Every year Dean Gordon stands out among debates as one night where we as Philodemicians collectively agree to forsake any semblance of poise and decency. Those who know the Society well know that this is just a pretext anyway. “Resolved: The founding fathers would be ashamed of modern America.” Shallow, clichéd, and only a little bit funny, the night’s resolution mirrored the quality of the night’s debate.
Our fearless leaders: Mr. Christopher Tosetti (COL ’11) and, making his induction, Mr. James Mohan (SFS ’14) on the affirmation with Ms. Jessica Stephens (SFS ’11) and, making his induction, Mr. Stephen Taft (COL ’13) on the negation.
Mr. Tosetti delivered exactly the type of speech we were waiting for. The founding fathers would be appalled that we have allowed the country to descend into democracy of mass men. The American populace is not intelligent enough to know what’s best for them. There are only 8,000 that people that possess the capacity for that—a group in which he included himself.
Ms. Stephens, affectionately referred to as the “paragon of modernity” throughout the debate, affirmed Mr. Tosetti’s fears of mass mediocrity. Highlights from her speech include John Adams getting the clap, “glorious erections,” and a Franklin/Hamilton beer pong tournament.
The night’s inductees, Mr. Mohan and Mr. Taft, continued in the same vein. Mr. Mohan declared that the founding fathers would be ashamed of us for our diversity. What happened to the superiority of white, Anglo-Saxon, land-owning men? Have we forgotten our roots? For men who fought wars against tyranny for fun, our modern forms of entertainment—online quizzes comparing Qaddafi and Charlie Sheen, books about witchcraft and vampires—are an embarrassment.
Mr. Taft painted a slightly different picture of the founding fathers as mad scientists—who else could create the Constitution as a living document? Apparently he’s not the only person to think of this. Mr. Tosetti would later say that the Constitution is “undead” at best. Though apparently he’s not the only person to think of that either.
Giving the first affirmation floor speech of the night, Mr. Manchester asked what you could not love about our country today. So what made it onto his list of favorite things about modern America? Women with shaved legs, cheese-wrapped bacon, and hookers on speed dial. No wonder Mr. Manchester is still single with high cholesterol and herpes.
At some point—no one is really sure why or how—the debate turned to discussing the benefits of nakedness in our society or, in the case of Representative Chris Lee, its consequences. Unlike most strippers who get tipped for their services, Mr. Medina was actually fined $15 for his. Speaking of fines, President Iacono set an interesting precedent when he allowed Mr. Stromeyer to go unfined for his use of “ass,” which as Mr. Stromeyer pointed out is simply a donkey.
In closing speeches, our keynoters seemed to have experienced temporary amnesia—forgetting that speeches were supposed to be clever. However, they did a great job in selecting our esteemed senior member, Mr. William Downes (COL ’11), as the recipient of the prestigious Dean Gordon Cup. I will let his words speak for themselves:
“I don’t need to read books, I’m American.”
“We’re going straight to the moon! Oh wait—we did that.”
(The Society affirmed the resolution by a vote of 36-24-6.)