[eDebate] response to Berch

NEIL BERCH berchnorto
Fri Apr 27 18:40:26 CDT 2007


Didn't say I was just kidding.  Said it was a mild tweak (as opposed to J'Accuse), kind of a "hey, that's kind of interesting; maybe we should think about it."

Obviously, I've provoked some thought.  In any case, I really don't have the time to continue this.  You win the round.--Neil
  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Michael Antonucci<mailto:antonucci23 at yahoo.com> 
  To: College Debate Listserv<mailto:edebate at ndtceda.com> 
  Sent: Friday, April 27, 2007 7:15 PM
  Subject: [eDebate] response to Berch


  "Yes, I am (and was) aware that Mr. Jennings is a Mr.
  In a group (national circuit debaters) that is about
  20% male, there is less than a 3% chance (actually
  2.72%) that having 3 women on a list of 4 people would
  occur randomly.

  My remark was intended to be a mild tweak. My respect
  for the accomplishments and general good sense of Mr.
  Marks notwithstanding, the reaction to that tweak is
  more telling than the survey result that prompted me
  to post in the first place. Methinks some of you
  gentlemen doth protest too much."

  Wait a second.

  I don't think it's in especially good faith to go
  after an explicitly jokey informal institution, then
  answer counter-objections with "just kidding, and
  you're over-reacting for treating my jokes seriously."
   Taking jokes earnestly is kind of the premise of the
  discussion you've initiated.

  Mr. Marks makes a good point and an important one -
  one that I considered making before deciding that
  someone smarter would probably say it for me.

  Maybe Kathryn Clark is gullible, in addition to the
  scintillating talent noted elsewhere in the DCA, and
  in addition to a generally admirable personality that
  seems universally noted in the debate community.  

  Maybe this characteristic really bears very little
  relationship to her gender, but instead just means
  that she often believes it when people tell her silly
  things.

  Maybe it's dangerous and a little exasperating to
  reduce *individuals*, who have personalities far more
  complex than subgroup identifications, to ciphers in
  questions of identity politics.  This seems to mirror
  a reaction to Emory's NDT win.  At the/(an) apex of
  wonderful debate careers, the debaters involved would
  (I think) prefer to be celebrated as special and
  complex individuals as opposed to "the females who won
  the NDT" - an obtrusive and overshadowing
  identification.  I think this is the big part of the
  "over-simplification" David mentions.  It's not just
  oversimplifying arguments.  It's oversimplifying
  people, and sometimes that's lame.

  Of course, none of this precludes an analysis of the
  various exclusions that permeate and perhaps even
  structure policy debate.  It may, however, demand that
  we exercise a *truly exceptional* degree of care if we
  undertake to filter a very personalized little
  institution through the lens of broader questions of
  group identification.  

  Presuming that the best approach to a certain
  statistical skew is "j'accuse!" often ends up hurting,
  or, more likely, vaguely annoying precisely the
  individuals whose voices you intend to appropriate.  I
  just don't think that this particular situation
  benefits from the polemic, much as I love the polemical.

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