[eDebate] On matters Louisville: the Klansman defends Dr. Warner
Mon Apr 19 20:55:43 CDT 2004
Dr. Warner says that those who don't think we should increase black participation in debate really should join the Klan. Since I really don't care how many people of each color skin participate, I suppose Dr. Warner includes me among potential Klansmen. If thinking that someone's skin color neither increases nor decreases the value of their thoughts and their importance to the debate community, please provide me with the web site of the Maryland clavern. I think the accusation is kind of unwarranted, but whatever.
While we're on name-calling, I think that anyone who backs off what they really think or tries to reconcile their views with opposing views should be called a fucking coward. If you really embrace Louisville's project, embrace it and do something to *show* that you embrace it. The empty words are just bullshit. Try recruiting international students or something. Of course, I seriously doubt that efforts at inclusion will get you a reprieve from this kritik, but at least you'd have the satisfaction of knowing you put your program's money where your mouth is. This shouldn't be taken to mean that I embrace Louisville's project: I specifically do not.
That said, I'm concerned about the argument that Dr. Warner is obligated to teach multiple kinds of debate. There are several reasons for this, and I'm going to briefly outline each one. Please note that I do not *like* what Dr. Warner is doing, but he's well within his rights and/or responsibility as a coach to do it.
First, Louisville relies on a particular technique of debate. If there were a significant number of debaters from Louisville that performatively disavowed the technique used, others would be able to exploit that. If the team does not present a solid front, then there's a serious question as to the effectiveness and seriousness of their project.
Second, Dr. Warner maintains that there are harmful elements within traditional debate. His personal story regarding his motives are most enlightening, though I find it unpersuasive. If he is in fact correct, or if he thinks he is (which he definitionally does), then as a coach he would be morally obliged to *not* teach traditional debate because it harms his students - or at least he thinks it does.
Third, any time spent teaching this alternate debate style would trade off with time he could spend teaching the debate style the rest of his debaters use. If he wants his program to remain competitively successful, then he should be spending his time teaching them to do that the best way he knows how. If my ignorance of basketball becomes clear here, I'm sorry, but if Louisville's men's basketball coach were to find that zone defense was best in college, there's nobody who would argue that he should take practice time to teach man-to-man!
Fourth, everyone who comes on Louisville's team is told about the debate style. I'm sure Dr. Warner is an honest man; despite our disagreements, he's been very open about what his team does and doesn't hesitate to share it with those of us who only use that information to write new strategies. When he came to BUDL to do some speaking and recruiting, he was very clear about what he thought debate should be about. Granted, most of the BUDL kids didn't agree, but they are informed and will make choices accordingly. If they don't know about Louisville's debate style and don't know that it's not simply optional, then it's their own fault and they deserve to have it sprung on them. Information is available here, and it's available by web search. Of course, those who come to debate as novi in college don't have that luxury, but it's hardly as though they have their own valid ideas about how things should be done anyway. If he drives debaters away, that's his program's business: not ours.
I'm sure at some point I'll post many objections to Louisville's form of debating. In this particular instance, however, Dr. Warner should be praised, not condemned.
Towson Univ. Speech & Debate
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