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Rhetorical Robbery

July 24, 1988

If Jonathan Kirsch, in reviewing Kathleen Hall Jamieson's "Eloquence in an Electronic Age," (View, July 6) cites her quote from Joseph Welch correctly, Jamieson should be admonished to be a bit more careful with her punctuation. She quotes the distinguished jurist as saying, "Have you no decency, sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?"

The Army-McCarthy hearings having been televised live, I heard Welch on that memorable occasion, and what he said--with tears brimming in his eyes--was, "Have you no decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?"

Marvelous how the accidental transference of a simple phrase from one sentence to another robs a powerful rhetorical question of its impact.

GRANT SHEPARD

VENTURA

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