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I have done such "critical" cross postings on three occasions:
1. Horrible sexist comments made to and about female debaters;
2. Racist slurs directed at Islam;
3. Advocacy of mass murder of the innocent.
I have also cross posted entry lists for APDA & NPDA national tournament
entries in an attempt to show that parli does not rob programs from other
schools and formats, but tends to develop programs which have not been
traditional team debate schools. You didn't seem to mind that.
I am proud of each of these.
You seem to have missed important parts of my posting. Let me review them for
"Don't make any judgments about APDA based on this, subscribe and read for
yourself. However, we should know that other debate cultures are different in
some ways we need to understand."
Well, that seems to answer your indications that I am out to slander APDA.
You said, " The only conclusion I can reach is that
Dr. Snyder is trying, through association, to attack APDA and perhaps
parliamentary debate as a whole." I ask for no judgment and I ask people to
subscribe and learn for themselves.
How about this part of my posting...
"I must confess that I often select items which really tick me off to share
with you. So far people have appreciated it, and a couple of times people
with unsavory remarks have been engaged backchannel by CEDA people."
I am shocked and disappointed that those on the Parliamentary listservs DO
NOT engage these outrageous postings. Instead of letting my voice be one of
the few disagreeing with this stuff, crossposting allows others to take them
to task in backchannel mail. Sure, some have disagreed with the original
offensive postings, but they have been few and far between. Advocates of
these ideas need to be confronted, not coddled, and if you will not engage
them, if you will stand idly by as your "colleagues" advocate mass murder of
the innocent, that is your problem. It is my duty to hold their feet to the
Your posting also troubles me in other ways.
"This is not intended to evaluate the content of either Mr. Levitan's or
Dr. Snyder's (sic!) post. "
No, of course not, let's not discuss the content of this issue. I hope you
feel satisfied by your silence.
Mr. Dirgo writes: "I'm not going to attempt a defense of parliamentary debate
for the CEDA crowd, nor am I interested in attacking CEDA -- we all know
arguments, and frankly it's time to put them to rest and establish some
mutual understanding. But that will be difficult to do if deliberate
attempts are made to ridicule our counterparts, through such mechanisms
as cross-posting out of context in order to "expose" it for the "trash"
that it reputedly is, as well as the organization which spawned it."
It is not "trash?" What do you call it when people call for bombing the
innocent as a precautionary measure?
Creating mutual understanding involves exchange of information. I need to
understand why our sister listservs tolerate this kind of discourse without
calling it to task. The level of discussion on sexism in APDA was a good
example. A number of articulate women raised the issue and were mocked and
discouraged, and the concensus seemed to be that the members didn't want to
talk about it. They were told to shut up and keep the system. Mutual
understanding can lead to mutual respect when we know what to respect. I am
not here to engage in a pro- or anti-Parli public relations campaign. I am
here, as a critically thinking human individual with a value system I am
proud of, to stand against violence, racism, and sexism. If exposing those
makes parli look bad, that may be an indication that there is a problem.
Finally, you make an interesting point:
"Let me phrase it this way, for the CEDA folks -- how would you feel if
there were parliamentary debaters skimming your listserv, selecting the
messages which were most likely to look bad to an external audience, and
then forwarding _annotated_ snippets of those messages to people who did
not know the author or circumstances which led to the initial text?"
They already have that. I do it. I will cross post the next repulsive sexist,
racist, or pro-violent statement on CEDA-L. However, we do not have very many
of those. Look for a future cross posting about CEDA to the parli listservs
on an unrelated subject. What is out of context about Mr. Leivtan's
statement? Yeah, it makes him look bad (and those who go on to agree with
him). So what? I challenge my academic colleagues who make these kinds of
statements, I challenge my debaters who make them, I respond to the news
media, I just do not stand idly by as people advocate mass murder of the
innocent as a "precautionary" measure. I am not picking on parli. I do a
weekly television show and a radio show which allow me to speak out as well.
By the way, I have never mentioned parli on either of these, and I have been
on radio for 11 years and on TV for 102+ shows. Don't think in a world full
of evil I reserve my attention only for your forensic garden of delights.
Who is closer to your ideal of the "debater?" Those who rise to speak against
injustice or those who move on to other topics?
I will publicize and criticize racist, sexist, and pro-violence statements
whenever I see them. You and others may be comfortable reading them on your
computer sceen and remaining silent, but I cannot.
Finally, you accuse my of being a liar. Well, you call it "hostile
misrepresentation." Here is how you put it:
"I have no doubt it could be done quite successfully, just as it could be
the APDA or NPDA lists -- but would it represent any truth, or would it
simply be an exercise in hostile misrepresentation? I think it is the latter.
I cannot be sure that was what Dr. Snyder intended, but it is certainly what
he accomplished, and it was wrong."
In our neck of the woods if you challenge someone for "hostile
misrepresentation" you have to either prove your charge or lose. How have I
misrepresented the remarks I quote? You may not like it, but they said what
Are you so in love with parli that you would tolerate advocacy of mass murder
as a precautionary measure because to speak out against it might hurt your
precious activity? My experience shows that any human community, especially
a debate community, is improved by facing the tough issues. I encourage all
debate formats to do so.
After I lurk on all of the listservs for a couple of years and observing at
some parli tournaments I will have some general thoughts to share on parli.
Until then, I will be learning, but I will be speaking out on issues such as
these. I have never formally indicted or ridiculed parli because I need to
learn more about it before I do.
For now, here are the critical ideas you may be missing, as indicated by your
1. Ideas have conseqeunces. If you accept ideas like this, you tolerate them,
and it changes how you make decisions.
2. Language is symbolic action. Kenneth Burke showed us that the horrors of
WW2 were there to be seen in the pages of _Mein Kampf_. I learned from that.
3. Violence, racism, sexism are best destroyed by forcing their advocates to
explicitly defend and explain their positions in public, in which case they
implode based on their illogic.
I am sad that you seem to be more concerned about the PR image of parli than
the idea that bombing innocent people is an appropriate response to the
Oklahoma tragedy even if those countries were not involved.
"To remain neutral in the struggle between the powerful and the powerless is
not to wash ones hands of it, but to side with the powerful." -Paolo Freire
Alfred C. Snider AKA Tuna
University of Vermont
Archive created by Jonathan Stanton (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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