[eDebate] Fall Out & The High School World

Kevin Sanchez let_the_american_empire_burn
Mon Aug 18 07:26:40 CDT 2008

...or, 'daddy, would you like some sausage?'

in reply to,

there's a wisdom best expressed by colloquialism: 'i love sausage, but i don't
want to know how it's made'.

thanks to the internet, parents of debaters who'd never attend a tournament
can now watch actual rounds - or even kritik lectures...


my pitch to parents goes like this, if your kids don't become more articulate,
intelligent, and hard-working in course of their experience with this activity,
then, by all means, cut funding. but if they do, then it's best not to concern
yourself with the process.

you don't need to immerse yourself in the hell that is military training - the
drill sergeants' verbal abuse, the homophobic hazings, and so on - in order
to appreciate the clean-cut soldier who arrives on your doorstep. what they
chant about wanting to do to eskimo womyn when it's mighty cold has little
bearing on their valor.

so you've seen one of our drill sergeants make an ass of himself on video.
what isn't available on youtube are the decades he's dedicated to teaching
young people to think and argue.

warhol told us we'd all be famous for 15 minutes. what he left out was that
that 15 minutes could somehow cancel what we'd shirked fame and fortune
to spend a lifetime trying to achieve.

if all you know about predominantly black churches in america is 10-second
snippets selected from jeremiah wright's sermons, then your decision not
to attend one relies on a grossly distorted picture. and if all you know about
cross-examination debate is 'shanahan puts the butt in rebuttal', then your
decision not to allow your kids to participate will be crudely ill-informed.

as massive as bill's ass may be, i can promise you it doesn't comprise the
entirety of the activity.

here's a video, for example, that has far fewer than 200,000 views...


therein calum matheson claims that one of his favorite debate arguments
is 'pollution good'. he gives an implicit defense of debate as the only place
where ludicrous and controversial ideas can be openly entertained.

but step back from *what* he's saying for a moment and take in *how*
he's saying it - note the clarity, the patient, steady rhythm, the thoughtful,
considerate tone.

believe it or not, for many students that polish only comes after many a
season spent blithering through obscure, wacky arguments at inaudible
speeds, as a good jazz musician might spew derivative noises for years
before hitting upon their own original and beautiful style.

i'm saying, let your children find their own style. the cooking methods may
perplex the uninitiated, but the final product is more often than not hearty
and worthwhile.



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