Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Ask not what your country can do for you...

Two speechwriters look for the quote…

Ted: This is where he says it. 12 minutes 30 seconds into the 13 minute 40 speech. 

JFK: “And so, my fellow Americans - ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.”*

Arthur: Good phrasing. Might call it an unrhyming couplet. Did he make it up himself?

Ted: Borrowed and cobbled, more like. Meaning is pretty clear. Substitute “country” for “planet”, “community” or family”.

Arthur: Or even “company”. Could be a job interview. Like, “What can you do for us?”
Implicit also in JFK’s 1961 inaugural speech is that we should try to give more than we take, that when you give, you also receive. The adult persuades, the child demands.


No comments: