Chapter 8. “Thank you for heckling me”

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This chapter analyzes an exchange where hecklers interrupt Hillary Rodham Clinton (HRC) at a 2008 U. S. Presidential campaign town hall meeting. Analysis of video records describes HRC’s impromptu, embodied rhetorical response that repositions the disruptors onto the discursive margin and upholds women’s discursive rights as she sidesteps the trap of the “double-bind,” and consolidates audience alignment with her values. Studying public speakers negotiate unplanned, complex, multi-party events can reveal more about a leader’s discursive skills and social intelligence than planned, text-centric political discourse. This chapter analyzes emergent, multimodal interaction (linguistic and gestural), and visible contributions from social others addressed by the speaker, a methodological shift important for recognizing the depth of women’s public speaking skill and stylistic variety.


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