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  • Interesting Data

    Posted by David Foster on January 25th, 2012 (All posts by )

    A Flesch-Kinkaid analysis of State of the Union addresses says that Obama’s speech last night was at a grade level of 8.4. By comparison, JFK’s inaugural was at a level of 12.0, Richard Nixon was 11.5, George H W Bush was 8.6, and George W Bush was 10.4.


    11 Responses to “Interesting Data”

    1. James Bennett Says:

      How about running a Voight-Kampff test to determine whether he’s a replicant?

    2. tyouth Says:

      This guy was a constitutional lawyer at the U of C? I still believe that you have to be half a moron or half crazy to be a collectivist.

    3. Jonathan Says:

      I still believe that you have to be half a moron or half crazy to be a collectivist.

      Which half do you think we are dealing with here?

    4. Robert Schwartz Says:

      I assume that his speech writers worked very hard to dumb the speech down to the middle school level. They are not going to fool anyone with half a brain at this point, so they have to go after the votes of complete morons.

    5. Carl Ortona Says:

      Actually, the comments at the site (A Flesch-Kinkaid analysis of State of the Union addresses)
      raise some interesting questions … not so much regarding the content of the speech (ugghh) but the measure of what passes for ‘edumacated speechifying’ (sorry for that simpsons reference)… liked the reference to Grant’s crisp prose especially (at the site’s comment section)… a good link

    6. David Foster Says:

      Robert Avrech has some thoughts inspired by Obama’s SOTU speech.

    7. tyouth Says:

      Jon, I think it’s half crazy since, in his formative years, he was indoctrinated by leftists and found succor from them in his professional life. He probably knows better now (surely he’s not ignorant of what ways of living have brought what success we have as a society up to this point in time) but he’s found success in the Alinsky-JesseJacksonism way of operating and won’t change although he should feel a lot of remorse about now and henceforth if I’m right.

    8. Vader Says:

      Robert Schwarz is right. Politically, it makes a lot of sense to keep the speech at an eighth-grade level.

      Now, if you can combine eighth-grade diction and grammar with first-rate ideas, you’ve got political genius of Churchillian magnitude. If your eighth-grade diction and grammar reflect eighth-grade ideas, you’ve got Obama.

    9. Nicholas Says:

      I’m going to play Devil’s Advocate here (and I’m not talking about the pinball game…).

      As a professional writer, I am encouraged to write short sentences in short paragraphs. Simplifying language increases comprehension even with an intelligent and well-educated audience. I often find myself writing long sentences only to split them in the middle, to make it easier to follow.

      This is not because I assume my audience is dumb. They aren’t. It’s just that there’s no reason to make something harder to read than it needs to be (or, for that matter, longer than it needs to be).

    10. Percy Dovetonsils Says:

      +1 to Nicholas for the Simpsons reference. Obama’s speeches could only be helped by more Simpsons references. Like this one:

      Lisa: Grandpa, weren’t you suspicious about why you started getting checks in the mail for no reason?

      Grandpa: I just figured it was because the Dimmycrats were back in office…

    11. Mike Says:

      He WAS speaking to Leftists, after all. Gotta keep it simple!