Friday, March 30, 2018

what's debatable

BURLINGTON, Vt. (AP) — The first rule of a North American debate tournament to be held in Vermont this weekend: No men allowed.
Some 150 debaters from 18 schools across the U.S. and Canada will compete in the special tournament, which is designed to be a safe space for women who complain of bias when they debate against men....
The women at UVM recognize the women-only tournament can make them targets of people who feel they are asking for special treatment, but say it’s good to raise awareness of the issue.
When working at Doubleday book publishers, I one night went out to dinner with a British co-worker named Susan, who, in that long ago and faraway time, was determined to become the first woman prime minister of England. This was pre-Margaret-Thatcher. Also Susan was arguably the smartest and most verbally dexterous of all the women I knew. She was often exhaustingly bright.

But Susan was also a good egg... fun, funny and, of course, chock-a-block with rare facts and sweeping opinions she was willing to laugh at. Over dinner, we were getting gently squiffed when she opined, "The trouble with you Americans is that you don't study rhetoric. In England, everybody does. I could sit here right this minute and prove to you that a chocolate milk shake was vanilla and you'd believe it."

"Oh God!" I groaned. "Please don't." If Susan said she could do something, you could take it to the bank she could and I was not in the mood to be a greater fool than I already was. And so we passed on to other, less-sharpened topics. A British accent alone is usually enough to make me fold up like a wet wash cloth. But put that together the a Class A education and I was dead meat ... I mean, really, dead meat.

Women only.
Men only.

I prefer issues only,

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