[eDebate] Pintos, pirates and puppets

Ross K. Smith smithr
Tue Feb 6 17:57:24 CST 2007

So, what got into Ross? What's up with "callin' people out?"

It was serendipitous.

In the midst of a work session for the Coon, someone said, "What's up 
with Cal's judging?" I asked what they meant. I was told Ace is in for 
zero, etc., and Stephen Davis is doing 8. I asked, "Who is Stephen 
Davis?" and was told Bard, the block 30's and pirates. I remembered Bard 
once my memory was jarred, but had not associated him with the pirates 
and 30's. They repeated, "Why does Cal do that?" I said, "Don't ask me. 
Hell, I'll ask."

I simply decided that rather than asking crap behind people's backs 
(stuff we have no answer to without asking them), the question *might* 
productively be asked in public.

Just a bit later Ellsworth got tossed in via discussion of linked judge 

Luckily, the responses have been productive and illuminating.

As I said, lucky. Luckily, Pinto and Stephen are generous, honest, and 
good natured.

The entire incident really raises a lot of big questions that risked 
being really supressed had Stephen and Pinto responded differently (and 
they would have been within their rights to have responded any one of a 
number of ways or not at all).

1) How is it that we now have no forum in which debate theory, judging 
philosophies, and community norms are discussed? We have almost no 
publications and next to no discussion on e-debate. We barely use blogs. 
  There is no professional norm or expectation that coaches publish or 
engage in public discssion of our academic activity.

2) Given the lack of robust public discussion, how much of this back 
room back stabbing goes on instead? How porly do we understand what 
others in the community think and feel?

3) Can these kinds of issues be productively discussed outside their 
personalized contexts? Are discussions on speaker points that do not 
discover the context of the debates in which block 30's are assigned, 
but pretend we do not know the specifics even though debateresults.com 
have them there for all to see, are those discussions really productive? 
Can we not publicly discuss the question, "What the fu*& is up with the 
pirates thing?" I mean, that is two known people. Are judging 
philiosophies not public documents that can be discussed specifically?

These are not entirely rhetorical questions.

I think that we have a lot of work to do.

Personal notes:
1) Bard is, indeed, cool. I have been impressed with the dedication the 
students and coaches have had. They do not need to subject themselves to 
the slings and arrows of NDT fortune and to people like me, but they 
choose to do so when other programs are leaving.

2) Wyoming is, indeed, cool. Stannard is an exception to the rule of 
reduced professional public discourse about and for the activity. I have 
learned something every time I have spoken with him and whenever he writes.

3) Cal is cool. Achten's, "Eat me," reply in backchannel was as 
appropriate and eloquent as were those of Davis and Ellsworth. Much 
funnier. I laughed. Thanks.

Ross K. Smith
Debate Coach
Wake Forest University

336-758-5268 (o)
336-251-2076 (cell)


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