Captive audience - Macleans.ca
 

Captive audience


 

Johannes Wheeldon finds lessons in the debates he organizes in prison.

It is often said that every politician ends up as a crook, a liar, or both. Maybe we should apply the lessons I have learned from the guys incarcerated at Coyote Ridge. Structure matters, evidence counts, and thinking on your feet are all paramount. Talking down to your audience is not a sensible option (especially in prison). Canadians might learn something from the guys in my classes who are trying to make amends by challenging themselves to understand what they think and why. I sure have.


 

Captive audience

  1. That a TV consortium runs this election debate in Canada is insane.

    That Canadians are willing to go along with this, is even more insane.

  2. That a TV consortium runs this election debate in Canada is insane.

    That Canadians are willing to go along with this, is even more insane.

    • right on both counts!

  3. What's Wheeldon's point?

  4. What's Wheeldon's point?

  5. "…those standing for office should be required to ensure their points are based on facts."

    Sadly, that statement, in a nutshell, will not stand in the current environment, especially for the Conservatives and Harper. I hope I don't need to explain why I think so. It should be obvious when reading the commentary on issues raised in this and other blogs and forums.

  6. "…those standing for office should be required to ensure their points are based on facts."

    Sadly, that statement, in a nutshell, will not stand in the current environment, especially for the Conservatives and Harper. I hope I don't need to explain why I think so. It should be obvious when reading the commentary on issues raised in this and other blogs and forums.

    • Suggestions for Just Joe's debating skills:

      "that ideas be based on evidence suggests a means to break out of the largely pointless talking-head approach"

      Johannes Wheeldon – http://www2.macleans.ca/2011/04/10/captive-audien

      • Why don't we start with Harper's broken promises:

        [ http://trustbreaker.freehostia.com/100+reasons.ht… ]

        You go ahead and demonstrate how every one of them is incorrect. And please don't argue that "the Liberals do it too" since I've already conceded that point in my comment.

  7. Hahaahaha. I like the cut of author's jib – I don't think much of pols, generally, but even I would not go so far as to claim that pols could learn something from convicted criminals.

    If author wanted to use example of debate to aspire to, surely he could have chosen high school debating team or somesuch, because I think it is odd to use criminals for behaviour that we wish pols to achieve.

  8. Hahaahaha. I like the cut of author's jib – I don't think much of pols, generally, but even I would not go so far as to claim that pols could learn something from convicted criminals.

    If author wanted to use example of debate to aspire to, surely he could have chosen high school debating team or somesuch, because I think it is odd to use criminals for behaviour that we wish pols to achieve.

    • I can't figure out whether you are deliberately misrepresenting the author's message, or you're understanding carries a bias in a particular direction. Take this statement by the author:

      "This focus on organization and the requirement that ideas be based on evidence suggests a means to break out of the largely pointless talking-head approach to debates that often reigns in Canada and elsewhere. Instead of denying that other arguments exist, or relying upon fear and manipulation, those standing for office should be required to ensure their points are based on facts. Arguments can then be based on the implications of accepted facts, not on whether or not they exist."

      How that suggests we "use criminals for behaviour that we wish pols to achieve" is beyond my own ability to understand. Would you kindly explain?

      • " …. beyond my own ability to understand."

        You're not kidding. Here are two examples from paragraph Wherry has posted

        "Maybe we should apply the lessons I have learned from the guys incarcerated at Coyote Ridge ….. Canadians might learn something from the guys in my classes ……"

        And there aren't that many accepted facts in life that we all agree upon, particularly in politics. If we can only argue with accepted facts, it would be quiet world.

        • Thanks for the explanation. I still don't think he's saying what you think he's saying. To apply lessons learned by teaching does not –to me–suggest "pols could learn something from convicted criminals. " Notice he says "Canadians" and not politicians, He might be suggesting that some politicians cannot or will not change, so Canadians ought to learn to respect their own built-in BS detectors and not be so willing to accept a politicians word without evidence.

  9. I can't figure out whether you are deliberately misrepresenting the author's message, or you're understanding carries a bias in a particular direction. Take this statement by the author:

    "This focus on organization and the requirement that ideas be based on evidence suggests a means to break out of the largely pointless talking-head approach to debates that often reigns in Canada and elsewhere. Instead of denying that other arguments exist, or relying upon fear and manipulation, those standing for office should be required to ensure their points are based on facts. Arguments can then be based on the implications of accepted facts, not on whether or not they exist."

    How that suggests we "use criminals for behaviour that we wish pols to achieve" is beyond my own ability to understand. Would you kindly explain?

  10. Suggestions for Just Joe's debating skills:

    "that ideas be based on evidence suggests a means to break out of the largely pointless talking-head approach"

    Johannes Wheeldon – http://www2.macleans.ca/2011/04/10/captive-audien

  11. Fascinating.

  12. Fascinating.

  13. Why don't we start with Harper's broken promises:

    [ http://trustbreaker.freehostia.com/100+reasons.ht… ]

    You go ahead and demonstrate how every one of them is incorrect. And please don't argue that "the Liberals do it too" since I've already conceded that point in my comment.

  14. "In an era in which our democratic institutions are at risk, Canadians might need to demand more from those who seek to represent them and those who develop the terms upon which we judge our representatives."

    Not enough Canadian's not demanding enough of our elected reps, now isn't that a fact! When are we going to come to the realization in enough numbers that we have the right, indeed the duty to demand more?

  15. "In an era in which our democratic institutions are at risk, Canadians might need to demand more from those who seek to represent them and those who develop the terms upon which we judge our representatives."

    Not enough Canadian's not demanding enough of our elected reps, now isn't that a fact! When are we going to come to the realization in enough numbers that we have the right, indeed the duty to demand more?

    • I just did a newspaper interview to that effect. But you probably said it better.

  16. " …. beyond my own ability to understand."

    You're not kidding. Here are two examples from paragraph Wherry has posted

    "Maybe we should apply the lessons I have learned from the guys incarcerated at Coyote Ridge ….. Canadians might learn something from the guys in my classes ……"

    And there aren't that many accepted facts in life that we all agree upon, particularly in politics. If we can only argue with accepted facts, it would be quiet world.

  17. I just did a newspaper interview to that effect. But you probably said it better.

  18. right on both counts!

  19. I followed the link and read the piece and I wrote:

    Wow Mr. American …. you have no bloody idea of what is going on in Canada parliamentary democracy do you? …. and the differences between your republic and our system.

    The party leader is not elected as anything but a simple member of Parliament (and who he or she is matters little to the majority of us) and has to be elected as such to sit in the House of Commons (the party decides who the leader is and that can change any time between elections – at the discretion of the party members.

    Ms. May has never been elected even as a dog-catcher here in Canada and her party has never elected so much as one member to the House of Commons.

    Ms. May joined the debate last time, BECAUSE A SITTING MEMBER OF THE HOUSE CROSSED THE FLOOR TO SIT AS A MEMBER OF THE GREEN PARTY just before the last election (while he never actually took his seat as a Green Party member but we were generous to Ms. May and allowed her into the debate). His name was Blair Wilson and he promptly lost his seat in that 2008 election leaving Ms. May with no one elected anywhere in the whole of the country for the Green Party.

    Pay attention now. From our sense of fairness, we allow the Bloc Québécois a place at the debate table because they have ELECTED members in the Commons even though they want to take their province out of Canada and could care less about the rest of the country and that seems OK, whether we like it or not, because our sense of fair play understands that they HAVE elected people in and to the Commons.

    If we let Ms. May in, do we then have to allow the leader of the Rhino Party in? the Marxist Leninist Party? or perhaps the leader of the Work Less Party? We have, according to elections Canada, 30 registered federal parties in Canada. Don't believe me – google it!. Now I personally never finished grade 10 and I've been homeless for 14 years and I can only use the computer for an houir a day at the library so you gota be smarter then me Mr. post doctoral man so do some internet research before you spout your garbage. LOL

    It really ain't all about the way 'merica does it's things boy (how's your ideas for democracy working in for you Iraq boy and all the other places you invaded to bring "democracy" to the people?) it's about how we want to do them ourselves!

    The simple fact is that Ms. May cannot and should not engage the leaders of the other parties in a televised debate or conversation or anything else until she can elect at least ONE member to the House of Commons …. else't we would have to LEGALLY allow every fruitcake party into whatever it is that the TV press gallery members are allowing the leaders to do for free. 'nough for now, I'm running out of time.
    Report

  20. Thanks for the explanation. I still don't think he's saying what you think he's saying. To apply lessons learned by teaching does not –to me–suggest "pols could learn something from convicted criminals. " Notice he says "Canadians" and not politicians, He might be suggesting that some politicians cannot or will not change, so Canadians ought to learn to respect their own built-in BS detectors and not be so willing to accept a politicians word without evidence.

  21. I was very confused. I thought this was a post by Jaime Weinmann about the lastest project by Joss Wheedon and nothing made any sense.

  22. I was very confused. I thought this was a post by Jaime Weinmann about the lastest project by Joss Wheedon and nothing made any sense.

    • There are apps to help you catch up. Don't take my word for it though — when it comes to "smart" anything, I am FAIL.

  23. There are apps to help you catch up. Don't take my word for it though — when it comes to "smart" anything, I am FAIL.

  24. The opposition better hope the debates shake up something. Despite all the hyped up nonsense of the first couple of weeks, when's the last time the Conservatives have sustained support near 40% in the polls for this long? Like it or not, the election is shaping up pretty much how Harper wants it, with Canadians seriously considering a Conservative majority and putting to rest this never-ending political silly season for at least four years.

    By the way, I doubt the debates will make much of a dent in this dynamic.