I’d like to take this opportunity to introduce the readers of ZCom to a performance project I have been working on called Reasoned Debate.
The idea is for two or more people to have a rigorous and well researched debate about the most important issues of our time on the subway in New York City. We have debated on the train on two seperate occassions with each trip out resulting in three or four debates. Our debates to date have focused on the Iraq troop surge. We hope to also have debates about other issues including climate change, Hillary Clinton’s and Barack Obama’s positions, etc., and impeachment among others.
We have videoed some of the debates although we will not be videoing them all.
The goals of Reasoned Debate are to:
1. Introduce information and ideas that are not represented in the mainstream media to a captive audience.
2. Try to illicit the participation of the subway riders in the debates.
3. Show that a reasoned discussion about the most important issues of our time should and can take place in a public forum.
We have had some success already in meeting our goals for the project and as we continue and grow we hope to have continued success. We have had some participation from subway riders in our debates including one man who angrily denounced me – I was arguing that the surge is not working – and grabbed my sign that I use to initiate the debate from my hands, crumpled the paper and threw it back at me. Others have had a more "reasoned" response on both sides of the issue.
I am very interested in getting feedback from people about the project so please let me know what you think. If you live in NYC and might be interested in participating in a debate please shoot me an email.
I am very excited about the potential for this project and I hope to continue having Reasoned Debates.
For more information about Reasoned Debate, to see other debates, or to see our source material for our debates go to the official Reasoned Debate blog: