Debaters Haggle Over Ninjas and Pirates

Isiah Reyes

Glendale College’s speech and debate team demonstrated its wide range of talents to a full house in Kreider Hall on Feb. 26 as part of the humanities/social lecture series.

Professor Mike Eberts, mass communications and political science, opened up the floor of the Speech Showcase by commending the speech and debate team.

Soon after, Nisha Star, a Korean native who has only been in the United States for one year and eight months, went on stage to present an informative speech about how fashion is an economic indicator. She began by stating how the length of hemlines signals the standing of the economy.

“When the economy goes south, so do the hemlines,” Star said.

Afterwards, Star began talking about haircuts. She mentioned that in the early ’90s, when the economy was doing well, women wore their hair long or semi-long. When the economy was not doing so well in the late ’90s, short or medium styles accounted for more than half of all haircuts.

According to Star, another fashionable economic indicator is lipstick sales. She explained, “During a recession, the tendency for consumers to purchase small, comforting items such as lipstick increases.”

Star emphasized that fashion is an economic indicator with the example of Michelle Obama’s yellow dress on inauguration day, which she said signified hope, the driving force behind her husband’s campaign.

Afterwards, Stephanie Tease went on stage and did a poetry interpretation of the one-act play “Woman with 27 Children” by Luminda Bollow, an American playwright, writer and actress. Tease described the play’s plot.

“[Angel] is basically an older woman who gets very ill and finds out she can’t have kids,” Tease said. “She and her husband [Vernon] are really secluded, so he starts carving her these wooden children. They start treating them like they’re real children. they bathe them, feed them, clothe them and take them to church.”

Tease continued, “[Vernon] makes her 27 children and eventually he dies and [Angel] loses it because she was so attached to him.”
After the poetry interpretation, Scott Honsley went up to the podium and prepared to do an impromptu speech – with suggestions from the audience. After several people shouted various quotes and proverbs, the quote, “There will come a time in your life when you believe everything is finished; that will be the beginning” was ultimately chosen.

Honsley prepared for two minutes and gave a five minute speech. The speech had to relate back to the original quote, so Honsley’s introduction began with a reference to the show “24” and how whenever Jack Bauer finishes something (disarming explosives, finding terrorists), something else always comes up.

The first example that Honsley used in his impromptu speech was a historical example.
“Remember in the end of World War II, when the Russians came in from the east and the Allies came in from the west?” Honsley asked the audience. “We were done, right? No, not so much. We had many years of rebuilding in the war. then we enter the Cold War, which lasted for 40 years.”

Honsley’s second example was a literary example of the protagonist Edmond Dantäs in the novel “The Count of Monte Cristo” by Alexandre Dumas. Just like the quote, whenever Dantäs managed to finish one thing, it always led to another.
Honsley’s third example was from personal experience.

“I recently found out that my wife is [pregnant] and I’m excited about that,” Honsley said. “However, I kind of thought that there would be an end to some sort of issues that my wife and I were having. But no – it’s just the beginning.”

After the impromptu speech, Tiffany Brain, the team’s vice president, went up to the podium to debate against Honsley on an issue that has been argued over by many geeks and pop culture enthusiasts for years.
“The resolution today is pirates are better than ninjas,” Brain said. “You all, through claps and cheers, will decide who wins this debate.”

At this juncture of the “Speech Showcase,” the atmosphere began to get a bit raucous as Brain and Honsley started to go off on each other in a heated battle that had all of Kreider Hall bellowing in laughter.

Brain included three main examples for why pirates are more awesome than ninjas.
The first example was the movie franchises (she included “Pirates of the Caribbean” and the porn industry).

Her second example was “Talk like a Pirate Day” (saying that you actually talk and act like them). Her third example was costume appeal.

“Everyone dresses up like pirates, especially since Johnny Depp made it cool,” Brain said. “What kind of ninja can you have?”

Following up those three arguments, Honsley responded first by pointing out the movie franchises.

“Okay, so we got three pirate movies,” Honsley said, referring to “Pirates of the Caribbean.”

“Actually, I’ll count five if you want to include ‘Butt-Pirates of the Rearibbean,'” Honsley said, referring to the porn industry. “Clearly, there have been tons more martial arts movies. You got all the Jackie Chan and Bruce Lee movies.” Honsley then responded to “Talk like a Pirate Day.”

“Good, let’s all get drunk and talk like a pirate,” Honsley said. “How many chicks can you pick up like that?”

Concluding, he responded to the argument of costume appeal.

“She says, ‘How many ninjas can you be?’ I’m going to go with slutty ninja, because if she was wearing lingerie down here and just covering up her face – that’s hot.”

The audience began clapping and making serious noise at this point. Next, Honsley presented his first counterargument, which was that ninjas are more elusive.

“No one knows you,” Honsley said. “If you want to be the guy who is in and out of a room and as you come out of that room, you have everyone’s wallet and watches – you want to be that guy.”

Honsley’s second counter-argument was ninja weapons.

“Ninja stars, Katana blades, big ass bows – come on!” Honsley said.

Lastly, Honsley relied on smoke grenades to prove that ninjas are more awesome than pirates.

“Do pirates have smoke grenades? No. [If I’m a ninja and I vanish], as soon as the smoke disappears, someone will ask, ‘Where is Scott?’ No one will know – because I’m a fricken ninja.”

With even more laughter and applause, Honsley seemed to have the audience in the palm of his hands. Mostly everyone was on his side at that point.

Honsley made a rebuttal to all three points one more time, adding one more zinger.

“Not to mention, if you talk like a pirate, you sound semi-retarded,” Honsley said. “So unless you want to apply for a special ed grant, you shouldn’t be a pirate. That’s really mean to say, but it’s kind of true.”
Brain then stated her rebuttal to Honsley’s argument. She started by refuting the fact that there are more ninja movies than pirate movies.

“He’s saying that there are a lot more ninja movies, but did he name one?” Brain said. “No! He did not name one ninja movie, but he names four that were pirates. Great job.”

Then she went on to refute the weapons argument.

“That’s awesome that you can throw stars, but I have a gun,” Brain said. “So back the F off. Those who live by the sword, die by the sword when I have a gun.”

The audience started to shift its position on who should win the debate. To finish, Brain refuted the smoke grenade argument.
“Smoke grenades, that’s cool, but we have cannons and those produce smoke too.”

As the debate finished it was time to declare a winner but both sides received resounding applause in their favor. There was no clear-cut winner.

Language Arts Instructor Ira Heffler then gave the closing comment in the Speech Showcase.

“We’re proud to tell you guys that last year, at the AFA (American Forensics Associated), among the entire country in two-year colleges, we’re number one,” Heffler said.

Heffler also mentioned that the speech and debate team is always looking for new members, and anyone who practices hard can be on the team.

Star described how she first got involved in speech and debate.

“I was taking a debate class and our coach Ira Heffler forced me to join the team,” Star jokingly says. “I wasn’t planning to do a speech like this, but when I went to the competition, I broke into final and I thought to myself, ‘Wow, maybe I can do it.'”

The speech and debate team meets in AD 205 every Thursday from noon to 1 p.m.

Scholarships are available from four-year universities to students who take speech and debate. The universities that offer these scholarships range from CSU Fullerton to Miami University.

For more information on the speech and debate team, contact Heffler at (818) 240-1000 ext. 3113. Jean Perry, chair of the language arts department, can be reached at ext. 5504.