[eDebate] reply to bryant

Duane Hyland privethedge
Tue Aug 5 20:10:17 CDT 2008

You know.. I've been thinking about this video....at first I was..well..outraged to see a debate professional conducting themselves in that matter (however, I understood the dress thing - what you wear doesn't matter - it's what you say) - but then I thought "what if, at the second each of us had done something shameful, something rash, something that wasn't thought through, someone had a video camera and captured it for posterity.."
There's two ways to look at it: The capture of that act would brand us as irrational idiots for life, or the capture of that incident would just represent a single moment in time in our lives and we shouldn't be judged soley on the incident.
I hope that the community takes the second approach with the professors in question. Holding sins against people is easy, forgiving sins is tough work - but maybe the world would be better if we forgave..while making the people recognize that the behavior wasn't acceptable.....
Just a thought....I know that all of us have minutes in our life, I know I do, that we'd love everyone to take the second approach to..

"You may be whatever you resolve to be." Thomas J. Jackson"
"If all mankind minus one were of one opinion and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that person that he, if he had the power, would be in silencing mankind? If the opinion is right, they are deprived of the opportunity of exchanging error for truth; if wrong, they lose, what is almost as great a benefit, the clearer perception and livelier impression of truth, produced by??its collision with error." John S. Mill
?Who said Dr. Who isn't Funny: "Rose: You Didn't Have to Kill him! Dalek: "Neither did we need him to live."
Dalek to Cyberman: :"You are Superior to us in one respect." Cyberman: "What is that?" Dalek: "Dying!"

--- On Tue, 8/5/08, MWBRYANT at aol.com <MWBRYANT at aol.com> wrote:

From: MWBRYANT at aol.com <MWBRYANT at aol.com>
Subject: Re: [eDebate] reply to bryant
To: akbiotech at comcast.net
Cc: edebate at ndtceda.com
Date: Tuesday, August 5, 2008, 7:14 PM

Dr. K,
I'm sure you don't know me, though I am very aware of most of the people you refer to as examples. I coached NDT, CEDA and parli for over 20 years and qualified 25 teams to the NDT.
I understand your "real-world" analysis of how professionals should look. I am required to wear a tie daily as the Department Chair in an urban university setting and I actually teach classes on how students need to act and behave in professional interviews.
But, in the 20+ years I was a part of college debate, I never wore ties or blazers. Not as a competitor or as a coach. That was one of the things that attracted me most to NDT policy debate - no matter what one looked like, one's arguments were the focus of any evaluation. If we had been judged on the quality of our suits, I would never have even had the opportunity to win a debate scholarship to a small eastern Kentucky university and be the first member of my family to ever graduate college.
Many of the students I coached during my career were also from poor families. If they had been forced to adopt your standard for debate appearance, many of them would've also been denied the opportunity to compete in college debate. I remain convinced that debaters should dress comfortably, and in a manner they can afford.?My job was to help them develop arguments, not appearances.
Some of your examples leave me shaking my head - Tuna and John Meany, for example. A fact I bet you don't know: Both Tuna and I have hired Bill Shanahan in the past to work with our debaters. We both knew that while it was always a challenge to co-exist with someone so capable of scrutinizing the ethics of every decision, Bill was capable of accomplishing far more with debaters?than anyone known for their dapper trendy clothing. Bill put on no pretenses - he showed up for his hiring interview dressed virtually the same as you saw on the video. His sample lecture shocked a group of young Mormons by drawing semantic equivalencies between GOD and DOG. He mesmerized a campus by refusing to wear shoes, despite?the sub-zero winter weather of northern Utah.?The real irony is that Bill was the first?coach to have debaters run race kritiks of debate norms. ?
And you have obviously missed some periods of John and Tuna's sartorial evolution. 'Nuff said there.
Look, if you don't know Bill, you are likely to think he looks strange. I understand. But that's just part of Bill's?approach to life. He pushes EVERYONE to question their assumptions.?Bill and I did not get always get along, but focusing on his appearance seems to be, simply put, shallow. Have you noticed how not a single person in the video (CEDA Execs included) met your appearance standards? I think you simply may have to accept the fact that there are?different community appearance norms in college policy debate than there are on the high school circuit.
One last thing I need to say: I am very troubled by what I saw on the video. Like others, I wish I could've seen the entire video. I think that understanding of the conflict that immediately preceded the current video would provide a fuller context of understanding. Still, there is no excuse for?what took place. 
And, to be absolutely honest, I felt personal guilt as I watched that video. Seven years away from debate allows me the perspective to understand that many of my own actions as a coach?were indefensible. I recognize that a lot of what I thought I was doing to defend my debaters from the?various forms of unfairness
of institutional?debate simply helped establish a groundwork for the norm of uncivility that seems to currently prevail. I feel like shouting out props to the Towson posse for exposing just how bad?behavior?has become. I know I need to apologize to my own students, associates and colleagues for allowing my own belligerence to?make their experience with debate?less civil than it needed to me. Particularly to Steve Clemmons and Doug Dennis, I expressly want to apologize?for actions I now believe were rooted in racism. Maybe others were even worse than I was, but that doesn't negate that I feel ashamed for the part I played. 
My sincere hope is that the debate community can learn from the current experience and learn to act as if there was always a camera pointed at them. If this could possibly happen in a way that doesn't sacrifice people's careers, I think it is possible that some real progress might transpire.?
In any event, these issues are too significant to be linked to shallow concerns over appearance.
Back to work,
Louisville, KY

In a message dated 8/5/2008 5:55:02 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time, akbiotech at comcast.net writes:
Dear Bear:

Well, I am for real.? I was an attorney for fifteen years and I've 
worked in private industry the last ten years and I teach business 
school on an adjunct basis, and my students dress well because they want 
to work in business.? I do so accordingly because I need to set an 
example for them.? In the high school and college debate leagues around 
philly and locally here we dress quite well.? I was a prep school debate 
coach last year and I can assure you that last year and this year at 
PCFL and interac league matches many coaches wore ties, and the vast 
majority blazers.? All the years I organized urban debate for the 
Philadelphia Bar Ass'n, I always wore a tie, unless we were down to the 
last round of policy debate and it was finals and we had like five 
judges, I might then loosen my tie.? My supervising dean at my prep 
school wore a tie and jacket each and every day and this year he's 
working at an even better prep school in new york.? Upwardly mobile 
people dress the part.

I went to prep school.? I wore a tie every day for six years.? I believe 
in a dress code.? And, incidentally, so do many charter schools, urban 
debate leagues and urban reform movements, as well as faith based 
movements.?? They all believe in dress codes.? Dress codes at the high 
school level are very successful in reducing the incidence of crime 
especially in urban areas, and I'm certain I could get a cite on this if 
I spent more time on the? issue. 

And yes, I believe educators including debate coaches should dress well 
and act well and act as role models for their students. 

Certainly Dean Kathleen Hall Jameison of the Annenberg School believed 
this, John Meany believes this, and Tuna Snider, who is as bearded and 
hippieish as they come, has never made a fool of himself in the manner 
that Mr. Shanahan did in this video; to the contrary, Mr. Snider 
conducts himself in a very professional and rigidly academic manner, and 
has through his many years of fine academic experience has EARNED the 
right to dress any damn way he well pleases. 

Charlie Garvin harvard 74, NDT Champion, had really long hair, but he 
was a Rhodes Scholar, but when I saw him years later at the harvard 
centennial in 1992, he cut off all that hair and had a suit on.? In 
fact, of the more than 400 people at that centennial, not one single 
person had long hair or a long beard akin to Shanahan, and we had many 
many professors and law professors.? Larry Tribe has a smallish beard, 
but I can assure you from having spent time speaking with him that he is 
a rather quiet, low key person. 

On the video, Shanahan appears to both act and appear like a lunatic 
with a rage problem about to strike a defenseless woman.? Since she's 
african-american, it also appears to amount to a hate crime.? I could go 
on to list the number of chargeable offenses, but that would be 
pointless. The video simply appears to place Shanahan in the worst 
possible light.

Let's talk about Plato's cave and epistemology for a second.? Is reality 
the world of appearances or is there something other than what we see 
and hear?? Are you contending that there is some essence or form to 
Shanahan other than what we see and hear?? If so, what is it?? Is there 
a Shanahan-form that I am supposed to epistomologize and accept as real, 
as opposed to what I see and hear on videotape?? If so, is it any less 
crazy or weird than what the Shanahan-appearance is?

In my simple Quine--Reichenbach-Popper-Kant epistemology, things are 
what they appear to be.? If I see evidence of RNAi, there is RNAi.? If I 
see evidence of craziness because a man hasn't shaven for a long time, 
doesn't wear footwear and dresses like a bum, and then acts out 
accordingly for eight long, painful minutes on youtube, available 
nationally, well, then, into Plato's cave he goes, he is what he appears 
to be.? I'm not about to theorize /a priori/ that there is a good 
Shanahan, like there is god or mathematics.? That's just not necessary 
to my ontology or epistemology.? I believe in god, I believe in 
mathematics, I believe that all cretans are liars (and that Epimenides 
was a clever fellow) but I don't have to believe anything more than what 
I see or hear about Shanahan.

If there is an inner essence-Shanahan that you contend exists that we 
should be arguing is the real Shanahan, please, please, please explain 
it to me.? From what I read on the posts, the Shanahan-appearance on the 
youtube isn't the only one with anger problems; at least once of the 
posts indicates that Shanahan has had anger problems for a long, long 
time and has problems with anger management.?? People with those 
problems generally tend to have serotonin re-uptake issues (see science 
magazine and elsewhere) and would do better on SSRIs.? He should see a 
shrink and get some meds, and some anger management counseling, and stop 
giving debate a bad name with such rants on youtube.? He may have 
underlying depressive issues as well contributing to his anger and lack 
of grooming.

Sorry to paint it like a shrink, but that's what I see and hear.

I like to see normal people coaching my kids.? My oldes kid is a 
straight A+ student in 9th grade.? She's already a hell of a debater and 
a terrific lacrosse player.? If you think I'm turning her over to some 
nut job who looks like rasputin, you're crazy.? I want her to be with 
sports coaches and debate coaches who look and act professional and are 
moderate in their dispositions.

I think what you're missing here is the parent's point of view.? There's 
no way I'm shelling out 50 thousand bucks for some professor who looks 
like Shanahan or acts like Shanahan.? And be a fundraiser too? 

You may not appreciate this, but I'm middle of the road joe.? I like 
golf, the seashore, watching the ballgame, and I don't decide which 
candidate to vote for until the debates are actually over.?? To me, the 
guy appears a little bizarre.? If you want to make a kritik argument 
about my worldview, go at it. but I would point out that Max Weber, a 
long time ago, in Politics as a Vocation, pointed out the virtues of 
professors avoiding entanglement in politics.? Of course, at that time, 
the professors of Germany were entangled in right wing nationalist 
militarist politics, and today the university is entangled in left wing 
politics, but is not the message of Prof. Weber still to be listened to 

--art kyriazis

MWBRYANT at aol.com wrote:
> In a message dated 8/5/2008 3:23:18 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time,? 
> akbiotech at comcast.net writes:
> In? addition to the foregoing, I guess I would have to add that in 
> addition to? appearing to be very much out of his mind during the video, 
> Coach Shanahan? was barefoot, poorly dressed, poorly kempt, had at least 
> several months? growth of beard, very long uncombed hair and appeared 
> very much like a? person who was living on a street or a homeless 
> individual.? ? The very last thing he looked like was a responsible 
> teacher, coach or? person that I would entrust the care 
> ______________________________________________________________________
> Are you for real?
> I'm not defending any action on that video (on either party), but the? notion 
> that additional blame needs to be focused on Shanahan for the way he? dresses 
> is, simply, ridiculous.
> Shanahan has looked that way for as long as anyone can remember.? I can 
> pretty much guarantee that he was dressed in that manner when he? interviewed for 
> the position at Fort Hayes. Shanahan has always gone? barefoot. 
> Your standard was not adhered to by anyone on that video (CEDA executives? 
> included) and is open to so many angles of kritik that the mind boggles at which 
>? one to launch first.
> Your concerns about the behavior displayed on the video are justified. Your? 
> criticisms of his appearance opens a window to your own worldview that I don't 
>? think many will find very substantive or appealing.
> Bear
> Louisville, KY
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