[eDebate] Fall Out & The High School Worl

michael hester uwgdebate
Mon Aug 18 12:21:30 CDT 2008


i think you should consider some of these quotes that freak you out in the
context of what we in the college debate world are experiencing. one of our
peers, a dear friend to many in the community, has his job on the chopping
block because he mooned someone. a man who has given a lot of his life to
the activity, positively influenced dozens if not hundreds of people, is at
risk of getting fired b/c he mooned someone.

so, when the reporters asks one of us if we think this incident was worse
than Darfur, or just slightly less tragic than Columbine, we may not be
thinking -

"hmm, i want to make sure that parents of high school children know that i
strongly oppose mooning and therefore i need to come down hard on this"

but rather, we may be thinking -

"holy crap, a man who has been the epitome of fairness (even if crude) and
champion of intellectual debate (even when wild and wooly), a friend who i
have never doubted for on second would have my back when the chips are down,
may lose his job because he mooned someone, maybe i can help calm the waters
by pointing out that there are slightly worse things in the world and that
we'd all benefit by taking a deep breath here"

i sympathize with Tara's take. she, and other high school coaches already
have a tough job, and some college folks getting riled up and acting the
fool is not something they should have to explain, but they do. and i do all
i can as often as i can to preach the "Debate is Great" gospel. but there's
other things in play here, and people who want to allow the mob to take over
and turn this into a witch-hunt where we demonize mooning and promise to
excommunicate the bad people are missing that fact.

i gotta tell you, the pious and pedantic tone of your comments is rubbing me
the wrong way. "so clueless to the effect of their words"?? um, no, i'm
banking on my words having an effect. the hour long conversation i had with
the provost of Fort Hays? i damn well PRAY those words have the right
effect. the two hour conversation i had with the AJC reporter, which started
off as a defensive interview about this incident and turned into a
constructive talk in which she came to understand just what it we do that's
so valuable and printed a story that not only put debate in a positive light
but brought a broader perspective to what was becoming a myopic spotlight on
one incident? yeah, i was HOPING my words would have an effect on her and
luckily they did.

for someone who has no connection to college debate and the community in
which this incident took place, this may seem like an easy call as to how to
describe the situation.

for those of us for whom this isn't just an academic question of "proper
behavior," but rather a personal trauma because our friends' livelihoods
hang in the balance., we may think it's not "clueless" to try a balancing
act so we don't throw the billy out with the bathwater.

hester

On Mon, Aug 18, 2008 at 12:45 PM, David Glass <gacggc at gmail.com> wrote:

> Just to make Tara's point more bluntly - it would be suicide for any
> high school coach
> to speak to parents in the way that Kevin suggested.
>
> On the high school teams I coached, it was a one-strike-and-you're-out
> rule on drugs, alcohol, and cigarettes (yes - if you smoked one
> cigarette at a tournament you were off the team).
>
> These images are potentially devastating for high school programs -
> and the quotes that have
> been posted, and given to the media, where other coaches seem to
> normalize these behaviors ("this is no big deal") are
> counter-productive, to say the least, and, also false... these
> behaviors are not normal or usual - so why would anyone think it is ok
> to make it them seem like they are not unexpected in debate?    It is
> shocking to see debate people who are so clueless as to the effect
> of their words.
>
> David Glass
> (also a former NDCA president)
> _______________________________________________
> eDebate mailing list
> eDebate at www.ndtceda.com
> http://www.ndtceda.com/mailman/listinfo/edebate
>
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