December 20, 2007

Debate Circuit

Intelligence Squared US is an unfortunately-named program of live, Oxford-style debates.

I heard a piece of the debate on affirmative action on NPR the other night. I was electrified by how good it was as an example of truly solid debate. Great analysis, awesome speakers, real clash.

There have been a ton of presidential debates this year and none of them really worth watching. Rhetoric doesn't work best in 90 second chunks or even 3 minute chunks. Debate works when there is clash and time to evolve that clash over successive rounds of argument.

I highly recommend Tim Wise's opening argument against the resolution. It made me fondly remember college debate god John Oleske who railed as righteously on behalf of affirmative action in the North American Debate Championships of 1997.

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