[eDebate] Fall Out & The High School World

Kevin Sanchez let_the_american_empire_burn
Mon Aug 18 13:10:37 CDT 2008


tara tate writes, "there is a huge difference between Calum's 'pollution good'
lecture and
the youtube video."

of course. i intended no comparison.

"Bluntly put, I don't think I will be calling on you
to rationalize the benefits of
high school debate to my administration
or parents any time soon..."

nor should you. all i wanted to do was give those involved in doing so some
potentially useful analogies: sausages, military training, black churches, jazz,
and so on.

mike hester added high school football, which is probably the best one yet.

you write of his arguments that they "assume a world of extremely rational
individuals". for my part, i not only assume this, but insist on it. i consider
the presumption of rationality to be the starting-point for any discussion, not
some fantasy-world which i wish would come to be. 

"why should I have to fight to construct a case for debate?"

because parents and the community-at-large pay for debate, and they
deserve a good answer as to what they're paying for (although you admit
this isn't a problem for you at glenbrook south, thankfully).

"This job is hard enough without having to constantly 'cover' for my
colleagues ... We make 'selling debate' much harder on ourselves than
we have to."

i suppose this gets to what kind of forum you want. for me, a forum that
fails to protect controversial speech isn't worth defending, even though a
forum without controversy is probably easier to defend. if we both believe
in this kind of forum, then this means creating an academic space where,
following calum matheson's interview, even the ludicrous is indulged.

bill shanahan, however, violated the norms of this academic space by
engaging in degrading behavior. he's been subject to criticism and has
admitted his mistake. his actions don't represent the debate community,
but the reason you shouldn't call for his firing is because this easier path
leads to the opposite forum we want to have. (i hope) no one is asking
you to 'cover' for him; his actions have already been uncovered, in more
senses of the word than i care to revisit. but he broke no law, has given
a career to the activity, and cutting him loose now would set the wrong
precedent - that the protection afforded to controversy (and the heated
exchanges which sometimes go along with it) can be revoked by poor

perhaps i'm naive,  but i don't think you have to mis-advertise debate in
order to 'sell' it. my point (to parents) was, the picture you'll see of this
activity will always be distorted, no matter how many youtube videos or
edebate posts you watch or read. so trust in the ultimate product - the
skill-set your child acquires - because whether it's law or journalism or
politics or education or sausage-making, a lot goes down that may look
bad when isolatedly extrapolated ...but like the man says,

'those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who
could not hear the music'.



Be the filmmaker you always wanted to be?learn how to burn a DVD with Windows?.
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