Howl! 21

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Debate is out. Sooo 2008. No longer will an idea be discussed from several points of view with reasoned argument weighing pros and cons among listeners open to persuasion.

Instead there are to be “feelings” contests. Whoever can prove “I feel more intensely about this or that than you do”, will be the winner.

I am more emotional than thou,” is the implied motto of the exercise.

Contestants who can shout loudest and cry longest stand the best chance of winning.

A good name for this new kind of competition would be “a Howl“. The contestants might be called “Howlers“. The graphic on their logo might be a wolf howling at the moon.

The object of the participants is to arrive at “the new truth”. (It is not entirely new: there is precedent in religion, and in the doctrine of Wagnerian/Nazi ideology, that “truth is what you feel”.)

The object for the audience is not to consider points of view and arrive at an opinion. The object is catharsis. Leave drained, and you’ve had a good night out.

The Atlantic reports – rather sympathetically – on a recent bout:

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.

This US government? The Obama administration? With Eric Holder heading the Department of Justice and refusing to prosecute New Panthers who intimidated voters at a polling station, on the grounds that they are “his people”?  Yep, that’s the one.    

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. At one point during Lee’s rebuttal, the clock ran out but he refused to yield the floor. “Fuck the time!” he yelled. His partner Campbell, who won the top speaker award at the National Debate Tournament two weeks later, had been unfairly targeted by the police at the debate venue just days before, and cited this personal trauma as evidence for his case against the government’s treatment of poor African-Americans.

This year wasn’t the first time this had happened. In the 2013 championship, two men from Emporia State University, Ryan Walsh and Elijah Smith, employed a similar style and became the first African-Americans to win two national debate tournaments. Many of their arguments, based on personal memoir and rap music, completely ignored the stated resolution, and instead asserted that the framework of collegiate debate has historically privileged straight, white, middle-class students.

Tournament participants from all backgrounds say they have found some of these debate strategies offensive. Even so, the new style has received mainstream acceptance, sympathy, and awards.

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.

Such as those who can think rationally and express their thoughts cogently.

“Arguments don’t necessarily have to be backed up by professors or written papers. They can come from lived experience.”

And my pain is greater than your pain, so there – I win.

One thing is clear: In a community accustomed to hashing out every possible argument, this debate will continue. The uncontested benefit of the debate format is that everyone receives equal time to speak … 

Wai-ait a mo! Isn’t timing to be fucked?

Answer: Now that’s just the sort of thing that must not be allowed. Demands for consistency will exclude whole classes of people. Not everyone can be consistent, you know? But everyone can feel … 

So although timing is to be fucked, it’s a cool thing to hold on to …

… something that drew many minority students to debate in the first place, said Korey Johnson. “No matter how people feel about my argument, they have to listen to me for all of my speeches, everything I have to say, they can’t make me stop speaking,” she said.

Dennis Prager sees more clearly that there is extreme racism in all this. He writes at Townhall:

When Americans over the age of, let us say, 45, look at any of the iconic paintings of America’s Founders – the signing of the Declaration of Independence, the signing of the Constitution, George Washington crossing the Delaware, any of the individual portraits of the Founders – what do they see? They see great men founding a great country….

Increasingly only conservatives see pictures of greatness. More and more Americans – that includes the entire left and many universities attendees who were indoctrinated by left-wing professors – now see rich, white, self-interested males.

The left-wing trinity of race, gender and class has prevailed. The new dividing lines are no longer good and bad or excellent and mediocre, but white and non-white, male and female, and rich and poor. Instead of seeing great human beings in those paintings of the Founders, Americans have been taught to see rich, white, (meaning – by definition – selfish, bigoted, racist, sexist) males.

In colleges throughout America, students are taught to have disdain for the white race. I know this sounds incredible, or at least exaggerated. It is neither.

For example, from the day they enter college, many students are taught about white privilege – how innately advantaged white students (and all other whites are). Last week, the president of Western Washington University posed the question on the university’s website: “How do we make sure that in future years we are not as white as we are today?” …

Inner city young blacks who work hard in school are routinely chastised by other black youth for “acting white”.

Regarding white privilege, last year, three academics at the University of Rhode Island wrote in The Chronicle of Higher Education:

The American Psychological Association’s educational goals for the psychology major include sociocultural and international awareness, with learning outcomes regarding mastery of concepts related to power and privilege. Other professional organizations, including the American Sociological Association, have developed similar learning goals for teaching in higher education. Instructors have been charged with teaching their white students to understand their own privileged positions in society relative to those of marginalized groups.

And be heartily ashamed of it. They should spend the rest of their student days repenting.

The key point here is that the word “values” never appears. Instead of asking what values made America’s Founders great, the left asks what race, gender and class privileges enabled those men to found America. Instead of asking what values does the white majority (or, for that matter, on some campuses, the Asian majority) live by in order to succeed, and how can we help inculcate those values among more less successful people of all racial and ethnic groups, the left asks what privileges do whites have that enable them to get into colleges and graduate at a higher rate than blacks and Latinos.

The undermining of the very concept of values was starkly made clear last month at a national inter-college debate tournament. ..

And he goes on to relate what happened at the March 24 CEDA Championships at Indiana University, quoting The Atlantic report, and comments:

In a national intercollegiate debate contest, a black debating team won by transforming the topic of the debate, one that had nothing to do with race, into a race question.

But to object to this, or to argue that a team might be disqualified for yelling “f— the time” when told it had gone over the time limit, or to ask what performing hip-hop has to do with the topic “whether the U.S. president’s war powers should be restricted” – is now deemed to act white.

This is another victory for the left. And another defeat for standards, for truth and for the values embodied by the men in the paintings of the Founders.

Well, we’d all better get used to it. If you want to go to a university, if you want to get a degree, remember: reason, logic, intellect are OUT. They are too white and male.

Howling is IN.

For regularly participating Howlers, training in opera singing is advised and might even become compulsory.

Scientists, mathematicians, logicians, engineers, lawyers, doctors, businessmen are advised to stay away.

If you’re placing bets, expect women to win more often than men – especially if the team is feminist, as complaining is their schtick.

Expect Leftists to beat Rightists invariably.

This is the way the world ends, not with a whimper but a howl.