The following is purported to be the true story of how this speech was written. Here, Obama is reading the speech to his press secretary, Jay Carney: ~ * * *
Barry: “And now that King has his own memorial on the Mall...”
Carney: I think it’s more like, “We have a memorial to King.” I mean, King’s dead, so he can’t have his own anything. And it sounds like he has a memorial in a shopping center.
Barry: I like my idea better. “And now that King has his own memorial on the Mall, I think that we forget when he was alive...”
Carney: I think you’re mixing tenses.
Barry: What’s a “tense?”
Carney: You know, past tense, present tense, past tense participle.
Barry: What’s a “participle?”
Carney: If I remember correctly, it’s a verbal form used as an adjective.
Barry: I have no idea what you’re talking about.
Carney: Keep going.
Barry: “...I think that we forget when he was alive, there was nobody who was more vilified...”
Carney: He wasn’t that vilified.
Barry: Yes he was.
Carney: No he wasn’t. Sure, he was vilified down south among hard-core segregationists, but the rest of the south and the country and the government lauded him.
Barry: Maybe I’m confused. What’s “vilified?”
Carney: You know, to speak ill of.
Barry: What’s “illuv?”
Carney: “Ill” – to speak ill of.
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