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Saturday Linkenings: the Great American Think-Off

January 8, 2011

If you hang around here at the Feed, you’ll probably agree that this year’s Great American Think-Off topic is a doozy: Does Poetry Matter?

Sure, that question is a curled yellow legal pad that plenty of people have scribbled up already, in books, essays, essays in books, blog posts reviewing essays, comment threads about those blogs, and plenty of other painful threads by people who may or may not ever have read an essay or a book.  So you could crib an answer if you wanted to.

But the good people in New York Mills, MN, don’t want that. For this year’s Think-Off, they want a story, your story, “a good story that shows a firm standing on one side or the other of the question.”  That’s great!  The best stories answer old questions, and sometimes we’re happy to embrace a question again because we love the story.

So what is The Great American Think-Off?  It’s a “America’s premier amateur philosophy contest…providing an opportunity for ordinary people to voice their opinions on some of life’s more perplexing questions.” Other years contestants have squared off over “Which Should You Trust More, Your Head or Your Heart?”, “Which is More Valuable to Society: Safety or Freedom?”, “Is the Pen Mightier than the Sword?”, “Is Democracy Fair?”, and “Is Honesty Always the Best Policy?”

Entering the competition is easy. Just submit an essay of 750 words or less by April 1, 2011.  Check the Think-Off homepage for submission details.  The top four entrants receive $500 and expenses for a trip to New York Mills where they’ll debate each other in June.  The winner is named “America’s Greatest Thinker for 2011.”

If it’s me against three of you, I’ll take you out for drinks afterward, win or lose.

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