THURSDAY, OCTOBER 8, 2015

Robert Barone--History
Michael Patton--Philosophy
Michael Walker--Theater
Gregory Longo--Psychology
Amiee Mellon--Marketing


Scott Varagona--Devil's Advocate

MC: Steve Parker

After a spirited clash between the 5 contestants, Scott Varagona spent several minutes pointing out the shortcomings of each of the participants and their chosen disciplines, ending with an impassioned plea for self-reliance on the raft and beyond. While the disciplines may equip you to face challenges, in the end, you must face them yourself. Dr. Varagona asked, “How many of you would show up to your first day at a new job with one of your professors in tow to help you face the challenges?”

The win makes Scott, already a winner in a discipline with multiple wins, the first person to win two Life Raft Debates.

However, since he was not representing any discipline, the Life Raft Debate still awaits its first person to win twice in the same discipline. Nonetheless, Scott’s three consecutive appearances on the panel yielded a pretty spectacular result.

Oh, wait…he drowned 2 out of 3 times. Oh well. It is still nice to win twice, I guess...

Emcee Steve Parker made the appropriate pre-debate explanations and thanks and then introduced the participants. The debate started with Robert Barone defending his win in History. He urged continuity of leadership and stressed that a group divorced from knowledge of history was a group doomed to fail. In the course of the evening, he also partially disrobed and recited Poe’s The Raven. A baffled and perhaps frightened audience applauded wildly.

Next, Michael Patton pled his case for Philosophy. Well, actually, he went right into mocking the efficacy of the other disciplines. He finally made a case for Philosophy by claiming that the audience was on the verge of making a mistake on the order of electing Donald Trump by being led by emotion and passion rather than by reason. He cited Aristotle’s advice to let reason be one’s guide when it is appropriate, as it certainly is in matters of life and death

Claiming that there would definitely be drama on the boat after the catastrophe, Michael Walker insisted that Theater was the most needed discipline. Theater, he explained, dealt with such diverse need as the rituals surrounding birth, death and celebrations, the understanding of history through historical drama and comedy and the telling of stories that strike instinctual chords in all of us. Additionally, the practice of the theatrical arts teaches scheduling, critical thinking, logistics, memorization and a host of other needed skills.

After that, Gregory Longo did battle for Psychology by going dark. He pointed out that the catastrophe that got us here has left almost everyone dead. We are all emotionally devastated and need Psychology to find peace and well-being as we move forward. He also claimed that his discipline studied the things we will need to keep the human race going in our new home—proper child-rearing techniques and the psychology of attraction and love, needed for procreation.

Finally, Amiee Mellon took up the cause of Marketing. She argued that Marketing makes the world go ‘round by determining what gets bought and thus stoking the fires of the economy, without which we’d be in real trouble. Marketing is what shapes peoples’ behavior, and we can use it to make life better in the new world. She touted some very successful marketing campaigns that were near and dear to all and finished with an original, Minions-accompanied rap song about marketing. Say what you will, but the crowd bought it.

And last but not least, Robert Barone took the mic to argue once again for History. A veteran of the very first debate, Robert announced that the oar had been stolen from him back in 1998 and that he was back to become its rightful owner. His impassioned defense of history claimed that without history as a guide, we would repeat all of the mistakes that have plagued the world to date, including the mistakes that eventually destroyed the world. With his thoroughgoing knowledge of history, Robert said he would be able to steer the nascent society safely through the perils the lie ahead. Plus, he gave a brief yet compelling demonstration of his own physical fitness and ability to stretch.

608 in-house votes were cast by a crowd of over 800, along with many votes received on Twitter, and when the counting was done, Dr. Varagona won by a large margin.

100 people followed Lily Elmore’s live tweets, 48 different viewers watched the live stream, including a crowd of 20 watching from Eclipse Coffee and Books.

This may not be my most complete re-hash in LRD history, but it was hard to take notes and participate from the stage. It is never possible to capture the magic that is the Life Raft Debate in a few mere words, so please watch the video of the whole shebang on YouTube here.