Dancing on the Line

Nearly didn't make it. Had one of those 13 hour days that you always hear about professors having. Working continuously with some short and nice breaks, but having too much to deal with in order to really do write-thinking which is different than get-these-tasks-done thinking. 

Had a pretty good day of debate interaction which made me think a bit differently about some of the concerns in yesterday's post. The idea of something being curricular or curricularly related, i.e. a debate "center" or advocacy "center" is a bit different than having a debate society which would function as an "intellectual community." This changes up the model a bit. 

The intellectual community on campus is fragmented, tiny, and exclusive. Professors are such specialists now that it is rarely within the same department that they find such colleagues. They meet at various events and form bonds that way. This is not a place or a time based community but an accidental community of a couple of people who imagine themselves as taking part in a larger university community if only by acting in opposition to it or critiquing it.

Contrast that to the well-run debate society which is a place to come share intellectual problems and have discussions about hard thinking. The format is to the side of the whole thing.  The tournaments are irrelevant. This is not a sports team like so many programs are. 

Contrast that to the advocacy center which is a place to practice the art of rhetoric and persuasion and learn to argue orally.

So we do have two separate organizations here. Two distinct roles that have a lot of crossover. This can still be combined with opening up events to the campus as a whole. This can still be combined with events for the university. 

At the activity fair I had some trouble articulating what the Debate Society is now that we are divesting from tournament competition. We are all victims of the tournament discourse and its ideology. You can feel the pressure a lot of times if you are trying to do something different. Students signed up and we are emailing them and the club should be off to a great start.

This wasn't what I wanted to post about today, but time is up. I think this is some okay reflection, not really the best, but it does raise a big question: Is meeting the self-imposed daily blog entry deadline more important than providing quality content? 

I think any content that is thoughtful that I create and post on here takes some labor, makes me think and craft, and I think that's a measure of quality for me. But readers might feel differently about the quality of it. If I feel it's good for my thinking, and I don't post it because I don't feel it's good for my audience, that is upholding a rhetorical principle that harms me and the express purpose of keeping this blog. If I post things that meet my standard, but I feel they are not good for the audience and post them anyway, I run the risk of losing credibility about what I mostly write about. The third combination won't ever happen - I just won't post. 

So there's a clear line at least for one potential combination. 

Tomorrow is Friday and it's packed full of stuff to do. If I am lucky, I should be caught up with everything Sunday. Then Monday and Tuesday to Ithaca; Thursday through next Monday, Montana.