November 22, 2002


The first college debate tournament I attended was hosted by Penn. I thought I had a rough time because my partner kept wanting to run cases about Star Wars and we ended up losing more than we won. However, I now realize that I got off easy.

Being crammed into unlocked common rooms is the norm for tournament housing, and you've got to expect a touch of uneasyness when a horde of dorky debaters takes over a shared college space. But I can't begin to understand how a Penn student finds himself walking around West Philly with a container of motor oil in his hand and mischief in his heart. Of course, this is the campus where a peace protester self-immolated a few years back, also around the time of the debate tournament ... so it would seem there's some kinda rhetoric-related bad vibe going 'round.

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