No, it’s performance art.
Those were the winners of the Cross Examination Debate Association‘s 2014 national championship.
What debate took place here?
From the Wikipedia entry:
In the 2013 tournament, the winning team from Emporia State University was criticized for using personal memoirs and rap music to criticize white privilege during the debate. Opponents to this form of debate argue that rhetorical tools utilized by recent championship teams violated the anti-harassment policies of CEDA and the National Debate Tournament, and common sense. CEDA President Paul Mabrey points to the value of limited actual formal rules in CEDA debate and the ways that a variety of forms of debate raise the educational value of the activity and call these objections “nothing other than thinly-veiled racism.”
In the 2014 tournament, the CEDA came under fire for crowning a championship debate team whose arguments critics described as incomprehensible, off topic and refused to abide by time limits and moderation. Going so far as to make a fart sound as a rebuttal. Despite winning the tournament, the winning team from Towson University was criticized by these observers for referencing racial slurs. In the wake of this controversy, CEDA President Mabrey stated in an official CEDA video that the accusations of poor preparation and incomprehensibility “These stories represent the worst of our human bigotry. These attacks on Towson, Oklahoma, and others in our debate community are motivated by racism.”
“President Mabrey” is Paul Mabrey, a professor of communication at James Madison(!) University. One more example of why you should go ahead and stick a fork in Western Civ. We’re done.
I’m pretty sure James Madison is whirling in his grave.