Talking About Carly Talking

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A major, but frequently overlooked ingredient that contributed to the glamorous image of Hollywood’s greatest stars were their voices.

Under the studio system, actors were given rigorous voice training. They were taught to enunciate clearly, and how to emphasize certain words in order to give better line readings. They were drilled on how to breathe in order to speak their dialogue with confidence and ease.

Director Howard Hawks did not hesitate to make Lauren Bacall stand on a Malibu cliff and scream at the waves until her voice was raw and hoarse. He felt, correctly, that a deep, smoky voice on a female was, well, sexy.

Kim Novak's smoky voice was the key ingredient to her brilliant performance in Vertigo.

Kim Novak’s husky voice was the key ingredient to her brilliant performance in Vertigo.

Cary Grant’s unidentifiable British accent was his invention. Jimmy Stewart’s aw shucks diction cannot be duplicated. Clark Gable’s voice was like an oboe, irresistible to the public. When Garbo spoke in her first talkie, audiences thrilled at her raspy, sensual register. Bette Davis perfected a clipped, bitchy faux British accent. Carole Lombard, Barbara Stanwyck and Irene Dunne were all masters of delivering machine gun comedy dialogue with pear-shaped tones. In Vertigo, Hitchcock’s greatest film, Kim Novak’s smoky voice is the secret to her haunting performance.

If you study the B movies of the era, they all have one thing in common: the lead actors do not have memorable voices. The women’s tones are too high, and the men’s diction is flat and unremarkable.

Watching and listening to Republican candidate Carly Fiorina is something of a revelation.

She is, first of all, clear and direct when answering questions. I’ve chosen the interview with Bill O’Reilly because the clip demonstrates her superior rhetorical skills, and her appealing delivery, which verges at times on seductive.

Besides being a woman, it is her razor sharp diction and musical tone of voice that sets her apart from every other candidate in the Republican field.

In Hollywood lingo, Carly has glamour.

In the political arena, this translates into charisma. Carly is a candidate who can articulate a clear Conservative political message that will resonate with all Republicans. But even more crucially, her beautifully articulated ideas will, we believe, appeal to Independents, that segment of voters who, ultimately, decide elections in the modern era.

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13 Comments

  1. Kimosabbe
    Posted August 26, 2015 at 9:57 pm | Permalink

    Here’s the end of a Carly Fiorina speech at HP on September 26, 2001 (from the HP website):

    “I’ll end by telling a story.

    There was once a civilization that was the greatest in the world.

    It was able to create a continental super-state that stretched from ocean to ocean, and from northern climes to tropics and deserts. Within its dominion lived hundreds of millions of people, of different creeds and ethnic origins.

    One of its languages became the universal language of much of the world, the bridge between the peoples of a hundred lands. Its armies were made up of people of many nationalities, and its military protection allowed a degree of peace and prosperity that had never been known. The reach of this civilization’s commerce extended from Latin America to China, and everywhere in between.

    And this civilization was driven more than anything, by invention. Its architects designed buildings that defied gravity. Its mathematicians created the algebra and algorithms that would enable the building of computers, and the creation of encryption. Its doctors examined the human body, and found new cures for disease. Its astronomers looked into the heavens, named the stars, and paved the way for space travel and exploration.

    Its writers created thousands of stories. Stories of courage, romance and magic. Its poets wrote of love, when others before them were too steeped in fear to think of such things.

    When other nations were afraid of ideas, this civilization thrived on them, and kept them alive. When censors threatened to wipe out knowledge from past civilizations, this civilization kept the knowledge alive, and passed it on to others.

    While modern Western civilization shares many of these traits, the civilization I’m talking about was the Islamic world from the year 800 to 1600, which included the Ottoman Empire and the courts of Baghdad, Damascus and Cairo, and enlightened rulers like Suleiman the Magnificent.

    Although we are often unaware of our indebtedness to this other civilization, its gifts are very much a part of our heritage. The technology industry would not exist without the contributions of Arab mathematicians. Sufi poet-philosophers like Rumi challenged our notions of self and truth. Leaders like Suleiman contributed to our notions of tolerance and civic leadership.

    And perhaps we can learn a lesson from his example: It was leadership based on meritocracy, not inheritance. It was leadership that harnessed the full capabilities of a very diverse population–that included Christianity, Islamic, and Jewish traditions.

    This kind of enlightened leadership — leadership that nurtured culture, sustainability, diversity and courage — led to 800 years of invention and prosperity.

    In dark and serious times like this, we must affirm our commitment to building societies and institutions that aspire to this kind of greatness. More than ever, we must focus on the importance of leadership– bold acts of leadership and decidedly personal acts of leadership.

    With that, I’d like to open up the conversation and see what we, collectively, believe about the role of leadership.”

    And oh, by the way, I wonder if Carl Childers would like the way she talks? 🙂

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  2. kishke
    Posted August 20, 2015 at 9:53 pm | Permalink

    I wouldn’t pin my hopes on Fiorina. To me she comes across as a bit of an egghead, and I can’t see her firing people up. Also, she was not exactly a success at HP, and what has she done since then? Nothing very important that I can recall. [But on the other hand, our current president never did anything important ever, and still managed to get elected twice, so who knows?]

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  3. David Foster
    Posted August 20, 2015 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

    I have always been very attuned to tones of voice; I can remember clearly the voices of people who I haven’t seen or talked with for years and whose faces I can’t remember at all.

    I wonder how common this is, though

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  4. Miranda Rose Smith
    Posted August 20, 2015 at 3:37 am | Permalink

    If you study the B movies of the era, they all have one thing in common: the lead actors do not have memorable voices. The women’s tones are too high, and the men’s diction is flat and unremarkable.

    Many stars appeared in both A and B movies, Dana Andrews, for instance. He appeared in great movies, THE PURPLE HEART, LAURA, THE BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES, and he appeared in unpretentious, fun, little B movies, ZERO HOUR, NIGHT OF THE DEMON.

    The great character actors, of course, appeared in anything and everything. Peter Lorre appeared in M and CASABLANCA. He also appeared in STRANGER ON THE THIRD FLOOR. Look at the filmography of Ward Bond. Everything from GONE WITH THE WIND to HITLER, DEAD OR ALIVE.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  5. Bill Brandt
    Posted August 19, 2015 at 9:46 am | Permalink

    My neighbors have worked for HP for decades – and to them, Carly is the devil incarnate. She changed the culture of the company – the worst being buying Compaq Computer.

    When the board fired her I was told that mass emails began circulating around the company saying that the b**** has left the building.

    So when I hear them saying that they like her politically and she would at least be a great VP she has really made some inroads.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

    • Posted August 19, 2015 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

      What was the “culture” of the company before she changed it?
      I am genuinely interested.

      As a small contractor in NYC 35 years ago, I knew of other contractors and laborers that dealt with Trump projects. In their opinion The Donald is a thief; a liar; a narcissistic tyrant whose focus is solely, without exception, on building up his own fortune and ego. He has bankrupted many people from creditors to contractors to laborers.
      And, watching his celebrityhood over the years, my opinion of him has only worsened.

      So – tell me more about Carly if you can.
      Thank you.

      Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

      • Bill Brandt
        Posted August 19, 2015 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

        For decades HP was known as a big family – I remember reading a book of the X best well run companies (forget the number) and HP was one of them. It wasn’t unusual to even see Bill or Dave (as they were known, Bill Hewlett or Dave Packard) roaming the factories – lots of funny stories about them.

        Layoffs were almost unheard of.

        When Carly took over, many thousands were layed off while she got a new corporate jet. I was told she used to even take her hairdresser with her.

        The biggest criticism against her was her purchase of Compaq Computer. Here was a company on the ropes, and her idea was to become the biggest PC manufacturer in the country (which they became).

        Suddenly HP people are being layed off in droves while Compaq people are now getting promotions.

        The acquisition of Compaq drove a big schism in the HP BoD to the point that the last member of the family, Walter Hewlett, quit.

        A wag said that instead of making HP “lean and mean” Compaq gave them a beer gut.

        In Carly’s defense though I will say that the last 15 years have been hard on all technology companies.

        15 or 20 years ago, the 2nd largest computer company was Digital Equipment – known as DEC. They were right below IBM (maybe a distant second, but still second – HP was third)

        Today they are gone. Ken Olson, the founder, was unable to change with the times and the computer they pioneered (Bill Gates even learned programming on one) was no longer in demand as microcomputers got more & more powerful.

        IBM, known for their mainframes was the gold standard for years (nobody ever got fired for picking IBM equipment) today makes more and more of their money from services.

        It’s a different world, and Carly did her best to steer HP towards that change.

        She just made a lot of HP people bitter, and for my neighbor who worked for HP for decades (still does) to admit she is a good candidate perhaps says how good Carly is.

        HP has always been known as being “engineering driven”. We had an HP 3000 computer for years – fantastic machines.

        Robert might be interested to know that HP’s very first product, an audio oscillator, was bought by Walt Disney in his making of Fantasia.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

      • Bill Brandt
        Posted August 20, 2015 at 12:03 am | Permalink

        That is interesting what you say about Trump – I have always felt that his material tastes run a bit gawdy (combined with the “look what I have” schtick – gold plated what-nots – but he is the only one to be talking about what so many want to hear.

        The middle class is slowly being decimated through both cheap labor vis-a-vis illegal immigration (both party insiders want it for different reasons) and out-sourcing. Trump seems to be the only one addressing this.

        For those who listen to Tom Sullivan he had an interesting segment a few days ago – the reasons for the popularity of both Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump.

        People of all political strips are sick & tired of business as usual and Washington politicians.

        All (well, most) developers seem to be highly leveraged and boom-or-bust. They are known for stringing their vendors out – Trump is not alone. He’s certainly not a perfect candidate.

        Getting back to Carly – a great speaker, coming up from a secretary – if she can get to the upper tier of this Republican traveling circus she will be formidable.

        Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  6. Posted August 19, 2015 at 8:47 am | Permalink

    Indeed. Carly is the one to out Trump Trump.
    Clear, concise, conservative, Republican, rhetoric should be able to put a stop to Trump’s bombastic self love.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

    • pkoning
      Posted August 20, 2015 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

      Unlike Trump, who is no more republican than Mussolini (who he closely resembles many ways).

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

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