[eDebate] On Fidelity and the Debate Community

Josh jbhdb8
Mon Aug 4 14:01:48 CDT 2008

When I was in college I had a roommate who had just been released from
prison on drug charges...Part of his release was based on his desire to get
an education and to improve his life.  Very often he would sit in our dorm
room and read his homework all day.....He took all day because it took him
about 4 hours to read a chapter because his reading level was not very
high.  Despite this, he would study and study and study and try and try and
he was actually making passing grades in all his classes.

Toward the end of the semester, he got caught in a three way marijuana
deal...since he had already been to prison twice on drugs he was put away as
a three-time loser (20 to life).

Did he sell drugs...yes....should there be consequences to what he did in a
moment of bad judgement....probably.....Do I still feel terrible every
single day that this happened....yes.

Empathy is a good place to start for most things.  Not saying what Bill did
was right....Just saying I empathize and hope that everything good he has
ever done isnt washed away in one moment of bad judgement.

I also have empathy for Shanara, the Towson guys, and everyone else
involved.  It was one of the most disturbing things I have ever seen in a
debate round.

....Or you survive long enough to see yourself become the villian,


On Mon, Aug 4, 2008 at 2:41 PM, Greg Thomas <greg.thomas at gmail.com> wrote:

> I am reading this, and I am really just not getting what you are saying
> (although this is the part of this discussion I am interested in).  I was
> not present at the round either, and thus I also have limited context in
> which to draw conclusions about the video.  However, it seems your position
> in your email is that debate is a family and that people should be forgiven
> for their transgressions in a family.  At least, I think that is what you
> are saying.
> But parts of your email really bother me.  For instance:
> (A)  You mention that a person is being vilified, even though that person
> has devoted much of their life to the community.  Does a track record of
> being a productive member of society excuse bad/inappropriate actions?
> (B)  Also, you state "Who knows if what happened following the quarters of
> CEDA was reasonable or inappropriate on either side".  Really?  I can't see
> how anyone could not know that the actions in that video were unreasonable
> and inappropriate no matter what the discussion was.
> (C)  You state that it is "cruel and antithetical to anything this debate
> community has ever stood for" to call for someone's termination.  Let's
> assume that hiring/firing decisions are not the responsibility of the debate
> community (because they aren't).  Would it be cruel and wrong to simply send
> the link to the video to the offending persons department chair so that the
> appropriate person could make that decision?  What if that link were sent
> with no explanation/no slant/no nothing?
> (D)  Finally, you mention that we should remember "actions about our
> community have very radical effects on someone's livelihood and that of
> their family".  1.  Do you think that level of consideration was being
> exercised by the offending people in the video?  and 2.  If negative things
> effects were to be had on that person's livelihood and/or family, is not the
> offender in that situation the one who should bear the blame?
> I don't plan to forward links or anything like that, that is not what I am
> saying.  But at one of the schools I attended, there was a hazing
> incident/scandal with our football team.  The logic in your email seems to
> indicate that in a close knit situation like that, there should have been
> understanding, and that the players who were doing the hazing should not
> have been identified/their actions brought to light because (a) they were
> valuable to the team and had a momentary lack of judgment and (b) because it
> could have ruined their acadmic/athletic careers.  Is that right?
> Greg Thomas
> P.S.  Some synonyms for Fidelity:  Faithfulness; honesty; integrity; faith;
> loyalty.  While loyalty "may" fit what you are sayi
>   On Mon, Aug 4, 2008 at 2:09 PM, Brent Culpepper <
> brentonculpepper at gmail.com> wrote:
>>    We were not present during the quarters of CEDA and only have the
>> limited context of this discussion on edebate and the video itself from
>> which to draw conclusions. That being said, we feel like there is one very
>> real underlying issue that has gotten lost in this discussion. One of the
>> best parts about the debate community is that, theoretically, we should be
>> able to have a passionate, heated discussion about whatever we believe but
>> afterwards be able to go have a drink with someone whom we viscerally
>> disagree. The idea that almost all the commentary following this episode has
>> largely centered around blame induced personal attacks is disturbing.
>> Ironically, the argument that is typically made against framework is
>> exclusion, but it is no different here where instead of engaging an
>> identified problem of whether or not strikes are legitimate argumentative
>> ground, this discussion has chosen to vilify a person who has devoted much
>> of their life to this community. A person who quite frankly ushered in a
>> style of debate that makes the quarters of CEDA (debate round, not
>> post-round) possible.
>> Who knows if what happened following the quarters of CEDA was reasonable
>> or inappropriate on either side, but POSTING that we should encourage the
>> community to write to universities seeking someone's termination is cruel
>> and antithetical to anything this debate community has ever stood for.
>> Moreover, the idea that someone would garner enjoyment or thrill from this
>> conflict is disheartening. Given some of the behavior the debate community
>> finds acceptable or at a minimum forgivable, we find it strange that this is
>> the instance that starts the battle cries for the end to someone's presence
>> in the community.
>> We encourage everyone to put down your arguments about debate for just one
>> moment and realize that, at times, actions about our community have very
>> radical effects on someone's livelihood and that of their family.
>> Brent Culpepper & Michael Greenstein
>> P.S.  The authors do not consent to this being used as evidence to beat
>> policy debaters.
>> _______________________________________________
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