[eDebate] Shame...

Kevin Sanchez let_the_american_empire_burn
Sat Aug 23 01:56:43 CDT 2008

nietzsche enacts a thought-provoking reversal of causality in 'twilight of the
idols' under the heading of "the error of confusing cause and effect"...


he writes, "the newspaper reader says: this party destroys itself by making
such a mistake. my higher politics says: a party that makes such a mistake
has already reached its end; it has lost its sureness of instinct."

in explaining this, i sometime use the analogy of a wife who refuses the
sexual advances of her husband by saying (or so goes the sexiest cliche),

'not tonight darling, i've got a headache'.

neither nietzsche or us (nor the husband, if he's not naive) typically takes
this excuse at face value. rather we reverse the causal chain: instead of
assuming the headache results in not getting any, we assume there's a
lack of desire which results in a polite excuse (and not getting any). in his
more fiery, romantic moments, we might imagine nietzsche saying, 'if a
mere headache can prevent the full expression of a couple's love, there's
something deficient in the couple's love, not the wife's head'. or to return
to the above quotation, we might say the marriage has "lost its sureness
of instinct".

several posts now have called out those who originally put up the youtube
video as to blame for bill shanahan's dismissal, while others maintain that
bill shanahan is personally responsible for his behavior.

without choosing between these options (as they're not exclusive of one
another), briefly consider a nietzschean reversal: instead of saying that
debate has been hurt by this youtube video, what about saying that if a
mere youtube video could hurt debate, then debate has already lost its

instead of attributing the cause of bill's firing to his actions, or to those
who posted the video of his actions on the internet, perhaps we should
attribute it one simple tragic fact: we were too weak to prevent it.

if some twit university president with a warped picture of the activity can
put the inventor of the kritik over his knee in order to teach us all some
hackneyed lesson in civility without so much as an peep from anyone in
a public position to question, criticize, or condemn this violation, then it's
not 30-seconds of internet video that's the problem.

stop scapegoating a nebulous 'smear campaign' and start wondering why
there isn't a sufficiently powerful coalition of debate teachers and students
capable of interrupting the next course in non-confrontational rhetoric that
may make use of another pedagogical example.

it's clear that meddlers like him only respond to bad press. maybe it's time
to give him some. what conceivable excuse could there be for punishing
fort hays' debaters for the offenses of their coach? he benches a squad
that got to the quarterfinals of c.e.d.a., and c.e.d.a. mumbles (to itself)
about 'building bridges'? guilt-by-association SHOULD make us indignant.

because sometimes the shame resides in biting one's tongue.

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