

I do not grudge our loyal, brave people, who were ready to do their duty no matter what the cost, who never flinched under the strain of last week - I do not grudge them the natural, spontaneous outburst of joy and relief when they learned that the hard ordeal would no longer be required of them at the moment; but they should know the truth. They should know that there has been gross neglect and deficiency in our defences; they should know that we have sustained a defeat without a war, the consequences of which will travel far with us along our road; they should know that we have passed an awful milestone in our history, when the whole equilibrium of Europe has been deranged, and that the terrible words have for the time being been pronounced against the Western democracies:

"Thou art weighed in the balance and found wanting."

And do not suppose that this is the end. This is only the beginning of the reckoning. This is only the first sip, the first foretaste of a bitter cup which will be proffered to us year by year unless by a supreme recovery of moral health and martial vigour, we arise again and take our stand for freedom as in the olden time.

epador said...

Obama's Resignation Speech.

Quaestor said...

This reminds me of a talent show my middle school held when I was an eighth grader. I had not entered, nor had I anything prepared or rehearsed, yet on the morning of the contest my homeroom teacher asked me to do something to round out the assembly hour that had been scheduled but not filled. I agreed provided I could read something rather than recite from memory.

Most of the show was what you'd might expect. Piano students performing Mozart and Brahms, 13-year-old death metal rockers with their amps up to 11, modern dance... Little Quaestor read from Julius Caesar - Act III, scene ii, Anthony's funeral oration, with some brief introductory remarks I wrote that morning.

Skeptical Voter said...

Well speakers have become a bunch of lazy b@#tards with the advent of the teleprompter. I have a friend, now deceased, who was born in the late 1920's. Children were expected to memorize great speeches. When he was in his early 70's he gave a rousing rendition of Chief Joseph's "I will fight no more forever" to an enthralled audience of 200 or so.

Of course for the lazy among us, you could memorize U.S. Grant's words to W. T. Sherman on the evening after the first day of Shiloh. "Didn't get them today. Will get them tomorrow."

As for Churchill's great speeches; they were written out beforehand--went through multiple drafts, and were memorized. Our Lightworker is too busy to undertake that task. If you won't do the work, your speeches will fall flat. The only improvement in 7 years of Obama's public speaking is that he now uses two teleprompters rather than just one--so his head moves as he swivels from one teleprompter to the other.

Quaestor said...

Yes, chickelit, I recall you having enormous fun at Quaestor's expense over such commonplace locutions as dickie bird and titular.

I also recall going Dark Side on you ass, rhetorically speaking.

Brian McKim & Traci Skene said...

As long as no one does Joke-aoke. It was a real thing once. It still rears its ugly head on occasion. Intellectual property rights? Never heard of 'em.

Tari said...

Portia's speech on mercy from The Merchant of Venice, or just about any of the others mentioned above. Incongruous as it might be, I'd like to do the Herb Brooks speech that Patrick mentioned. Brooks made that speech in my hometown, so I'm probably biased.

My 7th grader's school does this on a regular basis - mostly with poetry. Every boy has at least one poem ready to go if called upon, and they compete with one another on festival days. Usually mass and poetry in the morning, then a feast, then games of skill and strength in the afternoon. It's amazing how much poetry a boy can recite when girls aren't listening, and they know a good meal and capture the flag are coming soon.

Laura said...

There's a piece of "The Drum Goes Dead" by Bess Streeter Aldrich that was fun when used to tweak the resident drummer, and Willa Cather expressed a similar idea in "The Professor's House": "When a man had lovely children in his house, fragrant and happy, full of pretty fancies and generous impulses, why couldn't he keep them? Was there no way but Medea's, he wondered?"

To help combat the holiday and winter blahs.

Nichevo said...

As Laslo could explain, the proper spelling is "spokkake" or "spukkake". Also "spookakke" (the -ge is silent).

dgstock said...

A fake Chinese spiel, pace William Burroughs, good enough to precipitate an anti-Caucasian riot.

Lonetown said...

Cool idea. Does it correct your mistakes? I would like to try Dylan Thomas' Do Not Go Gentle. there is only 2 peiople in the world who can do that justice.

Lonetown said...

perhaps if my grammar was better it would be easier.