[eDebate] Illegal Debating discussion

Joe Patrice joepatrice
Wed Nov 7 15:38:10 CST 2007

It seems to me that the Iraq war comparison Reid was making was not based on
Iraq being a more or less legitimate subject of a performative response, but
that, in execution, the performance his cadets employed was not analogous to
a simulated sex act (at least divorced of context).  I can certainly think
of much more "risky, potentially offensive" responses to the war than the
performance they employed (which was just a slideshow showing fallen
classmates to demonstrate how the concept of "usability" in U.S. military
policy exceeded just the approach to TNWs).


On 11/7/07, Shawn T Whalen <swhalen at sfsu.edu> wrote:
> Joe and Reid,
> Hosts certainly have the right to make rules for their tournaments that
> are conditions of participation.  Its hard work though, because these rules
> should be careful to protect the free exchange of ideas that is so central
> to the activity while assuring compliance with institutional policy.
> Divorced from the context of the performance, brief, fully-clothed
> simulated sex acts surely seems inappropriate - within the context I suspect
> many will have a different opinion.
> Please be cautious in assuming that the Iraq war is a legitimate political
> dialogue justifying risky, potentially offensive, performances choices;
> while presuming that the effects of heteronormativity in our society is not.
> Shawn
> -----edebate-bounces at ndtceda.com wrote: -----
> To: edebate at ndtceda.com
> From: "Joe Patrice" <joepatrice at gmail.com> <joepatrice at gmail.com>
> Sent by: edebate-bounces at ndtceda.com
> Date: 11/07/2007 09:55AM
> Subject: [eDebate] Illegal Debating discussion
> Reid Sawyer sent me and ML some thoughts he had regarding this discussion
> on edebate and I thought they should be posted --
> I wanted to pass on some thoughts I had while following the recent
> dialogue on eDebate.  While I have been absent from the community for the
> past three years, this discussion concerns me (as someone who has directed
> and will again) the program at West Point.  Most of the discussion to date
> on this topic has made some excellent points however, there has been one
> glaring omission so far - the concern and responsibility of the hosting
> school.  While SFSU may have the endorsement of their administrators to run
> conduct their performance without violating SFSU standards, their conduct
> may risk violating the regulations of the *host school. *
> Were a scenario to occur in which the offended party reported an incident
> such as this, the hosting school and the host debate program could well be
> responsible for the conduct that occurs on their campus and under
> the auspices of their tournament.  In this case, whatever permission was
> granted by SFSU's administrators would be wholly irrelevant.
> In an age where it is increasingly difficult to gain support for this
> activity, both administrative and budgetary, I would suggest that we as a
> community consider the implications of our actions on the host schools - not
> to mention those in the room that may be offended.  It is not entirely hard
> to imagine that the 'other' victim may be the team hosting the tournament.
>  While West Point may be a different case than other universities, I would
> not want to explain something like this to my Superintendent (college
> president) and our program would be at risk if I had to do so.  I can well
> imagine that other universities may take a similar stance.
> There is a large distinction between this incident and the hypothetical
> offered concerning Army's team and the Iraq war.  Four years ago at the NDT
> my top team ran a performative case where they showed the images of their
> friends who had died in Afghanistan and Iraq as they debated their case.
>  Both of those debaters are now on their second tours in Iraq.  Pushing an
> institution to be reflexive about the normative and policy implications of
> foreign policy decisions (or other topics) is exactly what this activity
> stands for - and should endorse.  While (in this case) our own advocacy made
> these debaters think about their role in the world knowing they were going
> to be  in combat six months after graduation, I cannot at all see this as
> comparable to a simulated sexual act - especially in light of the concerns
> of the other team.
> Joe - if you like, please post this to eDebate.
> Best,
> Reid
>  *_________________________ *
> *Reid Sawyer *
> *Combating Terrorism Center *
> *United States Military Academy *
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