Listening to: Fugazi

Reading: This Washington Post Article about prisoners out-debating Harvard’s debate team

Writing About: Drive, Experience, Entitlement.

True Story

A team of inmates took on Harvard’s under-grad debate team. And won.
There is a little more to the story,
but who cares!
That headline is true, in the most literal and obvious sense.

So What!

  • Experience matters:  All of our knowledge is informed and tested by our experience.  No knowledge, from any field, arises from a blank slate. It is all pulled through the filter of our life experiences.
  • Redemption is always a possibility:  Here come the qualifiers…. Some of the guys in the program have done legitimately evil things.  Whether or not they deserve a shot at self-improvement through college courses is a subject for another post and another writer.  Also, they are still locked up, whether or not long term change has happened is still to be seen (though this program has a remarkably low recidivism rate…here are their numbers).Even given those qualifiers, it is hard for me to look at this story and not think: It’s not too late for these guys, there is hope for a future, the potential to prosper and give back, to be transformed.
  • Stay Hungry: Please excuse me as I paint with broad unverified stereotypes.
    But isn’t it kind of easy to imagine prisoners who come from difficult backgrounds, and live in difficult circumstances; guys who research debate without the internet and wait weeks for books (made of paper) to come in and be cleared by security.   Beating the snot out of a bunch of entitled Harvard trust-fund babies? It’s all more complicated that that, I know.
    But at the end of the day, the prisoners fought an uphill battle to enroll in a selective program and research with a million handicaps.  Those guys were hungry!
  • Totally Unrelated Question:  If there are any lawyers who read my blog, will you please tell me how an individual can own a story?  It’s not about this one..just trust me…but seriously, how does one buy movie rights?  I called dibs audibly when I heard the story a few days ago, was that enough?  Does anyone have Steven Spielberg’s phone number?  What about Nicholas Sparks?  not for this, for some other thing.  Dibs!