[eDebate] Shame on the entire Debate Community
Sat Aug 23 22:47:12 CDT 2008
It was only a matter of time before the eroded standards of decorum came
back to haunt debate. The lack of a formal dress code has finally created
the kind of catastrophe I have been predicting for years.
Watch the video closely. What is different about that round, compared, to
say, the way debate was practiced in the 1970's into the 1990's?
* Post-round blow-ups? Nope. Those have been around for years. Debaters and
coaches have gotten upset, raised their voices, and accosted others before.
Ask Madison about some of his famous freak-outs after he lost a close
decision. heck, ask Bonilla (or the Holiday Inn in Waco).
* Vulgarity? Wrong again. Even some of the most eloquent speakers who've
ever graced the halls of tournaments have run into trouble for using salty
language. Ask the Manc about T.A.'s choice of words in dismissing an
unqualified author of his opponent's evidence in one round. Heck, the "Dyke
DA" (in the "Patriarchy Good" file) I found stashed in the back of the file
cabinets when I first arrived at West Georgia shows that the use of
vulgarity wasn't just the result of an emotional reaction, but often a
strategic choice. Preferable profanity comes and goes, but the deployment of
profanity itself is nothing new.
What IS unique in today's world of college debate is the complete lack of
attention to fashion. In the good old days, people may have said something
crude during a debate, and would frequently act very rude if the decision
didn't go their way, but dammit, they LOOKED GOOD doing it. Suit & tie was
the norm (dresses or smart pantsuits for the ladies, mind you). Sure, there
were "long-hairs" back then, but they kept that crap in a neat pony-tail.
Kids these days run around wearing whatever the cat dragged in, looking like
they just returned from either a restless night's sleep or a Dead Kennedy's
concert. And the coaches are no better.
THINK ABOUT IT FOLKS. If Bill had been wearing a suit - slacks cinched with
a belt, polished loafers with knee socks, a jacket and maybe even a buttoned
vest - there is NO way he would have been able to moon anyone so quickly.
Dressed the way debate coaches used to dress (the way any respectable
rhetorician SHOULD dress!), he would have had to fiddle with several layers
of clothing to engage in such behavior; the extra time required to pull his
shirt up, loosen his belt, unbutton and unzip his pants, then pull them down
would have allowed him to cool off some, or maybe someone else would have
intervened to stop him (after the belt had been loosened, but before the
slacks had been unzipped). Wearing draw string shorts made this kind of act
The bottom line is that people no longer dressing up in debate is to blame.
he may have been a cruel dictator, but at least Hitler wore pants.
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