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The wrong sort of inspiration

Have you ever heard or read a speech in real life or fiction that left you inspired, moved, exalted, perhaps even blinking back tears… only to remember a minute later that you fundamentally disagreed with every word?

18 comments to The wrong sort of inspiration

  • “Greed, for lack of a better word, is good”

    Rest of the movie was tosh. Zero sum game my arse. That was what I actually disagreed it.

  • “And the sign said, ‘Long-haired freaky people need not apply.'”

    Unfortunately, the rest of that song is a paean against private property.

  • Most, if not all of them. I’m a sucker for pathos – sue me.

  • Lee Moore

    I liked the song “Tomorrow Belongs to Me” in Cabaret. But I think you were supposed to. The old guy not joining in was particularly well done too.

  • Dom

    I’m not sure if this counts, but Danke Schoen by Wayne Newton always gets my toes tapping. I’m surprised everybody considers it the epitome of bad jingles.

  • Dave Walker

    Following Tony Benn’s death, his speeches were very widely praised – there’s a bunch of interviews on Radio 4 where numerous people said his speeches moved and inspired them, until they realised “hang on a minute, this guy’s advocating Communism”…

  • andrew porter

    Don’t forget Obarmy, classic stuff!

  • A presentation by Ralph Nader at the University of Colorado on auto safety. He had the students in tears. You just have to realize that as a plaintiffs lawyer he could give a speech at a campaign dinner that would have Col. Sanders crying over the deprived life and untimely death of the chicken cordon bleu he was eating for dinner.

  • PersonFromPorlock

    Sorry. I filter for content first, although I may award style points too.

  • Snorri Godhi

    In connection with Perry’s comment i’d like to digress on the meaning of “greed”.
    For me, “greed” is when people irrationally lose a lot of money (eg in a stockmarket or housing bubble) while trying to get rich quick. I don’t object, however, to the use of “greed” as a label for unethical, but effective, ways of getting rich.
    By contrast, it seems to me that, in Britain, “greed” defines ANY attempt to get rich, or even to earn a decent amount of money.
    Any thoughts about that?

  • Snag

    If you substitute ‘profit’ for ‘greed’ in that soliloquy, it’s wonderful.

    There were a slew of UK films (Billy Elliot, Brassed Off, Full Monty etc) to which I had strong political objections, but enjoyed nonetheless.

  • Paul Marks

    Sadly I am a bigoted old man Natalie.

    If I do not agree with something I am not inspired by it.

    The most skilled public speaker (or debater) leaves me utterly cold if I do not with what they are saying.

    Sadly this hits even my enjoyment of fiction – if I do not agree with the “message” I do not enjoy the performance.

    I am a grumpy cat.

  • Laird

    Kennedy’s “ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country” falls into this category for me.

  • The Laughing Cavalier


  • Lindsey Kidd

    “Imagine” by John Lennon. First time I heard it, I just sat there with my mouth open, thinking “What a beautiful song!” Only after it was over did I realize I did not agree with a word of it.

  • Zarba

    “American Idiot” by Green Day.

    But “Imagine” takes the Gold…

  • Tedd

    I feel that way about a lot of Bruce Cockburn’s songs. I guess I feel that way about a lot of pop music.

    But I also admire something that is well said, even when I disagree with what it says. I have a fairly large collection of quotes, and many of them I completely disagree with, but they’re in my collection because I admire something about how they’re said. A good example is from Ambrose Bierce: “”Corporation: an ingenious device for obtaining individual profit without individual responsibility.” Whatever you think about the limited-liability corporation, you have to admit that Bierce very effectively captured the sentiment that opposes it in just a few words.