Vocal Pauses

“At the end of the day”, “The fact of the matter is”, “When push comes to shove”, “Now then”, and “That being said” are meaningless vocal pauses. The speaker keeps talking while thinking of what to say next. JFK would say, “Aah, Let me say this about that, and aah, that is this.”

A description of the beginning of the movie “The Day the Earth Stood Still” could have one of those phrases used properly. A flying saucer landed in a field near the White House and a ramp extended and a hatch slid open. A human-looking being walked out of that hatch and that being said, “Greetings, people of Earth…”

Vocal pauses are bad habits, like saying “uh”. Toast Masters is a lunch time activity at many companies. They practice giving short talks and one member of the audience is the “Uh counter” who reports at the end, how many times the speaker said “Uh.”

There were many interesting issues about “The Day the Earth Stood Still”, starring Michael Rennie and Patricia Neal. The alien assumed the name John Carpenter (like Jesus, a carpenter) and he was brought back to life after being killed. That was controversial in Hollywood. I think it is interesting that Michael Rennie looked very much like Bishop Fulton Sheen. The most interesting detail is that at the end of the short story that was made into this movie, someone apologies to the robot that we had shot his leader when the robot says, “You do not understand. I am the leader.” Hollywood did not think the American audience was ready for the plot twist that Michael Rennie played a humanoid robot and the “robot” was an alien in a space suit.

That should give you pause!