The most surprising tale in The Word Nerds about debate was what Barbara Shepherd told. When she wanted to be an actress, debating was part of her training. It was the part she hated, she just wanted to be on the stage and not in the debating competition.
There has already been several TWN issues about rhetoric, so the step to formal debating was not large. David Shepherd repeated the old tale about the Kennedy-Nixon debate. And this goes to show that your appearance is just as important as your debating qualities.
The radio listeners thought Nixon had won, the TV viewers pointed at Kennedy as the winner. It was just that Kennedy looked better. In the visualized age, that can be so much more important. It makes you think twice about podcasts. Yet, The Words Nerds as a podcast is splendid, even without the good looks.
Previous reviews of TWN on this blog:
Ambiguity and linguistic tics,
Silence and Speechlessness.