[eDebate] DCA Debater #5 - Brian Smith

Eric M. Slusher Eric.M.Slusher
Mon May 15 08:55:50 CDT 2006

Life of Brian

by the members of the DFU, with assists from people wishing to stay anonymous.

A couple of things need to be said at the outset.  First, there won't be any video footage in this DCA bio.  Quite frankly, the video of Brian "wrestling" with Josh Kernoff and David Marks in last season's edition of Brian's bio was so disturbing it is likely still burned in to many of your memories.  Of course, given that a technique used in this "match" was the "tickle slap" and that Brian exclaimed, "being on top is the determinant of victory", we're guessing that a few are a little disappointed we won't be including it this year.  The video is still available in the edebate archive if you need to quench that thirst.

Second, there won't be any effusive bullshit about how good he was at debate.  Obviously, if you're in the DCA top ten stuff like this goes without saying.  Except in the case of Craig Wickersham, of course.  Brian won lots of debates, speaker awards and accolades.  In fact, Brian was winning debates before a lot of you were even born.  Honestly, you ought to be good at debate when you start at age 3.  

Stunningly Brian never really managed to translate his success in debate and charming good looks into success with the ladies.  It was entirely possible.  Just didn't ever happen.  Surprising when you consider he had that sexy hair flip thing going on.  Part of this might have to do with the fact that, even at 21, Brian still couldn't go to tournaments without his parental chaperones.  Though he did recently fly alone for the first time.  This presented some problems because a flight attendant made him move out of the exit row because she didn't believe he was old enough or strong enough to operate the exit door and because the name "Brian Smith" is on the terrorist watch list. (true story)

Third, no animals were harmed in the production of this biographical sketch.  Why anyone would kill a puppy to achieve debate success is beyond us.  Not because we love puppies, just because the connection is unclear.  If you aren't sure what this is all about all you need to know is that Brian is such a driven and competitive person he killed puppies before his more important debates.  Horrible, isn't it?  No wonder girls didn't like him.  At this point Maggie yelled, "I want a puppy!"

Fourth, NOTHING was removed from this bio following the edebate fiasco over Burke's bio.  But, things have been added.  Like this question: How in the hell did Wickersham get one more vote than Bsmith?  

Okay, now that that bullshit is out of the way, on to the bio.

Life was never easy for Brian.  He was born a poor black child...oh, forget it.  We're not kidding anyone here.  Not much is known about his early years.  We can only speculate that he was probably in to the same things other kids in his neighborhood were in to growing up.  You know, yachting, polo, tennis, typical kid stuff.  He also had a healthy appreciation for the arts. 

Most probably don't realize that Brian had a brief run on the NBC sitcom "Silver Spoons" playing the role of Ricky Stratton under the stage name Ricky Schroder.  He denies it but the evidence can be found at the following website: http://www.sitcomsonline.com/silverspoons.html. His lawsuit against the actor "Rick Schroder", for copyright infringement, is still pending.  Given Brian's success against the IPR case this season the prospects for his suit are not bright.

Brian has spent many of his college years trying to bury this particular episode of his young life.  It was embarrassing to be sure, but this endeavor did bring Brian enough financial security to afford the tuition payments at Pace Academy and later Dartmouth College.

It is well known that Brian debated for a very, very long time.  And as near as we can tell the first topic he debated was, "Resolved:   That nuclear weapons should be controlled by an international organization."  This is where he discovered his love for the debate over whether the use of nuclear weapons causes extinction.  It also highlights that Brian is one of the few left that debated the Reagan disad and the '88 elections DA.

Even in high school Brian had a difficult time dealing with the stress of debate.  Part of this can be attributed to a brief, ill-fated partnership with the always-unpredictable James Thomas.  His nerves often caused him to vomit during debates and he would keep a trash can nearby to prevent embarrassing spills.  This is something that carried over to his first year at Dartmouth.

In spite of this, Brian was able to muddle through and accomplish a tremendous amount of success.  It is well known that Brian culminated his high school debate career by winning the TOC, over Josh Branson, on Spark.  This would, however, be one of Brian's last wins against Josh Branson.

Upon graduation from high school Brian somehow escaped the grips of a certain Atlanta-based debate powerhouse and embarked on an adventure that few Georgians dare attempt.  He crossed north over the Mason-Dixon line.  Like many from the south that end up in the Northeast, Brian took great pride in his "southern roots."  Which, of course, is about as phony as it gets.  More on this in a moment.

He loaded up the truck and arrived in Hanover in the fall of '02.  Never short on self-confidence Brian immediately made his presence felt.  At the first full-squad meeting Brian attended he wasted little time in pointing out how Ken was "totally wrong" about an argument being discussed.  For the record, as usual, Ken was right and Brian was wrong.

For some reason, this smart-ass was paired with Ben Thorpe in his first year and took a ride to the finals of the NDT.  It's good to get stuff like that out of the way early.  Thankfully, he never had to deal with that kind of stress again.  Probably why the vomiting stopped.

Brian also took it upon himself to be the self-described "ethics police."  He would disappear to the library for hours and upon returning produce Turner-esque amounts of photocopied book chapters.   Not cards, chapters.  The idea was to prove that some paragraph was "out of context" because some other part of the book concluded that maybe, just maybe, something with the previous conclusion might, sort of be less than absolutely certain.  Nothing ever came of any of this hard work.  Kind of like his currency neg.

Brian always carries two pens, of different colors, at all times.  Because you never know when someone is going to challenge you to a pick-up debate.  And Brian always carried a jump drive with a copy of his 1AC.  Now, this was actually a pretty good idea.  But the reason he did it is because he had a dream that a girl stole his 1AC at a tournament and he unsuccessfully chased her around the hotel trying to get it back.  Uh, yeah, he doesn't have any issues with women or anything.

Although he didn't show it, Brian did have some trouble adjusting to college life.  Like most debate teams, the DFU was packed with whiney liberals.  Understandably, Brian felt a little out of place.  But he was able to cope by turning his dorm room into a sanctuary of sorts.  He proudly placed his giant American flag in a place of prominence in his dorm room.  He was thrilled to get another American flag as a speaker award at the Texas tournament earlier this year.  This is because Brian is a self-described patriot.  Basically, this means he's a conservative republican.  Hardly surprising given his earning potential and his subscription to The Economist.

The members of the DFU, however, were rightly concerned about his lack of "hip-ness."  The Dartmouth team is well known for being snobs about movies.  Anyone that's judged Dartmouth teams over the years knows this well.  Brian was not well versed on hip movies when he arrived in Hanover.  So the team made a list of movies he had to see.  They came up with 95.  Probably 70 of these are in the AFI top 100.  He hadn't seen any of them.  We're talking movies like The Godfather here.  No one's sure if he's gotten caught up on this list.  But lately he's acted like everyone else is stupid for not getting his pop-culture references from hit movies.  Shocking when you consider that his favorite movie was and probably still is Armageddon.  Yes, the one with Bruce Willis where there's an asteroid about to collide with the earth. 

He was also exposed to new things.  Once, upon entering a hotel room for an elim debate at the Clay Brian discovered an inflatable sex doll.  What's worse is that he needed Kathryn to explain what is was and what you use it for.  Funny he mentioned a blow-up doll in his edebate post the other day, eh?

Brian often tried to prove his "southern" bona fides.  For instance, ol' boy thinks he's an expert on "southern rock" because he occasionally listens to Lynard Skynard and the Allman Brothers.  This can hardly be taken seriously because, 1) he doesn't like beer (gasp!) and 2) because he drinks girlie-drinks.  He gets around this by drinking something called "Jack Daniels Downhome Punch", which sounds like something manly and stiff but is actually a glorified wine-cooler that turns your tongue red.  This is when he's not drinking Mike's Hard Lemonade.  

But he had to start somewhere and it is important to keep in mind that Brian is fairly new to the vices.  It was written in this space just one year ago, by bio-author Kathryn Clark that, "(d)espite the fact that he has been in college for three years, attending the school with such a reputation for drinking that it inspired Animal House, Brian has still never been drunk."  Back then Brian was very judgmental towards people that took a drink every now and then.  He once remarked that he didn't, "understand why anyone would ever drink."  Long story short; a lot can change in a year.

There were basically three stages to Brian's year long evolution from a sissy to a sloppy drunk.

We'll call stage one repression.  This is the part where Brian was a boring nancy-pants.  No one liked him much then anyway.

We'll call stage two denial.  About as far as this went was drinking a tiny flute of Champagne after winning the Dartmouth Round Robin as a junior.  He still made fun of people for drinking then, which was pretty much a total buzzkill.

We'll call stage three over-identification.  This is his current stage.  Brian became tremendously more likable in this stage.  However, there were some dark moments.

The exact details are a little sketchy but what we can report is that Brian once drank enough that he found it perfectly reasonable to turn down a chance to see two girls make out in the library to instead make out with David Marks.  Not the girls making out with David Marks.  Brian making out with David Marks.  Mr. Marks could not be reached for comment. 

He celebrated Christmas by removing his khaki pants and polo shirt, along with his underwear, and jumping into the Dartmouth Christmas tree on the College Green.  It took quite some time to recover from those injuries.  Ho, ho, ho!

He also admitted, on his 21st birthday, that when he was being toilet-trained as a child he would receive a new goldfish every time he hit the target.  Word to the wise, being drunk is never an excuse for admitting something like this.

In hindsight none of this is particularly surprising given the influence Ace Garen had on young Brian.  But it still came as a shock to those of us that got to know Brian over his four years on the team. 

All of this allowed Brian to take a more relaxed approach to his last year in college.  He was able to achieve some balance, joining an intramural hockey team, spending a little more time on his school work and blowing his scholarship money and TV royalty checks on tradesports.com.  

Now Brian is entering the first period in his life without debate.  It's anyone's guess how he'll adjust.  But we're assuming he'll do just fine.  After all, he's got the look and the wardrobe.  No matter how far away he moves we're sure Brian will have some future role in debate.  He's already volunteered to be the NDT-alternate coordinator.  And Brian is also planning to statisfy his obsession with the names of the CEDA Nationals elims by submitting an amendment to re-name the debates the, "Partial Octo Octofinals, Quadruple Octofinals, Double Octofinals, Octofinals, and so on."

The bottom line is Brian is a fantastic person.  Everyone that coached and debated on the team with him will tell you the same. It's not everyday that a kid walks into your squad room as a freshman and quickly becomes your franchise player.  It's always bitter sweet to see that kid move on.  And it's even tougher when all you have to remember them by is a shelf full of trophies, a tub full of unused spark cards, and David's facebook photo page.  This is why we had to make up a bunch of mean stories about Brian.  More than anything he respected the game of debate.  He stayed humble when he won and kept perspective when he lost.  What the people that know you best think about you as a person matters a helluva lot more in the long run than some debate you won or lost.  We respect Brian's accomplishments in debate.  And he was pretty goddamned good at debate.  But we love Brian because of the person he is.  We can only hope he had as much fun this last year as we had working with him.  And we hope he will be as generous when he makes his first million as he is today. 

Kathryn was asked to comment on Brian and this is what she sent:

Brian was basically the best debate partner ever.  Debating 
with him was a huge honor.  He was one of those debaters 
who I used to watch in awe in high school, dreaming that 
some day I would be half as talented as him.  I couldn't 
imagine a better partner.  He put up with me even when I 
was (at various times) bad at debate, crazy, and 
irrationally emotional.  ("at 'various' times?" ? Charles)

At the NDT, I was struck by two things.  First, the huge 
number of female high school debaters who watched our 
debates just because they thought Brian was "so dreamy."  
Second, and more important, the number of people who came 
up to Brian after the doubles and told him that he was 
their favorite debater to judge, coach, or compete 
against.  Everyone agreed that Brian had a quality that 
made him one of the best of the best - the ability to be 
aggressive without being mean and to be talented without 
being arrogant.  In other words, Brian probably has the 
lowest "cockiness to skill" ratio of anyone I've ever seen 
debate.  These qualities were things that I learned from 
him and are things that I tried to emulate in my own 

Brian had a great debate career, from his days as a scrawny 
middle school kid to now as a slightly less scrawny college 
kid.  I have no doubt that his career at Bridgewater next 
year will be equally good.


Oh my god, oh my god there's one more thing we need to deal with.  Vantage point and perspective are interesting things.  Because if they polled judges and coaches on this top ten we guarantee you Hunter Brooks and David Marks would make the list.  At least tied for tenth.  This isn't meant as a slight on any of the fantastic people that made this year's list (except Wickersham, or course).  And it is obviously understandable why BM didn't make the "debaters'" list.  We would have hated having to debate those clowns too.  But a lot of the people that made the list owe these guys at least for their efforts and dedication to the Dartmouth Round Robin after-party over the years.  Besides, it would be really, really easy to write a hilarious bio for either of them.  

If you think about how far these guys came in four years it's pretty impressive.  Finished as a top-8 pre-bid, quarters of the NDT, semifinals at CEDA, probably one of the best affs on the China topic and possibly one of the most unpredictable and versatile teams on the neg.  They even won some speaker awards.  Hard to believe if you saw them just a couple of years ago.  They were so incoherent back on the treaties topic that Slusher famously declared that Hunter Brooks was, "in no danger of ever winning a speaker award."   These two were a joy to work with and watch debate.  They were easy going and a laugh a minute.  And they were probably the most gracious and sincere team players you'll ever see. 

They probably don't realize it now, but there's something to be said for winning your last debate (at least in terms of trash-talk potential).  And they pretty clearly finished with the best record among teams with the initials "BM" (and the initials "Wake CH").  One or both of these guys could be looking for coaching jobs next year.  If you have a chance to hire either of them you should.  Death cult aside, these guys know strategy and argument.  And they have great attitudes about debate.  It sucks big time that these two won't be debating anymore because they were an awesome team.  The DFU is gonna miss them a lot.  Have to leave it at that because we can only write about Hunter and David in a prime number of paragraphs.

The DFU is losing some great seniors.  Normally we wouldn't care but these guys are truly irreplaceable.

The End.

p.s. ? We'll sorta miss Wickersham too.

p.p.s. ? Kathryn was voted most gullible debater.  WhaaaHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!  That's so perfect!

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