United Colleagues


Viikko 42


Motion: THB that all employees at a workplace should be extroverts
Role: Whip (opp.)

Dear Assemblage,

Extroverts have arguably gotten the upper hand recently in terms of cultural ”hegemony”. What has boosted the fates of extroverts is their apparent preponderance and gleefulness in the settings of social media and reality-tv, which already dominate people’s spare time. Also, at work, the default mode(l) of setting up an office; the walless open-plan office favours a personality type that has little or no social reserve.

Introverts, in turn, have been forced onto the defensive. How they have defended themselves has naturally come in the form of books, such as Quiet, as befits them. It can also be pointed out that introversion has allegedly been the preferred norm of human behaviour, if we go back in time or stray to the Middle or Far East from the West.

The question of –version is a longstanding one and problematic. Having listening to this conversation, the pros and cons of extroversion and introversion have been mentioned by and on both of the debate sides.

Extroversion brings out the best in us. Very often we bring up in discussion something that can only come up because of the discussion. Namely, it is something that the others say that triggers us to say something back, in an affirmative way. Left to our own devices, we simply could not muster that inspiration and thus we would leave that ”path” untrodden. And it can go beyond that. The mere presence of people around us can alter the way we feel and think. Artists feed off that feeling, as they go into their ”performance” mode when they are before people, whereas they go into their ”aesthetic” mode when they are alone. Maybe our science is just too limited when it comes to this effect. It might be a question of pheromones travelling through the air that triggers things. Thus, the effect of presence would be in a way inevitable. But we don’t know, yet.

Extroversion brings out the worst in us. In front of other people, we are not free. Social rules and expectations guide us to say things that we don’t actually believe in. Egos clash in a room, very often between people who are not unlike each other. Unnecessary digressions and diversions, compliments and apologies pepper any dialogue between several people. Watered-down compromises are reached and have to be, as a roomful of people couldn’t let one of them dictate what would happen. Populism may get a foothold among a roomful of people, when it would leave an individual cool. Narcissism flourishes better in company, as people like the sound of their voice a lot better when there is someone listening to it.

Introversion brings out the worst in us. Alone, we may think that we know the Answer. If one has taken drugs to enhance the effects of self-absorption, the thoughts that result are almost certainly even worse. Alone we are certain that we can pull something off, even if that was not the case. We bridge the gaps that exist between our drive and desire and our capabilities. We’ll think that several pairs of hands or some machines will mend the deficit that exists between what we want to do and what we can achieve alone. Alone, we write diaries. Writing such a thing may feel satisfying in the moment, but it is meant only for that moment and few future moments. Namely, it is a moment of synthesis-forming, but it is deficient in the sense that it leaves out all the facts and feelings that would have been experienced after the fact. This is the reason why it seldom pays off to read one’s juvenile, youthful diaries. On our own, we know our present self but don’t know our future self.

Introversion brings out the best in us. When one is in an empty room before a sheet of paper, magic happens. This is the proven method that has given us manuscripts, scores, canvases, dissertations, essays, poems, synopses and aphorisms. Alike writing a diary, creating art or an innovation is about forming a synthesis. But it stays on the ”good” side of the equation. It takes into account its epoch, all ingredients and other people in a way a diary doesn’t. Culture comes to life inside the full heads of adult individuals who reside in empty rooms and before empty files, screens or sheets of paper. The emptiness is absolutely needed for this process to happen. Social presence would either alter or inhibit the process.

I think that our workplaces are in such need of differing and variform agents and actors that it would be almost impossible to imagine that a certain type of character could meet all of those needs. A much more realistic scenario is that many different kinds of characters can better serve a gamut of different purposes and needs at a workplace. Therefore, I consider the govt’s motion this house’d favour extroverts at the workplace false.

Thank you.

Arvio: Olen saavuttanut väittelyn aivan viimeisimmän puhujaroolin. Puhujista viimeisin voi myös kritisoida puolustamaansa puolta, kunhan hän viimein puoltaa sitä. Muu tuntuisi oikeastaan rasittavalta — ollaanhan tähän asti kuultu vain räikeän puolueellisia esityksiä. Kuulijat haluavat myös jotain muuta tasapainoisemman tunnelman vuoksi. Tässä rakenne on tahallisen symmetrinen, kuten lukija varmaan huomaa. ”Vertit” mainitaan yhtä monta kertaa, mutta lopulta kanta vedetään oman puolen mukaiseksi. Whipin panoksen on kuitenkin syytäkin erota aiempien puhujien panoksista. Hän ei ole ihan ”sama”.


United Colours


Viikko 41


MotionTHW take as many refugees as possible, as defined by the national infrastructure
Role: Whip (govt.)

When it comes to refugees, the discussion is lively and ambiguous, as the previous contributions have amply demonstrated. Our side has championed refugees strongly, whereas the opposing side has maligned and condemned them in equally strong-language terms. Being a spectator, I might be tempted to choose either side at the flip of a coin.

However, as the whip, I’m going to opt for defending the refugees in the way that is open to me. I’m going to tell you why they should be let in in pandering to the theory of ”influential allies”, something which is usually missing in the political debate, where the individual is rotely placed at the center, being alone the ”driving force” of forces around her/him.

Our first speaker reminded you about the national reputation and the fact that no nation is an island. All countries have ties to neighbouring countries and they also have ties to more far-off countries which expatriates have emigrated to and immigrants immigrated from. France has a special relation with Algeria. Indians and Pakistanis have a special relation with the UK. The descendants of slaves have always had a special relation with the former slave-trading conquering countries, this hinting at a trading partnership, even if the merchandise were the ”merchants themselves”. In other words, refugeeship would only be a way to form new ties in an evolving world, and nothing more than that. It would be about give-and-take, not just about giving or taking per se.

Our 2nd speaker told you that the reason for aiding and abetting refugees is the fact that they may result in improving your life quality in your own sphere. A refugee can be a future spouse or dependent. Refugees may turn up at the workplace, owning or manning them, usually as colleagues. Dining out would be a very common way of meeting refugees, but true for any number of us.

Our 3rd speaker offered you the viewpoint that, even if one personally did not have any contact with refugees, that MIGHT be the case among one’s family and relatives or friends and acquaintances. Would you sever your contacts off with them due to their hooking up in some way with refugees? Considering they might only pop up in conversation without your never even having personally met them, your attitudes would be the thing souring down or cheering up the prevailing ”situation”.

In any event, what I’m saying is that none of this may be relevant to you as a citizen. You may NOT care about national reputations, personal contacts or familial affiliations, as we’re a nation of singles’ households; those singles sometimes having severed their ties vertically to their genetic and geographical past, and horizontally to their fellow man, except for the employer or the state. In that case, consider this: you still have to like refugees, for they are liked by the elite of this country. If you care to take note, you’ll see that politicians, artists, businessmen, clergymen, athletes, journalists and civil activists all tend to accept and endorse refugees.

Together they have more power than the side opposing refugees, in all likelihood. An individual member of the elite does not count either way, but as a mass, members of the elites are too formidable to offer resistance to. As much as you may like critics of immigration, they seem to be feeble, prejudiced, disorganized, uneducated and misled. They do have visibility and a voice, also structures, but it’s small fry compared to the forces that have allowed immigration into our country. This, I think is the final argument that carries in the end: even if you don’t like refugees, the fact that people more powerful than you like them forces you to like them, too.

Thank you.

Arvio: Puheessa summataan kaikki aiemmat puheet yhdeksi kokonaisuudeksi. Ideana on kursia kokoon muiden parhaista (tai sopivimmista) paloista vielä yksi hyvä puhe. Loppu on hämmentävä. Toivon sen taivuttavan kuulijan puolelleen; puhe kun on yhdistelmä retorisilla keinoilla ja tosielämän esimerkeillä vaikuttamista. Mutta en tiedä, miten se otetaan vastaan. Joku voisi pitää sitä valheellisena, epäloogisena vetoamisena ja kehäpäätelmänä.

¡Ciudadanos en adelante!


Viikko 38

: THB that original inhabitants of popular places should take precedence over newcomers
Role: Whip (gov.)

Every aspiring young person has some kind of relationship with cities, counties, countries, provinces, states and towns. Some of them suit us fine, while others ring a false note/tone. Some localities we just can’t put up with.

This time, as an example, I’m going to talk about LA, the City being the original ”redwood” homebase to some while a ”Zoo Station” for others. To me, LA represents the weekday of Saturday. What do we know about Saturday?

  1. It’s part of the weekend, the first half (or the middle part, if we count the evening and night of Friday in.)
  2. It’s gotten its name from a Roman god called Saturnalis.
  3. Some associate it with sauna.
  4. Some concerts are staged on Saturday.
  5. Booze flows on Saturday.
  6. Doctoral vivas may be held during the pre- and afternoon part of the day.
  7. Financially, it’s the worst day for commercial transportation/logistics companies, as it’s not a day for work-related commuting, and everyone will have travelled for leisure either on the previous day, or a day thereafter, on Sunday.
  8. A sausage has been named to it (in Finland).
  9. It’s ”alright for Fighting” (according to Elton John).
  10. During Easter, Saturday has no special religious or liturgical meaning, at least to the layman.
  11. Most businesses are partially open on Sundays. It may be very good when it comes to discounts, refunds, sales or shopping (in a stationary way).
  12. Pets like Saturdays, for it’s the first day of the week when their owners have truly time to feed, maintain, walk and wash them.

In short, Saturdays are the day of the week, when it’s still OK to be messy, or a Mess, but which nonetheless do not the next day bite one in the ass.

What is, then, my relation to Saturdays?

Well, it’s not my best-liked day, but it’s not my bugbear either. It’s firmly one of the in-between days that I tend to have, united in that quality with Thursday. I have found that it’s an agreeable day, more for entertainment than for benefit, epiphany, erudition or profit. This means that my relationship with LA is a bit precarious and volatile. I have the potential to like LA, but that comes with a bit of strain, luck and determination. The underlying impression or illusion is that the day has more control over me than I have over the day. It also passes much faster than I think.

These impressions I have assembled in having been once to LA, for a few days, and having lived through innumerable Saturdays over the course of my life.

I do not obsess over LA, like some people do. We have to remember that the actual atmosphere in LA has very little with its original settlers to do. The ambience of raw competition, dog-eat-dog mentality, live-and-let-die attitude, viciousness and superficiality, and so on, have been created by all the arrivistes, upstarts, nouveau riches and social climbers who have since flooded the city saddled with their ambitions, aspirations, hopes and longings. They, in turn, have originally come from humbler, rainier locations, expressly to counter that ”poor provenance”.

I believe that the True Spirit of LA has more to do with Sunday than Saturday, were LA still that mission station once set up and inhabited by Spaniards. Once upon a time, LA had a promise about it. Now those days are long gone. Those, who come to LA, have to show some promise. They will get something in return, if they redeem themselves; this promise is given to them by those who have already settled there to prosper. But, maybe it’s a Com-Promise

Because LA has been tweaked into some thing it originally was not, I back up and forward the govt.’s motion that original inhabitants of popular places should take precedence over newcomers.

Thank you.

Arvio: En tee puheessa viimeisen puhujan työtä toisten puheita tiivistävänä ja selittävänä ”intendenttinä”. Sen sijaan puhun omiani. Tämä on väärin, mutta joissakin tapauksissa näin voi käydä. Joskus kyseessä on ymmärrettävä lapsus, ja haluan esittää yhden esimerkin, miltä se sitten näyttää ja kuulostaa (eli tältä). Syyt ovat nämä: a) muut puolen puhujat eivät ole myöskään tehneet hommiaan, jolloin ei ole ”mitään tiivistettävää” tai b) muut puolen puhujat ovat tehneet ”liiankin hyvää” työtä ja ammentaneet aiheen tyhjiin omilla puheenvuoroillaan, jolloin minkä tahansa uuden aineksen, jopa selälleen flippaavan, lisääminen debattiin bloosaa vain lisää myötätuulta oman puolen purjeisiin.

Take a Stand With Your Band


Viikko 36


Date: July 29th, 2017
Motion: THB that pop-culture musicians have become wiser with time and age
Role: Rep. (opp.)

What characterizes this generation of youth is its seeking of attention, often gullibly, avidly and without regard for what has passed as culture before. Furthermore, many teeny-boppers seem content to try to please as big a chunk of the audience as possible, thus resorting to the cheapest tricks, the meanest, keenest common denominators and most plastic kind of backing tracks.

I claim that it is entirely possible to court an audience in a counterintuitive way, wooing it less rather than more, and here I’m going to tell you How.

A ”tenure-track” musician should first develop a style and contents that alienate 65 % of people in exchange for appealing to 35 % of people. The reasons for the potential, desirable aversion may be varying: abrasive guitars, nasal singing voice, shocking clothing, naff lyrics, explicit lyrics, ugly-looking fellow musicians, off-putting ”farting” synths, fixation on death/sex/alcohol/graves/food/Americana etc. etc. etc. The reason for the appeal, on the contrary, should always boil down to just one thing: the Originality and Humanity or the musician(s) in question.

Then, it’s time for the breakthrough. The musician needs to break through somehow, creating a big enough splash, in order to be recognized in the humdrum buzz of the media landscape. Usually, mainly in the Past, all that was needed was a catchy enough song to release. It became trickier during the MTV Era, when a flamboyant enough music video was also needed. Today it is trickier still, as a video no longer carries enough prestige or commands enough attention to get noticed. An alternative, cheap route to recognition may be a tune to the opening or closing credits of a pay-channel TV show, for instance. At any rate, any self-reflecting posse of musicians ought to be able to ultimately figure out what they need to do to break the glossy surface in the Attention Economy.

When the fan base for the band has been created, the conformities of a proven rock n’ roll trajectory begin to take over for the benefit of the musicians. A lot of things come taken for granted:

  • a record will be followed by a tour
  • royalties come at the end of the bookkeeping year
  • the band may ask for gratuities on their so-called ”raiders”
  • the latest record is always the ”best” (even when it’s the worst)
  • shows are a mix of old and new songs, plus a cover song, perhaps
  • critics will hate the band, if it’s not a mixture of the academic, proletarian and pathetic
  • the first visit to the rehab of any of the band members is to be anticipated
  • etc. etc.

What is great, all the same, is that from here on in, all that fans of the said band want is that the band will repeat the formula of making music and rock stardom ad infinitum. The band may voluntarily or involuntarily, by way of coercion, have to repeat the qualities present in the initial line-up, for as long as it is capable of producing something Original in that 10 % of free space that is reserved for creativity, warmth, humanity and originality in the goings-on of a band. And this is Good News for those who are not that keen on change and self-improvement, but rejoice instead in free play and ego-tripping.

Fans, namely, accept all the flaws and faults in the bands and musicians that they happen to admire or adore, if and when these musicians steadfastly continue in the trodden tracks that they set to tread and sought for themselves. For this reason, it would be foolish for any young musician to try to be an artist EVERYBODY or ANYBODY likes. It’s bad for business, quite simply. Rather, be warts and all, and repeat yourself and your story. What would work in a rock n’ roll song (repetition and an acquired genre/niche/taste), will work in a pop life and on a rock n’ roll career.

I’m claiming that pop musicians have not become wiser with time and age, because they don’t follow, arguably, these recommendations in this time and age.

Thank you.

Arvio: Puheessa saattaa olla joitain abstrakteja aineksia peruskuulijalle. Se tulee kuitenkin ymmärrettävämmäksi, jos tietää, että en lähesty aihetta ihan nolla-lähtökohdasta vaan olen mm. tehnyt juttuja musiikkistudioissa ja kuluttanut paljon aikaa ja paperia musiikkielämän lainalaisuuksia pohtien. Parhaiten puheen tajuaa joku, joka on samassa tila(ntee)ssa tai samanikäinen kuin minä. Lopun viimeinen rivi selventää, miksi käyn juuri tämän sisältöisellä, vähän erikoisella puheella tätä motionia vastaan.

The Age of Content


Viikko 34

: Mar 17th, 2015
Motion: THB that there is still a lot to do about racism & sexism
Role: MP (opp.)

The Progress of Feminism
At this point, it seems to be clear what feminism has achieved. It has reached its primary goals after universal suffrage. In these days, a woman can do four things with flying colours: she can
a) live as a single, b) have a baby without masculine input through artificial insemination or a rented womb, c) live together with another woman (with possibly a girl child, in an all-female household, as conceived in b) and d) rise up to the top of state or communal tenures, provided that she has obtained a suitable education and experience for that to happen. These things in combination are something that early feminists such as Mary Wollstonecraft or Charlotte Perkins Gilman could only have dreamed of. Today more and more women achieve a mixed combination of these four things, and coming generations are guaranteed to get the same standard of living, if not realistically more, on condition that the Earth survives our standard of living.

Consequently, feminism is at a crossroads when it comes to its next move or motion. The real ceiling isn’t made out of glass but brick or tiles, by now. Some say that this is not the case, for a woman’s euro or dollar is still only 80 cents of a man’s euro, but this, in my opinion, does not really matter.

Women may get paid a fifth less than men do, but at the end of the day, it is most probably a result from men not giving birth and being on maternity leaves, men doing more overtime without asking for late-hours recompensations and men being smarter in positions of trust, leadership and difficult maneuvering. Some of this boils down to differences in biology, which sexes can’t do anything about, except emasculating men, and the rest boils down to possibly a historical privilege. Employers will make it worth anyone’s while, when they perform well in their position and task. All of progress cannot be made by means of legislation. Besides, single women have enough disposable cash in their purses. Many begin to drink it away, because they do not know what to do with their good fortune.

My notion is that since feminism has reached its primary goals and guaranteed a veil-free life worth living for independent Western women, feminism has only some derivative secondary or tertiary goals left. What might they be?

The Prospects of Feminism
The way I see it is that there are Three possible goals left. Feminists may want to
a) drive the instances of domestic abuse to zero (tolerance), b) bring the number of women with tenure to over fifty percent and the number of women with a position in the private sector to about fifty percent, and c) liberate and emancipate women in developing and underdeveloped countries from under the yoke of oppressive men, who are oppressive due to machismo, poverty, religion and other reasons.

The first bullet in the list is the only one that I would recommend to be solved. I’m in favour of zero tolerance for domestic violence, and harsher punishments for it by law. But the other ones are too much to ask for. Saying that they are desirable would undermine my own position in the playing field of careers, human relationships and money ($$$).

I don’t want the public sector to be swamped by women. Nothing indicates that they would do a better job than men on social posts, as social posts are constrained more by economic realities, controlled by men-dominated fields of export trades, than their holders’ own decision-making powers. On the other point, I don’t (have to) care about global woes and injustices as much as I (have to) care about the iniquities in my own country and continent. I won’t fight to make it right on continents other than Europe.

Accordingly, what I’m saying is that on this continent, feminism has achieved the ceiling and can confidently wave its flag off the rooftop. As the first continent in the world. There’s nothing bad about that. But sufficiently is enough.

Thank you.

Arvio: En käsittele puheessani rasismia ollenkaan vaan keskityn vain yhteen kahdesta pääaiheesta. Mutta riittävästi sanottavaa on siitäkin, eikä/sillä mahdollisuutta esittää 14 minuutin puhetta (ei) ole. Täytyy toivoa, että edellä on sanottu riittävästi. Alun poleemisuus alkaa puheen kuluessa taittua humaanimmaksi sovinnollisuudeksi, kunnes se loppua kohti ottaa vielä yhden nousun kohti poleemisuutta. Mutta ehkä ”kuumuus” on parempaa kuin ”laimeus”.

Motionless Pictures


Viikko 33

: Oct 17th, 2014
Motion: THB that capitalism in culture keeps mending itself as it goes on
Role: Rep. (opp.)

Capitalism claims that in a stiff competition, unhealthy companies and fields of trade, products and practises disappear, as they are gradually phased out by and with better products, by means of consumer choice. Money flows to where functionality grows. Then, why do we still have such a thing as a video rental (shop) left in our economical-cultural landscape?

My view is that a video rental (renting out DVDs and Blue-Rays) these days is the worst choice for someone who wants cinematic entertainment. I base this on the triangle of three criteria, which, I claim, produce a better outcome, when it comes to six other means of obtaining cinematic entertainment. The triangle is made up of selection, time to watch and cost. I’ll go through the other alternatives in the following, summing them up very briefly. I’ll begin with the freshest option and move from it towards less fresh ones.

  1. Seeing movies at Movies/Movie Premieres. Movies are at their freshest in the cineplex. The time to watch is short (the movie’s duration) and the cost high (10 to 20 currency units on weekends), but the selection is versatile and wide. Chances are good that someone’ll be willing to discuss the movie later on.
  2. Seeing movies on the Internet. Both licit and illicit supply of the Internet is great. One can see for a going rate stuff on Netflix, HBO, Cmore or up-and-coming services, and on P2P platforms almost anything, old and new, for free. The selection and time to watch are limitless.
  3. Seeing movies on Pay Channels on TV. Not long after the cinema run, movies make their way to the lucrative 2nd market. Specialized channels show only movies week in and week out. There is a good selection and plenty of reruns during a given month.
  4. Seeing movies on Free Channels on TV. Basic cable or free terrestrial national TV screen surprisingly or even amazingly many movies every year. At the freshest end, movies that are about 4 years old, are typically shown. Rarities, black-and-white oldies but goodies and exotic cultures are on offer. There is no cost and there is always something to see.
  5. Seeing movies as DVDs bought and ordered online. Many retailers sell compilations and boxed sets of previously popular movies and series. They are more compact than single episodes or single seasons, providing an arc of drama, and a full narrative from the beginning to the end. These are cost-competitive with a wide selection. The time to watch is unlimited, and repeated viewings are encouraged as a matter of fact.
  6. Seeing movies as Library Loans. Libraries have often slightly out-of-date specimens from crummy selections of bargain-bin titles in the worst case, but the time to watch them is measured in weeks and cost is free. The trouble of having them is the same as for video rentals at large.

Compare the specifications of all of these alternatives with those of renting out a Video: a poor selection of contemporary offerings in schlock entertainment — action, rom-coms, exploitation, bare bottoms and horror. Other people effectively preselect what you choose. You have typically one night to watch the film, it costs too much proportionally and you have the thankless, unrewarding task of returning the opus, even if it was no good.

We ought to witness the sunset of video rentals now. They exist today, I believe, because they made the decision to go into the business of selling candy 15 years ago, and they sell it by the ounces and pounds still. Candy makes teeth rot. Low-quality, cheap eye candy is no better.

Arvio: Puhe yrittää todistella, että vallitseva markkinatalous ei karsi automaattisesti kaikkia rönsyjään. Aiheeksi on valittu tarkoituksellisesti teema, jota ei varmasti olla käsitelty saman puolen aiemmissa puheissa, sillä niissä on pitänyt pitäytyä suuremmissa linjoissa ja suuremmissa ”vioissa”. Edustajan kuuluu lähteä omille teilleen samalla kun hän pitää puolensa puolta. Esimerkiksi näin.