Congressional Testimony as Literary Genre

What the hell is going on in Washington? (Other than a gang of thugs breaking into Arnold Kling's house.) It's hard to know, exactly. Dig into the primary sources and you find congressional testimonies near impenetrable.

There's a phrase for this, actually: oracular obscurity. Permit literary critic Harold Bloom to describe:

"Oracular obscurity combines the spoken traditions of Homer and Shakespeare with the writing style of postwar French pomposité grandiloquente and just a dash of Latin American magic realism to produce an entirely new phenomenon that has reinvented congressional testimony as a literary genre."

Hat tip to Alan Greenspan for inspiring this phrase.

3 Responses to Congressional Testimony as Literary Genre

  1. Glenn says:

    A public policy class that I am in actually explored “vagueness” as a technique in politics.

    Inefficiency, costs, and worries about America’s future aside, one cannot help but admire the practice and refinement that must go into such vagueness.

  2. Nat Almirall says:

    I don’t think there’s very much Bloom doesn’t attribute to the spoken traditions of Homer and Shakespeare combined with the writing style of postwar French pomposité grandiloquente and just a dash of Latin American magic realism.

  3. Betty says:

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