How To Shorten Debates



I didn’t watch or listen to the provincial leaders’ debate yesterday. I am pretty certain for whom I will vote and why, and, increasingly, I find this sort of exercise to be something of a waste of time where nothing of substance gets to the fore, where talking points are repeated and where the object is not to convince, but to score points. It is the very archetype of a “conversation” where the interlocutors listen, if at all, only to reply rather than distilling any useful information. In addition, there is considerable crowding of the oratory space of others in the debate, including, in this latest case, some physical contact that seems less than appropriate (this from a person who has a very warped conception of appropriate): in short, there is nothing either informative or polite about the discourse, and many people in these parts have commented on the distaste that this inspires for the political process and, by extension, the governing process.

I also eschewed the broadcast because I tend to react verbally and often using colourful language when the fanciful turns to the preposterous and this annoys my wife no end though she understands the roots of the vehemence and appreciates the recognition of falsehoods, half-truths, cherry-picked stats, deflections and non-answers. The solution to this problem? Pre-record the debate, fact check all the statements, edit our whatever doesn’t pass the sniff test, and broadcast the result. This would, in the short run, ┬ámake for less waste of time and valuable airing over the media and a clearer vision of what connection there might be with the reality faced by the electorate, and in the longer term, it might promote a desire on the part of some politicians to speak in a more straightforward and meaningful vein, especially after a couple of appearances where virtually everything she said fell on the cutting room floor (metaphorically speaking in the age of 1s and 0s.

The most essential gift for a good writer is a built-in, shockproof, shit detector.
— Ernest Hemingway


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