Monday, May 21, 2007

The art of "Selling" - Christopher Hitchens with Ralph Reed on 'Hannity and Colmes'

In wrestling, hitting people is only half of what it takes to be a great performer. Just as important is the art of being hit, known as 'Selling'. To create a compelling match there needs to be an effective give and take in order to have the necessary tension to keep the audience engaged. It's a dance.

An exciting wrestling match needs to tell a story. In order for the story to be told wrestlers need to show moments of strength and moments of vulnerability. A good performer 'sells' the moves of his opponent by acting appropriately when he is being hit. When a wrestler writhes in pain or clutches his damaged leg, it brings the crowd closer as they root for the dominating wrestler or spur on the underdog. It sets the table for further drama as the match see-saws back and forth.

I bring this up because pundit Christopher Hitchens was engaged in an interesting debate about the passing of influential religious/political leader Jerry Falwell. Hitchens was in exciting form in a fatal Four way match with Ralph Reed (best known for his work with the Christian Coalition), Sean Hannity and Alan Colmes. By exciting, I mean he was his usual curmudgeonly self. At one point late in the debate he heckled Ralph Reed as if he was a muzzled audience member rather than someone who shared and already dominated the stage.

Sean Hannity acted as a good foil to Hitchens, valiantly trying to regain control of the debate. Scintillating!

VIDEO: Christopher Hitchens in Fatal Four way action on Hannity and Colmes

Hitchens is a great example of someone who does not sell an opponent's moves. He diffuses any connecting zinger from his adversary with a commanding "WELL EXCUSE ME BUT..." and is known for hectoring audience members who applaud against him.

Watch Hitchens "no-selling" in a spirited debate with Jon Stewart.
VIDEO: August 25, 2005: Christopher Hitchens
Christopher Hitchens
The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c

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Listen to Hitchens in friendly territory, doing his weekly chat with Hugh Hewitt.

I looked through Hugh Hewitt's recent archive and it seems that Hitchens hasn't been on the show since his diatribe against the recently departed Jerry Falwell. As mentioned, Christopher appears weekly on Hugh's show and they are cordial with each other.
Looking through Hugh's blog, I didn't find any acknowledgement of Hitchen's remarks nor a mention of Jerry Falwell's passing. On air however while chatting with evangelical figurehead James Dobson, Hugh did have a soft rebuke of Hitchens and expressed admiration for Falwell.

Listen to the Hugh's conversation with James Dobson.
You'll notice in the interview, Hugh doesn't mention his close assosciation with Hitchens or how regularly he appears on his show etc...

In late breaking news, Hugh finally mentions Hitchens. Read here.

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