[eDebate] Dear Mr. Meagher

Michael Souders micksouders
Sat Apr 26 21:11:58 CDT 2008


Let me preface these remarks by saying that I do not speak institutionally
for the KU debate squad.  I do, however, speak for myself and I am a
Jayhawk.



Mr. Meagher,



I don't know you.  You asked to hear from a Kansas person.  Here I am.  KU?and
more specifically Nate Johnson and Chris Stone?have wrongly been a part of a
lot of examples, either overtly or implicitly, for our conduct in the final
round?conduct that I thought was exemplary both in the debate and in defeat.
  Those two excellent debaters, having the tournament of their lives, have
received zero or nearly zero edebate congratulations for reaching the final
round.  None of that bothered me enough to get upset.  Your post, sir, has
changed that equation.  JP's posts make excellent points.  But he accepts
your apology in present form.  I do not.  Here is why:


First, call me biased, but I believe that Nate and Chris debated a
phenomenal debate round.  If it sounds weird for an assistant coach to toot
his own debaters' horns on edebate, consider that someone had to do
it.  Second,
we lost.  The last thing I want is some Monday morning quarterback letting
the hundreds of persons on debate know why KU represents all that is evil in
the debate world and telling all the coaches, judges, and debaters on the
list on the what YOU would have done if you had been in the round.  You
weren't there.  You didn't debate there.   You didn't judge.  You didn't
prep the round with us.  So don't go around trying to debate the round on
edebate, telling anyone who will listen you'd have done.

You said the debate community does a terrible job of researching racism.  We
are part of your example.  Your ignorance of the academic focuses of our
team and especially its graduate student coaching staff comes into dramatic
highlight here.  Previous academic research projects (not debate projects)of
current KU Ph.D students include: the cultural intersection of race and
religion in post-Katrina New Orlean (Black Catholicism), white
supremicist militias, desegregation policy, and the intersection of class
and race in film.



Oh, then you accused us of cheating.



JP knocked you for saying "out of context."  But this is about more than
that particular phrase.  Indeed, it is the words surrounding that magic
phrase:



"And it is completely improbable and arguably close to impossible for a K
alt to be taken more out of context."



And



"way, way, way out of context?"



You might get an oops on "out of context."  "Close to impossible" and "way,
way, way" are phrases you don't get an OOOPS on.  You clearly cannot defend
your claim and yet you chose those particular words.  I would consider
forgiving you for that, except that you put Chris and Nate on blast for
their word choices (you call them "non-sensical") when they did not have the
luxury of typing them out, considering them, editing them, researching IN
THE DEBATE the and?let not forget this--that they required by the strategic
situation in the debate and by ethical requirement competition to forward
argumentative positions.



As Shakespeare says,

"The mercy that was quick in us but late,

By your own counsel is suppress'd and kill'd."


What, exactly, would have satisifed you in that debate round?  Nothing less
than a concession, it seems to me.  It's funny, I remember Towson
thanking JS for taking the time to engage their argument, something the
coaching staff and debaters at KU consciously decided to do in prep.  And
here you are, nitpicking and player-hating from the sideline.

By the way, your analogy is wrong.  Here it is: "This is like if an aff
running, I don't know, the Kyoto Protocol, faced a K that argued for the
adoption of an environmental

ethic using evidence only from someone who said that a) activists should

lobby the US to ratify Kyoto and b) the US should ratify Kyoto, and then

asserted throughout the 2nr that the perm could not be an environmental

ethic because it included a policy.)."



No, it's not like that at all.  Our argument was a lot more like this: (and
I believe this is true to the text): there is single key to a variety of
modes of resistance and it is love as a political technology.  The 1AC
contains zero of this and cannot be successful without this as a starting
point.  CXs demonstrate that the 1AC brooks no compromise with other
perspectives.  We may be wrong and it didn't always come out like this but
that is hardly "out of context."  In fact, consider the following quote from
the book you have read so well and which the KU coaching staff and debaters
are apparently too ignorant to understand:



"Here, love is reinvented as a political technology, as a body of arts,
knowledge, and practices, and procedures for re-forming the self and the
world.  This affirmative practice and interpretive strategy, this
hermeneutics of love easily bypasses the usual order of perception, insofar
as it expresses the difficult to discern consciousness that Cornel West
calls "prophetic vision"?*Methodology of the Oppressed *argues that a
diverse array of thinkers are agitating for similarly conceived and
unprecedented forms of identity, politics, aesthetic production, and
coalitional consciousness through their shared practice of a hermeneutics of
love in a postmodern world, and it demonstrates that the *apartheid of
theoretical domains* *dividing academic endeavors by race, sex, class,
gender, and identity is annulled when this fundamental linkage is discerned.
In so doing, the book seeks to analytically reconcile the tensions and
boundary disputes that threaten to shatter contemporary academic life and
intellectual production.*" [emphasis mine].



We lost and I don't want to rehash the debate.  But this quote seems to
indicate to me that Sandoval at least thinks that there is a problem with
the fragmentation that can result from believing that race (or sex, class,
gender, etc.) are the fundamental root of social problems.  And it is
reasonable to claim that Towson's approach was not "postmodern" did not
include a "hermeneutics of love" as a "shared practice" to build a
"coalitional consciousness."  And, there is at least a *prima
facie*argument to be had that you cannot simply ADD these things to
Towson's 1AC,
given the CXs.  Yes, we were attempting to draw a fine distinction, but
that's good debate right?


Oh yeah?and there were DAs to 1AC position that ostensibly did not link to
the alternative.  You need a lesson in competition theory.


AND, sir, let me remind you?WE LOST (can I emphasize that enough?).  Many
people agreed with you.  Or would only an 11-0 for your own reasons have
satisfied you?  Perhaps you'd like to have been DQ'd for cheating or being
unable to read.  Or did we need to publically acknowledge our errors?  Would
you have been totally happy if we had simply rolled over?



You did say, "Please, try to see what I am saying as a response to the state
of the debate community and not as a response to the individual teams or
squads, who are both

extremely talented and hardworking and had their reasons for choosing these

arguments."



I tried to see it the way you want.   I failed.  I failed because you have
one debate that represents all of what you think is wrong in the community
and one team which represents all the examples: the University of Kansas JS.
So, I'm not going to see it that way.  What I am going to see is that fact
that you (1) questioned the integrity of the University of Kansas debate
squad  in a public forum, (2) insulted the educational quality of the
University of Kansas in a public forum, (3) insulted the particular
educational background (reading ability, in particular) of the KU coaching
staff and debaters, in a public forum, (4) insulted the ability of our
debaters in the final round of CEDA (the Top Seed, by the way) in a public
forum (5) applied radically different standards to yourself than you had the
courtesy to apply to us, and (6) made KU the scapegoat for your entire
diatribe against debate.



To boot, you have spent your last three or four emails backing off almost
every claim you have made in your original email.  Here are three major
claims you no longer defend or don't have evidence for: (1) Kansas cheated,
(2) (Present) debate coaches discourage academic focus on race issues, (3)
Ethnic issues are the heart of US-Russia politics.   I'd feel sorry for you
and let it go, if you would have had the courtesy to do the same for us.


So guess what.  You're going to have to do a little better than "I like
Scott Harris," "this ain't personal" and a functional "ooops."  Start
thinking.

Mick Souders
KU
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