[eDebate] Easy way to solve the PR Problem
Wed Oct 1 23:03:35 CDT 2008
you know what's f-u-c-k-i-n-g insulting? - the notion that towson university
won c.e.d.a. nationals by accusing their opponents of racism. why is such
implicature not fervently opposed when floated by news sources like THE
CHRONICLE OF HIGHER EDUCATION?
what's less insulting, though equally misguided, is attributing problems in
the activity to bugaboos like 'postmodernism'. take this sentence:
"debaters continue to push the envelope ... - still enraging people who
see debate as something serious and important and true, rather than as
an intellectual sport."
leveling debate to mere 'intellectual sport' is a problem inherent in having
to argue both for and against a policy proposition. needles to say, there's
a strong defense of switch-side debating which begins with the premise
that intellectual sports and serious, important inquiries into truth are not
necessarily exclusive of one another. and what's so incredibly ironic is it's
often those studying so-called 'postmodern' literature who adamantly take
this premise to task, and are among those most enraged by the tradition
of debate as a sophistic game.
enter scott elliott to apologetically "pee on your parade" (and himself)...
what at first appears to originate from the same generic view of those
debaters who 'continue to push the envelope' actually originates from
the exact opposite place: elliott's problem seems to be that debaters are
taking debate *too seriously*. debaters who actually believe in debate as
a vehicle for expression, who believe in the value of personal advocacy,
and/or who attempt to accomplish various 'projects' are willfully blind
to the fact that this is 'just a game', an exercise in competitive sophistry.
thus no debate argument could ever be worth potentially offending your
opponents, or worth risking the continuance of the game. "run 'genocide
is good'," elliott encourages us, "but do it with a smile and in khakis".
in sum, keep up appearances. dress better. if you feel the need to call
your debaters 'fuck-tards' in an edebate post, for an example, then have
the decency to do so with polite dashes: "f--tards".
and when confronted with the p.r.-fallout caused by an incident in which
*coaches* went beserk after an otherwise well-run round, the solution is
both easy and obvious: forget about perserving (the "illusion" of) debate
as a space for academic freedom and call upon coaches to "rein in their
i submit to those concerned that if you're interested in pinpointing the
chief enemy of debate as an activity that's serious, important, or true,
there's no need to haul out the usual suspects of postmodernity - his
name is scott elliott, and he's truly inspiring: "we really can prevent
the inmates from running the asylum."
- not as long as there are still programs that listen to you, scott.
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