[eDebate] Later Jerry. . . .

Morris, Eric R EricMorris
Thu May 17 10:03:31 CDT 2007

Ashley has a number of good points as well, and a lot of my reactions
are not about her central thesis, but instead the snippets included
below my message.

1. I cringe when people are called out for their silence, particularly
by name. Several people involved in college debate consider this forum
dysfunctional and do not spend their limited time here. I don't think we
should expect them either to monitor it closely, nor to speak in this
forum anytime they disagree (particularly if they don't feel that
challenging Andy - for example - on each point of difference is
productive). When making this argument, I encourage people to think
about all the places they are silent - all the online discussions they
also ignore or avoid due to lack of time, knowledge, interest, etc.  

2. I cringe (a bit less, though) when people make general statements
about the community. While there may be many in college debate that feel
a certain way, we really don't know each other that well. Think about
how many judges get lower MPJ ratings because we don't know them well,
or how many people on a tournament invite list you don't know at all.
Many of the rest we only know very selectively (which is not always a
bad thing - it's great to meet a new person and be able to bond about
why consultation CP's are bad). The knowledge that we have of the
"community" is either based on a skewed sample or based on the notion
that some people count more than others (perhaps because they post
frequently, etc.)

3. I have sympathy for both the view that speaking ill of the deceased
violates a useful social norm, and also that remembering the negative is
useful. Sympathy for Falwell's humanity need not further his political
agenda, and neither his death not post-death bashing are sufficient to
counter it. I think that negative remembrances which pay appropriate
homage to someone's humanity while disagreeing about their legacy are
more effective at persuading people than those which fail to respect the
virtue of the unshared thought. 

4. While Falwell was a public figure, making discussion of his public
status appropriate, he was also personally significant to many who read
the listserv. I would be entirely unimpressed if people used the forum
to bash people who were personally significant to me and have died, but
nobody does because those people were not public figures. 

5. I'm not a fan of Falwell's agenda - at all - but I think the general
norm of viewing the decreased as people (not merely political ogres) is
an important constraint on the power to hunt and kill. A society that
embraced that norm more fully, instead of selectively contracting it,
might be a better society to live in. It has been interesting, though,
to read posts that defend other perspectives - discussions about WHY a
certain attitude toward the deceased is important are rare. 


-----Original Message-----
From: edebate-bounces at www.ndtceda.com
[mailto:edebate-bounces at www.ndtceda.com] On Behalf Of Ashley Michelle
Sent: Thursday, May 17, 2007 9:19 AM
To: Jonathan Karlin; EDebate; Adam Farra
Subject: Re: [eDebate] Later Jerry. . . .

I think Adam had so many good points, I hope they are
not ignored in the fanfare of heated discussion.  But
I want to go just beyond the schisms created within
the gay debate community.

Jerry Falwell alienated a lot of people.  It's
interesting to me, for example, he is called a "friend
of debate," a platform that has helped advance the
Women's Movement (especially this year, with so many
amazing women being honored at both the NDT and CEDA
such as Jessica Yeats, Raveena Wilson and Brenda
Montes) and yet many of the most profound feminists
within the community have remained silent. 
Coincidentally, feminists were routinely a favored
target of Falwell as an example of America's moral

Additionally, telling me that I (and the rest of the
community) should ignore his actions and only focus on
his philanthropy to debate in order to prove my
gratitude for what the activity has brought to me
personally, to utilize an over-thrown kritik term, is
like trying to shape my discourse.  It's fundamentally
the same thing as a rape survivor saying how much they
hate their abuser, and another individual telling them
to ignore the rape and instead focus on the good they
did in the world.  Or telling a family member of one
of the funerals that Fred Phelps has picketed that
Fred should be appreciated because of the accomplished
civil rights attorney he used to be and the lives he
changed during those days.  It completely invalidates
a dissenting opinion and shames the individual for
looking--rightfully so--at the bad.

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