DEBATE, n. What you put on de hook.
Many many moons ago, when Earth and I were younger,
They said I had the gift of gab, and should plan to be a lawyer.
I said “Research scientist”! They said, “We can’t relate;
With that you can’t bring cash to hand, o you of poor estate;
“‘Twould waste the power you have with words to do any thing but make
All that can be had in courtroom theatre debate!”
“You mean”, I gasped, “just like the man whom all in town call Flea?”
“You’re in a tiny house. He has a mansion. Just come see.”
The scientist who wished to be sneered, “This is all a lie.”
The empty bank account snarled back, “You know nothing ’til you try.”
To debating club I went and said, “I’ll make with you a pact;
Teach me how to win my case through best display of fact.”
They howled and laughed, for on and on, and when at last they breathed,
They dried their eyes, shook heads and said, “We think it’s best you leave;
“We score you not upon the facts but on how you plead against them.
Better still, if the case you win, yourself would be protestin’.”
The scientist lost all respect for law and polity,
And now, with alternative facts in charge, for all humanity.
– Neil Degrasse Graham
(The Cope poem in the image, in variously corrupted versions, has been making the Facebook rounds lately, usually to decry “mansplaining” and otherwise conduct thoroughly deserved assaults on the pitiful remnants of maleness in the USA. The version posted is the original, as presented in The Guardian newspaper on 26 May 2001, shortly after its publication.)