Steve Martin (4) vs. David Letterman; Serena Williams advances

Yesterday‘s matchup featured a food writer vs. a tennis player, two professions that are not known for public speaking. The best arguments came in the very first two comments. Jeff wrote:

Fisher’s first book was “Serve It Forth,” which seems like good advice in tennis, as well. So, you’d get a two-fer there.

That was fine, but not as good as Jonathan’s endorsement of Williams:

Serena would be great at an academic seminar. Just like academics, she has a contempt for referees, even while purporting to regard them as valuable. Just don’t let the Chair interrupt her!

Which was echoed by Diana:

I was going to root for Fisher (whom I have never read) because her victory would make Auden happy. But then I thought about it some more and realized how incapable anyone is of *making* Auden happy—or unhappy, for that matter. In “The More Loving One,” he writes:

Were all stars to disappear or die,
I should learn to look at an empty sky
And feel its total dark sublime,
Though this might take me a little time.

So with that motive gone or suspended, I vote for Williams. She’s likely to win a few matches before the end, and that’ll be fun. At the seminar itself, she might even treat us to a serve or two (not to mention a referee chew-out, as Jonathan noted). What could go wrong?

Most of that bit was irrelevant, but I’m a sucker for Auden so I liked it anyway.

Today the competition is a bit more serious. Steve Martin is seeded #4 in the Magicians category even though magic is not one of his main talents; and David Letterman, though unseeded in the TV personalities category, knows how to handle an audience. You can take it from there.

Again, the full bracket is here, and here are the rules:

We’re trying to pick the ultimate seminar speaker. I’m not asking for the most popular speaker, or the most relevant, or the best speaker, or the deepest, or even the coolest, but rather some combination of the above.

I’ll decide each day’s winner not based on a popular vote but based on the strength and amusingness of the arguments given by advocates on both sides. So give it your best!


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