contextualize one's discourse

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Senior Member
Korea, Korean
"But without casting aspersion or criticism in any direction, I have noticed that Senator Clinton, probably without meaning to, has not fully contextualized her discourse, which has had the effect of diffusing the national conversation we must have about the tremendous challenges we face. "(source)

What does the phrase underlined mean?
  • JamesEB

    Senior Member
    This is a tough one to explain, since this statement is from a satirical piece written by David Brooks about the Democratic candidates. Brooks is a conservative, who therefore dislikes the figures represented in the column, Obama (the supposed speaker of the above quote) among them. To "contextualize one's discourse" means to put one's rhetoric, or more simply talk or discussion, in its proper perspective or context.

    Brooks is basically making fun of the way Obama speaks, which he suggests, by this example, is a pretentious and bloated style. Although the definition I offer above is an accurate representation of the literal meaning, in the context of Brook's column it's meant to imply a long-winded way of saying nothing at all, really.

    I hope that makes sense and helps.
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