Rollin' Like Sisyphus

Last One Out, Please Kill The Lights

Posted in A Chronicle Of Decline by Huckleberry on April 22, 2014

Play me off, Sundheim!

Play me off, Sundheim!

One wonders, if it were possible to illustrate to those in attendance at the Lincoln v Douglas debate, what the nature of the art of debating would become in a scant 160~ years, whether they’d even bother with the damn thing.
I guess no:

On March 24, 2014 at the Cross Examination Debate Association (CEDA) Championships at Indiana University, two Towson University students, Ameena Ruffin and Korey Johnson, became the first African-American women to win a national college debate tournament, for which the resolution asked whether the U.S. president’s war powers should be restricted. Rather than address the resolution straight on, Ruffin and Johnson, along with other teams of African-Americans, attacked its premise. The more pressing issue, they argued, is how the U.S. government is at war with poor black communities.

Of course.
Well, it may have been that these teams really felt that US government warring with blacks was the more pressing issue, despite no one asking anything even related to that at all, other than war. That she could have, apparently, just as easily discussed the overrated musical group WAR is just how the game’s played, so don’t H8.
Or I’ll just toss out another theory and suggest, just possibly, that Mzs. Ruffin and Johnson simply did not know what the War Powers act was, what it dealt with, any examples of its use, any scholarship for or against it in whole or in part, and instead went with the one thing that has obviously worked so well for them on term papers and in-class essays – puffing up about racial grievances.
A little more detail about how it played out should provide a clue.

In the final round, Ruffin and Johnson squared off against Rashid Campbell and George Lee from the University of Oklahoma, two highly accomplished African-American debaters with distinctive dreadlocks and dashikis. Over four hours, the two teams engaged in a heated discussion of concepts like “nigga authenticity” and performed hip-hop and spoken-word poetry in the traditional timed format.

I’m just going to give you a few moments to let all of that settle in your mind before continuing.
Now, surely to win The Championship, it couldn’t have all been as clownish as it’s described.
Let’s find out.

At one point during Lee’s rebuttal, the clock ran out but he refused to yield the floor. “Fuck the time!” he yelled.

Surely that had to have the starched collars that run these kinds of things in a tizzy.

Joe Leeson Schatz, Director of Speech and Debate at Binghamton University, is encouraged by the changes in debate style and community. “Finally, there’s a recognition in the academic space that the way argument has taken place in the past privileges certain types of people over others,” he said. “Arguments don’t necessarily have to be backed up by professors or written papers. They can come from lived experience.”

“OK, Huck,” you say.
“Surely all of this ridiculousness is just an impassioned new style of debate, contained to the stage of play.”

“Judges have been very angry, coaches have screamed and yelled. People have given profanity-laced tirades, thrown furniture, and both sides of the ideological divide have used racial slurs,” he said.

Oh, what the Hell does that stupid cracker know anyway?
But seriously, the last one out of the room, please shut off the lights.


I forgot to bring up the one big question I had with this story.
Presumably, the Ruffin/Johnson v Cambell/Lee contretemps featured two teams and four “debaters” who differed not at all with the idea that the US government was at war with poor black communities.
So what in the Hell was there to debate?
What did these two teams do to fill four hours of yelling at everybody and laying down sick rhymes?
I would bet all the money in my pockets against all the money in Cambell’s pockets that TEAM Ruffin/Johnson and TEAM Cambell/Lee were 100% simpatico.
So not only is it devolving Competitive Debate into well-dressed poo flinging, it’s flinging poo simply for the sake of wasting everyone’s time.


3 Responses

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  1. kfc said, on April 30, 2014 at 20:17

    Great picture.

    • Huckleberry said, on April 30, 2014 at 21:46

      Yes, I should have given you credit.
      My apologies.
      I owe you a coke.

      • kfc said, on May 9, 2014 at 20:53

        Naw, I’m not THAT desperate for attention, all obsessive Fb’ing evidence to the contrary. Besides, it’s not even my image, and that book was clearly written for you. Still, I did madly search the addendum…

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