On Killing Mom

There is an active discussion on the Toastmasters discussion board about whether lying is acceptable in a speech when one knows the audience is fooled. This is my response.
I have a speech that describes the death of my mother. It is quite emotional. Even when I think of the ending I become teary. I have delivered this speech several times. My mother is very much alive and kicking and enjoying her golden years. We joke that I have killed her once again when I deliver the speech.

My introduction to this speech states that the speech is realistic fiction. Either no one has listened to the introduction or it is forgotten.

As the speaker, I have felt guilty at the end of the speech when audience members have offered their sincere remorse at the (recent) loss of my mother. I reveal (again) that it is a fictional story.

I cannot know for certain whether or not these folks have felt outrage, cheated, manipulated, etc. Probably.

There’s a part of me that feels that the audience is manipulated by it. There is also part of me that feels that if one is going to place “realistic fiction” aside, then perhaps the speech is good in that they suspend their disbelief and enjoy the story. That I change the speech to incorporate the evening’s events that add to the immediacy of “the death” I feel is a good tool. I have not delivered the speech in some time.

This speech has not been used for any contest, but there is no reason why it couldn’t be, imo.

Also blogged on this date . . .

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *