/Quips and quarrels: The 17th annual Life Raft Debate as told in tweets

Quips and quarrels: The 17th annual Life Raft Debate as told in tweets

On the evening of Oct. 9, Palmer Auditorium transformed into a giant life raft afloat in the aftermath of the apocalypse. For the Life Raft Debate’s 17th year, UM professors Scott Varagona, Samantha Webb, Stacy Bishop, Jeremy Carlson and Robert Barone, as well as university president John W. Stewart, came out to debate for the last open seat on that raft. In their arguments, the combatants not only argued for their disciplines (mathematics, literature, kinesiology, law, history and administration, respectively), but also touted personal skills that would be useful in creating a new society. Thanks to live Twitter coverage of the event, courtesy of the @UMLifeRaft official debate account, those who were unable to attend can still experience some of the evening’s best justifications and jabs:

Opening Remarks-

“What have these outsiders done if you… They could be zombies or robots from the future!” Varagona closes strong with great graphics.

“We need to multiply!” Stewart says, and offers examples of presidents past who’ve had the skills to pay the reproductive bills.

Webb says it’s not listening and not understanding that lead us to this predicament, and literature can help avoid a repetition of this.

“I’m the only discipline up here that can actually save your life.” Bishop reminds us of Kinesiology. “You’re right!” a crowd member agrees!

“For a reasonable fee,” Carlson is going to help us “build the society we want.”

“Barone knows The Raven by heart AND how to brew beer… I suppose that does make him indispensable.”


Shots fired from Varagona on how administration has abandoned us before and that Stewart hasn’t proved he’s not a future robot.

Showing how prepared his discipline is, Stewart passes out life jackets and leis, noticeably skipping lawyer Carlson.

“Lawyers shouldn’t write laws- Congress couldn’t pass a law if it was attached to a kidney stone!” Webb says of Carlson’s law argument.

That’s the past, that’s made up, those are numbers- we can be strong and all be our own leaders with kinesiology,” Bishop says. #dropsmike

“History talks about the Ferari, but the lawyer drives it.” Carlson finishes with a wink at Barone.

Barone pulls out the big guns (his own) in example of why we don’t need Bishop on the boat.

Devil’s Advocate (Dr. Stephen Parker, sociology professor)-

“We don’t need experts, egos, and saints of the church of reason on this raft,” DA says. “We don’t need socialism of narrow specialization.”

“We need imagination not possible from just one discipline. Let the open seat represent the unknown, a reminder that there is more to do.”


And the winner is… Dr. Robert Barone!

Barone poses with the oar and a group of supporting students. #BaroneOnTheBoat

Photo courtest of @UMLifeRaft

Photo courtesy of @UMLifeRaft




All the official live tweets of the event are available online at https://twitter.com/UMLifeRaft

+ posts