[eDebate] Pie-Throwing in Debate

Justin Green jmgreen
Mon Mar 17 18:29:57 CDT 2008

While at a recent tournament a school in the cross-examination threw a
pie in the face of one of our debaters.  This pie-throwing was part of
a larger argument about the value of pie-throwing as a political
strategy.  This method of resistance is well documented and supported
by academics/activists (see "Bakers without Borders", "pie-action:THE
POLITICAL PIE" www.pieman.org, and "Theoretical Pie-Throwing"
http://wso.williams.edu/~jharwell/object.pdf).  The argument has merit
- amongst a wide variety of scholars.

I greatly respect the program that engaged in this strategy.  It is my
understanding that KU employed this strategy a few years ago against
West Georgia, so it is not new to the debate community.  To my
knowledge, there has been no clarification about this practice by the
community or our leaders.  Because teams were utilizing arguments at
their disposal, I wish not to engage in personal attacks against any
school or person who employed the practice.

It might be beneficial merely offer the questions: Is pie throwing in
debates acceptable to the community?  Does it justify other physical
contact currently banned?

The CEDA Constitution:

"....students should remember that debate is an oral, interactive
process. It is the debater's duty to aspire to the objective of
effective oral expression of ideas. Behaviors which belittle, degrade,
demean, or otherwise dehumanize others are not in the best interest of
the activity because they interfere with the goals of education and
personal growth."

This part of the Constitution stipulates: "Provisions of this article
are not subject to adjudication" (by CEDA officials).

So, I am petitioning the entire community both for "legal" reasons and
because discussion amongst all is probably more beneficial than just
the CEDA Exec Committee.

Objection 1 The argument by definition of many of its advocates
demeans and belittles.  See above sources.  Many of the pie-throwers
say that it is good to belittle CEO's like Bill Gates and politicians.

Objection 2 Direct Physical Contact within debates amongst competitors
is not appropriate.  Does this open the door to  tackling opponents as
part of a "wrestling by activists" strategy?

Additional potential arguments:
Food Allergies: Some might have allergic reactions.
Vegan Arguments: Some might feel very offended by making forced
physical contact with whipped cream.

Looking for discussion,


Justin Green
Kansas State Debate

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