[eDebate] Where the Wild Things Aren't

Josh jbhdb8
Tue Oct 20 13:49:06 CDT 2009


I remember reading a very well considered article about debate being a
special enclave where everyone from communists to anarchists to
post-modernists could/would be welcomed and protected within an inclusive

It can certainly be argued that things like "the code of conduct" and the
"policy debate forums" are attempts at making what we do "safer" to the
outside world, I worry more than a little (after decades of foulcault
debates) that we are beginning to "tame" our wild things to make us all fit
into an outside world acceptable package.

This is certainly not to denigrate the fine work of Gordon (maybe the only
thing aside from the Yankees I have ever disagreed with him about) or Jeff
(who is one of my oldest friends in the activity) but this move seems, at
best, non-organic to me.

Many of you will be suprised I take this position, but those people probably
misread many of the things I have posted in the past.  My position was never
that "wild things" should not exist or that we should "silence" or
"discipline" them.  My position was to present some arguments that could be
made against people in debate rounds when they were "wild."  Reason was the
emphasis of my arguments (actually the crux of my arguments have always been
best educational practices/experiences).  To many, these are calls to the
same thing (judges decision disciplines - teachers grading disciplines - etc
etc) but to me it was a call to dialog between people on the so-called
inside (tradition) and outside (wild things) in order to find a place we
could all have meaningful discussions together.  In other words, I value the
ORGANIC process of good arguments beating bad arguments.

If, the arguments were all made for this forums value...but people still
prefer receiving and discussing things on edebate...why are we trying to
"force" a move to this space?  Talking about those reasons should be the
basis of an argument that attempts to persuade the larger community to vote
with its feet and participatate in this space instead of an alternative

I have heard the arguments from my professional colleagues but remain
unconvinced that the best solution is to participate here and let edebate
die the death of a thousand swords.  I know there is a kind of legitimacy
that only a cleaned up Times Square could provide to a revitalized New York
City and that a starbucks on every corner gives instead of an ethnic
deli....But I really miss the old NYC.  I don't want debate to become
Giulianni's or Bloomberg's debate 2.0

Part of me likes the world where outsiders, outliers, pirates, and rogues
roam the bandwidth.  I think we lose something very special about our
activity when we stop embracing the corners (dark or otherwise) of our
debate reality.

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