So as I mentioned a little earlier today, this is the one year anniversary of the site. And for the rest of the week I’d like to celebrate by recapping some of the things I’ve learned by doing the different weekly segments. [There will be similar “Top 5” lessons for Working Class Economist, Fast Food Critic, and of course Bubba.] Kicking things off is this list of things I’ve learned by debating friends, strangers, and the occasional relative over the last year.
Lesson 5: Don’t Debate People You Know or You Won’t Know Them For Long. Roughly half of the debates I’ve done have been with people I know personally (as in, not on the internet) and 2 times out of 3 it has put things in a tight spot with them. Sometimes, they may act a little strained around me from then on. Other times, they may not speak to me at all afterwards. [But is that really such a loss when you’re only losing the occasional Facebook message?] Another thing that keeps happening is that I don’t wind up debating the person I set out to, meaning that you may not “know” someone all that well until you get into a knife fight with them. In summation: don’t ask a 70 year old you know to debate you if you don’t really want to know what she thinks about black people.
Lesson 4: Don’t Give People the Option to Remain Anonymous or They Will Take It. Ever since I started this segment, I have always said that anyone who debates me but doesn’t want their real name published can opt out with an alias. This is done to guard against any potential lawsuits, encourage people that might be shy to debate, and also to let someone save face if they really aren’t happy with the way it turns out. In the past year I have had a grand total of three people agree to give their real, full names. Oh well, at least they’re agreeing at all which might not be the case if some couldn’t change their name to “John Doe.”
Lesson 3: Drunks Debaters Aren’t Necessarily Fun Debaters. We all like arguing with drunks at a bar or at least find it to be funny, but the problem is it doesn’t read funny and may not even be all that funny unless you’re also drunk. The text transcript of two guys hammered while arguing about everything from Britney Spears to Global Warming is a fucking mess, and might end in a fist fight that won’t be fun for your audience to read or for you to participate in.
Lesson 2: The Faster the Better. I personally hate when a conservative I’m arguing against writes this huge block of text that only they will read. Luckily, most conservatives aren’t clever enough to have four paragraphs worth of things to say, BUT they do like posting links to people that can communicate their ideas better than they can. I set up some clear ground rules of “No links, no letters, no long ass speeches” and let the debate move as fast as possible as possible. That’s going to be the most entertaining for the audience, for you, and probably more enjoyable for them.
Lesson 1: Most Conservatives Are Cowards. I know that reads harsh but it’s true. For every one that will openly come on here, not use an alias, and spar with me for everyone to see, there are a thousand who only want to argue in Facebook messages or when the odds are stacked in their favor. Go to their church or church’s FB page? Sure, they’ll debate you when they have people ready to back them up. Come to my website? Never, but they won’t say “Never because I’m a coward.” Usually it’s going around the world to seem like they’re still tough but they can somehow reconcile that with pussing out.