Thursday, May 27, 2004

Debate 100: Remedial Debate for Pre-Schoolers and Republicans

Welcome boys and girls, to Debate 100: Remedial Debate for Pre-Schoolers and Republicans. For today's lesson we will be covering the three debate techniques most commonly employed by pre-schoolers and Republicans: the "Name-Calling" technique, the "Shut Up" technique, and the "Sticking Your Fingers in Your Ears While yelling 'La la la! I'm not listening!'" technique.

The first technique is the "Name-Calling" technique, which is simple, in theory. This technique involves calling your opponent nasty names in order to win the argument. Example: "You're wrong Stupid-head" and "You're a Feminazi!" Frequently, your opponent will respond with the same technique. In this case, the person who comes up with the most creative derogatory names for his opponent wins the debate. Occasionally, your opponent will refuse to employ this technique in response, in a crafty attempt to throw you off your game. Instead, they will respond with research and evidence to support their point and discredit yours. Do not be deterred; backing off of the "Name-Calling" technique shows weakness, and you will surely lose the debate.

The "Name-calling" technique is a favorite of conservative pundit Ann Coulter: "You're a slanderous liberal traitor, it says so in the footnotes of my new book!" (Here Coulter skillfully combines the "Name-Calling" technique with the "It's in the Footnotes" technique, which will be covered in the next course "Debate 101: Advanced Remedial Debate for Hack-Writers and Neo-Cons".)

The second technique is the "Shut Up!" technique, frequently used by Bill O'Reilly. This technique involves yelling "Shut up!" at your opponent until they comply. If you want to get creative, you can change it up a bit by adding additional words. Examples include: "Shut the hell up!" (heck, for you pre-schoolers) and "Shut up already!"

Once you've become proficient in each of the preceding two techniques, you can experiment with combining them. Examples include: "Shut up you jerk!", "Shut up, bed-wetter!" and "Shut up Pinko Commie America-hater!" This "combo" technique has been most famously employed by Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and 5-year-olds all over the world.

Finally, we have the "Sticking your fingers in your ears while yelling 'La la la, I'm not listening!'" technique. This technique involves sticking one's fingers in one's ears, while yelling "La la la! I'm not listening! La la la!" over and over. While you may use any of your fingers for this technique, I've found the index fingers are most effective for me. A variation on this technique involves covering one's ears with the palms of one's hands.

The "Sticking your fingers in your ears while yelling 'La la la! I'm not listening!'" technique was most recently employed by President George W. Bush and Condileeza Rice, in response to Richard Clarke's repeated warnings about Al Qaeda, prior to the 9/11 terror attacks. (After 9/11 they switched to the "Name-calling" technique.)

One major drawback of the "Sticking Your fingers in your ears..." technique is that, unlike the first two techniques, it can only be used in verbal debate. The "Name Calling" and "Shut Up!" techniques work well in verbal debates as well as online debates (such as internet message boards, and the comments sections of most "blogs"). Unfortunately, the last technique doesn't have quite the same impact in cyber-space, where no one can tell that you're using it. (Unless, of course, you type "La la la! I'm not listening! La la la!" and let's face it, THAT is just lame!)

This concludes today's lesson in "Debate 100: Remedial Debate for Pre-Schoolers and Republicans." I would like you to practice these techniques between now and our next class, when I will require you to pair up and demonstrate your new skills in front of the class. You should have ample opportunities to practice on your parents, playmates, reporters, and political opponents. Those of you who fail to demonstrate proficiency in these techniques will be subjected by me, to the "Name-Calling" technique in front of the class, so no slacking off! Have a good day!