Held at Gunpoint

After reading Amanda Daniels’ post on acceptance speeches, I challenged myself to find other examples of new genres of speeches that we have not discussed in our class. I feel that the (group) speech at the end of The Boondock Saints is a type of speech we have not explored: a speech of warning.

When we are little, we are told not to stick our fingers in the electrical sockets, not to eat all the marshmallows off the top of the sweet potatoes at Thanksgiving, and not to go out in the cold without your coat on. Even though we might want to do things on our own and figure out how to do things for ourselves, we still listen to our parents anyways. Why? Because of the tone in which we are spoken to; the firm warning, the harsh language, the yelling of the word “NO!”

This clip from The Boondock Saints takes these ideas and puts them to the extreme. The characters Murphy and Connor hold their captives at gunpoint and administer a stern warning, the core of the argument being “do not kill, do not rape, do not steal.” They administer their joint warning effectively by the use of strong presence (and it also doesn’t hurt that they have two guns in each hand).

I think that this speech is not only worded extremely well, but it is delivered in a way that intimidates the audience into carrying out Connor’s and Murphy’s requests. Alternating dialogue perhaps was a director/writer’s choice for the film, but I think that the double-teaming works well on the audience. When two people are yelling at you, it is almost impossible to fight back.

This speech of warning from The Boondock Saints is an example of another kind of speech that we have not discussed in class, but that I think is interesting to analyze. In this case, I think that the delivery of the speech is just as important (if not more important) than the words themselves.

~Molly Coyne



1 comment so far

  1. johnsokb on

    I really like the fact that blogger, Molly Coyne, took it upon herself to think out of the box. The post was definitely different from the traditional way of publicly addressing an audience. Although, the characters were nicely dressed in suits, they was not seen to be standing behind podiums, talking into a microphone, or following the restrictions of voice tone when delivering a message; basically all the things we learned about in class.

    This clip is an example of public address that would definitely be looked down upon by public address professors, law enforcement, and the government. There is so much hate and evil doing in the world, therefore, is the way they decide to execute their message justified (not including the fact that they kill the guy at the end of the scene)? Should an individual smile as the audience clap to greet them on to the stage, stand behind a podium while in their nicely pressed suit, and warn everyone not to kill, rape, or steal? But then I guess my next question is based on the effectiveness of the speech. Could fear help an individual to receive a message better or work as a barrier?

    I wish in class, we could have discussed the speeches that did not take on the traditional route such as this clip. I know in class we had discussions based on speeches that has been “rewarded” as the best speeches of all time, but what about others such as the address shown above? Or perhaps apologetic speeches that happens in the court room everyday.

    -Katelyn Johnson

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