Bathtub Debates

I participated in a very non-serious, amusing debate between the divisions last week at Swarthmore. A couple of people off-campus who have somehow heard about this quirkily local event have asked me for a transcript or recording. You can watch the video, which starts with a lengthy reprise of the very tortured premise.

I have to say that I hate my voice when I hear it played back in a recording. I suspect a lot of people feel that way.

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4 Responses to Bathtub Debates

  1. Joey Headset says:

    Persuasive argument! Although, if were up to me, I’d put a mercenary in that tub — a rambo type that would wipe out the Penguins and make damn sure no one ever rebooted human civilization. I, for one, would welcome our new alien overlords.

  2. hwc says:

    The debate is hilarious. Kudos to the three profs competing for the coveted spot in the bathtub.

    Kudos to the students, too. It’s quite remarkable that something like 10% of the student body showed up for this packed house event and joined in the spirit of a humorous approach to a challenging philosophical question. Some of the questions were great.

  3. Wow, I definitely feel some Swarthmore-envy watching that video.

    The sort of joco-serious faux-jousting of the Bathtub Debates isn’t that common in higher education anymore, and in my experience it never happens at bigger universities. To my eyes it suggests a healthy collegiality amongst the disciplines at Swarthmore, as well as between students and faculty (nice to see students in on the joke!).

    To follow out the metaphor, though you’re debating who should get to go in the bathtub, the nature of the event the three of you are participating in actually suggests you’ve all agreed to get into the bathtub together, sink or swim.

  4. hwc says:

    Or…should it be that it’s nice to see the faculty in on the joke?

    What makes the event so intriguing is the shared experience of the students and the faculty. It doesn’t work unless everyone is in on the joke. The fact that Prof. Burke can joke about the lingo of his own discipline is surely not lost on his students and probably goes a long way towards making them more receptive to his teaching the concepts behind the lingo.

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