I get the paper every weekend because a very thoughtful former tenant in my building failed to forward her subscription. The landlord says that this is very much in character and is exactly the sort of thing that led to her eviction. My co-worker here at the big bad grad union also gets the New York Times, but for her it's an annual Christmas gift from her parents.
Anyway, I mention this because this afternoon I finally got around to reading last Sunday's New York Times Magazine and I wanted to share a couple of paragraphs with assembled Bellmania.
This is taken from an article about Liberty University's powerhouse debate squad:
O'Donnell and his coaches scout the other teams. Liberty knew that one of its opponents in Annapolis would probably argue that the Chinese should be pressured because they discriminate against their Muslim minority. In the van on the four-hour drive there, debaters rehearsed responses, using a special lingo.
"They pull the genocide card," one said, "we come back with Heidegger."
"Then blam, Erich Fromm."
"Right. Setting up an accusation of Holocaust triv."
"Holocaust what?" asked O'Donnell."
"Don't use shorthand," O'Donnell said. "Judges don't like it."
In case you missed the article, the thing to know is that Jerry Falwell throws money at the debate squad in hopes of germinating a cadre of argumentative Christian conservatives to carry the movement forward. Note that O'Donnell is passing on a key lesson: work the refs.
Beyond that, I can't parse the argument. And not because I don't get the lingo or don't have a passing familiarity with the Heidegger and Fromm.
Come to think of it, manufacturing confusion through argument sort of reminds me of something else in the right wing playbook. Falwell may be on to something.