The Instigator
brian_eggleston
Pro (for)
Losing
7 Points
The Contender
MTGandP
Con (against)
Winning
16 Points

Emergency public announcements shouldn't be made through the medium of dance

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/13/2009 Category: Arts
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 1,330 times Debate No: 8249
Debate Rounds (2)
Comments (3)
Votes (4)

 

brian_eggleston

Pro

Have you ever been to a contemporary dance workshop? If you have, you will have noted that the performers endeavour to convey all sorts of concepts through the medium of dance.

Now, have you ever been in the situation where the police have driven past your house announcing some kind of emergency over a loudhailer?

If the answer is 'yes' to both of the above then it must have occurred to you that the police could be better deployed elsewhere and the job of warning the public of impending disasters could be done by troupes of modern dancers instead.

No? Just me then. Anyway, I think this would be a crazy idea because the meaning of the dance could be open to misinterpretation. To illustrate this point, let's consider the following hypothetical scenario:

Hubby - Darling, look out the window, there's an impromptu street performance taking place outside.

Wifey - Don't be silly, dear, that's not street theatre, that's an emergency public announcement. I wonder what message they are trying to convey?

Hubby - Well, that girl was crouching down and then she suddenly jumped up and wiggled her fingers around. To me that is suggestive of the neighborhood volcano erupting...oh my god, grab the kids, we've got to get out of here...

Wifey - No, wait! To me that movement was evocative the nuclear fallout following an atomic explosion...quick close all the windows and doors, there's obviously been an accident at the local intercontinental ballistic missile silo...

Hubby - Hang on there, now she's writhing her body around and now she's doing a pirouette. To me that is reminiscent of a tornado ...oh my god, grab the kids, we've got to get out of here...

Wifey - Just a moment dear, I would rather interpret that as the movement of a snake...quick, lock the doors, a giant anaconda has obviously escaped from the municipal zoo...

Hubby - Just a tick, darling, now she's been washed away by a huge wall of water...

Wifey - Oh! Of course, it was a tsunami!

Both - Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!

In conclusion, I think it would be best if emergency public announcements were not made through the medium of dance.

Thank you.
MTGandP

Con

This resolution is a fascinating one. I thank my opponent for the fun challenge.

I argue that emergency public announcements SHOULD be made through the medium of dance.

My opponent's contention is that dance will lead to miscommunication. However, this is not a problem with the dance itself. Language would lead to miscommunication if there wasn't a national standard. So we simply need a national standard for interpretive dance. If you don't like that option, there's an alternative. If a dancer cannot portray a message effectively, then he or she is just not very good. Dancers can go through communications training to learn how to accurately portray messages that all people can understand.

Contention 1: What about the deaf people?
In the United States, 600,000 people in are deaf, and 6,000,000 are nearly deaf or heavily hearing-impaired. [1] These people will be unable to hear the public service announcement. Sure, there are blind people too. But that is why I propose we convey emergency public announcements in both auditory AND dance media. The resolution states that PRO does not want public announcements to be through the medium of dance at all, but I say we should have public announcements as both a speech and a dance. Besides CON being more open to alternatives, my position also supports those millions of people who cannot effectively hear auditory announcements.

Contention 2: Dance is fun.
From the debate resolution, I assume that this is a "fun" debate. So I shall have a "fun" contention. And my contention is that dance is fun. Dancers love what they do. Would it not be even better if they could serve the public? Those dancers would love to know that their dances, while not only being fun, are helping the world.

I look forward to round two.

References
[1] http://gri.gallaudet.edu...
Debate Round No. 1
brian_eggleston

Pro

Many thanks to my opponent for accepting this debate. It is an important issue, one that is no doubt discussed at the highest levels by politicians and national security officials around the world.

Firstly, I will confess to being something of a philistine when it comes to contemporary performing arts and I, therefore, defer to my opponent's superior knowledge of interpretative dance and concede that it may be possible to teach dancers to express such concepts as "Run for your lives. Some frothing nutjob has stolen a truck full of high explosives and and a family-sized box of matches and he's headed your way" without causing any confusion. However, the number of dancers capable of being trained to this level, I suspect, would be very limited.

Now, to address my opponent's first contention: "What about the deaf people?" He states that over 6.5 million Americans are deaf or have impaired hearing. How does he know this? Because they are registered. This means the police know who they are and where they live. So, when they pass a deaf person's house they write them a note.

For example, in the event that a stricken satellite has fallen out of orbit and is projected to crash into a residential suburb, the police would advise most householders to evacuate by loudhailer, but when they come to a house registered to, say, a deaf old man, when they would write him a note saying something like:

"You have got one minute to get out of your house. Do NOT attempt to take any of your possessions with you. This is the only warning we are going to give you. If you choose to ignore it you are a DEAD MAN."

Then they would tie it to a brick and throw it through his front window. Probably. So, no need for singing and dancing then.

Next, to address my opponent's second contention: "Dancers love what they do. Would it not be even better if they could serve the public?"

Dancers participating in modern dance performances already help the world by providing the opportunity for pretentious upper-middle class snobs to validate each others pseudo-intellectual opinions in environment safe from the type of ridicule that those comments would normally elicit. What greater reward for their efforts could they possibly want than that?

I thank you.
MTGandP

Con

". . . it may be possible to teach dancers to express such concepts as "Run for your lives. Some frothing nutjob has stolen a truck full of high explosives and and a family-sized box of matches and he's headed your way" without causing any confusion. However, the number of dancers capable of being trained to this level, I suspect, would be very limited."
I have three rebuttals to this intriguing point.
1) Most disasters are much more mundane than my opponent's example, and therefore easier to communicate. This complicated sort of disaster is much more rare.
2) Not all of that information is necessary. It would be enough to communicate "Crazy man with explosives! Run!" and that's not too difficult.
3) We could adopt a national standard for dance language.

RE: Contention 1
"So, when [the police] pass a deaf person's house they write them a note."
Do they really have time for that? Writing a note is a good deal more time-consuming than a quick little dance, and in the event of widespread disaster, rapid communication is essential.

"So, no need for singing and dancing then."
Singing and dancing, while not inherently necessary, is far more efficient than writing a note for every single deaf person. And where will the police get all the necessary bricks from?

"Dancers participating in modern dance performances already help the world by providing the opportunity for pretentious upper-middle class snobs to validate each others pseudo-intellectual opinions in environment safe from the type of ridicule that those comments would normally elicit. What greater reward for their efforts could they possibly want than that?"
The upper-middle class are, surprisingly enough, a small minority of the population. Dancers who want to help their community should really help the whole community. I mean, the upper-middle class are the most in need of validating-pseudo-intellectual-opinions-in-an-environment-safe-from-ridicule-related help, but the other people are important too!

***

This is a serious issue, and we need to treat it as such. In addition to verbal announcements, announcements in the form of interpretive dance are not only helpful, but necessary. We must support our dancers. Support our public. Do you want all deaf people to die because police write too slowly? I think not. Vote CON!
Debate Round No. 2
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by I-am-a-panda 8 years ago
I-am-a-panda
Brian, you too funny and crazy.
Posted by brian_eggleston 8 years ago
brian_eggleston
Thanks for a hugely enjoyable debate, MTGandP...you deserve to win this one!
Posted by TheSkeptic 8 years ago
TheSkeptic
Hahahah.
4 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Vote Placed by animea 8 years ago
animea
brian_egglestonMTGandPTied
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Vote Placed by DeadLeaves93 8 years ago
DeadLeaves93
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Vote Placed by RoyLatham 8 years ago
RoyLatham
brian_egglestonMTGandPTied
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Vote Placed by MTGandP 8 years ago
MTGandP
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