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The Great FCoE Dance Debate – An Allegory

August 26, 2010 - 4 Comments

[NB: This is a slightly different type of blog entry. Despite the links within the blog connect to individual posts, this allegory is not directed at any specific individuals or groups]

“Today we’re going to talk about swing dancing, specifically Lindy Hop.”


“But wait, I want to talk about Foxtrot.”


“Foxtrot is also a dance, but different from Lindy Hop.”


“Well, you have to talk about Foxtrot when you talk about Lindy Hop.”


“No you don’t. They’re two different types of dances.”


“Well, they both use the same dance floor, right?”


“Yes, of course.”


“Well, then you need to talk about both of them.”


“No, really. you don’t. Lindy Hop and Foxtrot are both dances, and they use the same dance floor, but they’re really independent of one another.”


“But what happens in Foxtrot affects Lindy Hop.”


“No, it doesn’t, they are both completely separate from each other.”


“That can’t be. What about the line of dance?”


“What about it?”


“Well, if you have Foxtrot at the same time as Lindy, you’re going to have to follow the line of dance, right?”


“No, Lindy doesn’t have a line of dance. It’s a slotted dance and so it does its own thing.”


“Well what happens when the line of dance in Foxtrot gets crowded and congested? That must affect Lindy.”


“No, because Lindy doesn’t follow the line of dance. It doesn’t care whether Foxtrot gets congested or not.”


“So, you’re saying that Lindy doesn’t deal with a crowded dance floor?”


“Of course not. But Lindy has its own way of handling congestion.”


“Look, if you’re going to converge different types of dance on the same dance floor you gotta have some way of controlling it.”


“Each type of dance has its own way of handling it. The rules of one don’t affect the rules of the other.”


“How is that even possible?”


“Look, the basics of Foxtrot and the basics of Lindy are similar, but not exactly the same. They may even borrow some techniques from the other, but in many ways they are two completely separate dances – even though they use the same floor. They have dedicated space: one uses a line of dance that, yes, can get congested, but the other is a slotted dance that handles congestion differently. You don’t have to have one to have the other. You can even dance Balboa over in the corner over there without bothering anyone, at the same time.”


“But common sense dictates that if there is a problem on the Foxtrot side, it will bleed over into the Lindy side. There’s only so much room on the dance floor.”


“Sure there’s a finite amount of room, but you can dedicate different portions of the floor to different dances depending upon how much you need for each.”


“But why would anyone want to dance Lindy? Foxtrot is totally good enough.”


“Some people like, and are more comfortable with, Lindy than Foxtrot.”


“It’s completely unnecessary when Foxtrot works just as well.”


“Um… what?”


“Look, Lindy is completely over-engineered. It’s an 8-count instead of 6-count, the steps are more complicated, it requires more energy, and the arial “tricks” are not only unnecessary but are more flash than substance and don’t really add anything to the dance. The bands are bigger than you absolutely need, it’s a huge production and it’s a total scam of a dance that’s been passed off as ‘legitimate’ just because you dancers have been conned into thinking you’re having a ‘good time.'”


“There are so many things wrong with what you just said I’m not really sure where to begin.”


“Not only that, there are too many people who don’t know how to do it properly. They go out on the dance floor and try to dance Lindy when they really don’t need to do it.”


“Everyone has to start somewhere. As they get more used to dancing Lindy they’ll be able to figure out where it fits into their repertoire.”


“Besides, no one is dancing Lindy.”


“Wait, you just said that people were dancing.”


“Yeah, but they don’t count. You can’t use sleight of hand to avoid handling the important points.”


“What? No, I’m just pointing out that you just argued that the people who were dancing Lindy didn’t need to be, and now you’re saying that no one is doing it.”


“Well, is there a standard way to dance Lindy?”


“Lindy is built on some pretty basic building blocks, and you can dance in a lot of fantastic combina-“


“No, no. Foxtrot has standards. Well-defined, committee-overseen standards. Lindy doesn’t have that.”


“Well, the basics for Lindy are pretty standard, yes.”


“Oh, pretty standard, eh? Well, you see, that’s my point! You shouldn’t be dancing something unless it’s already standard.”


“Um, I think you’ll find that you can dance just fine without some formal body telling you how to do it.”


“Yeah, well how do you know that your dance partner is going to be following the same standard that you are?”


“You ask her.”


“That’s not good enough. You can’t dance Lindy unless everyone dances to the same standard.”


“Look, for what it’s worth, people have been dancing Lindy for a long time with the same basic ‘standard’ way of doing things. As it turns out, the ‘standard’ way of doing Lindy has been agreed upon by everyone who does that sort of thing. Perhaps they haven’t all been published yet, but -“


“You’re missing the point. Usually it takes around a year from a stable way of doing things to turn into something usable, especially if there are custom moves. It’s more important to know when we’ll see standard moves implemented in actual dances.”


“Wait, you just said that things weren’t standardized. I was saying that they were. Now you’re talking about a completely different question.”


“I’m worried about your slightly nervously aggressive tone.”


*blink* “Um, okaaaay. Look, you seem to have a nice Catch-22 going on here. On the one hand you say that no one should dance Lindy until everyone dances Lindy. But you seem to think that only people who dance Lindy are suckers, even though they may have their own individual reasons for wanting to do it. You have created a tautology where no matter which way you slice it, people either shouldn’t dance Lindy, can’t dance Lindy, or aren’t ready for dancing Lindy, and therefore people shouldn’t even find out whether Lindy is right for them or not.”




“Yes you have. For example, I said there’s some confusion about what a standard Lindy basic is, but you tell me that things aren’t standardized. This is, however, incorrect, because they are, in fact, done. Then you tell me that’s not the point. You confuse one type of congestion on the dance floor with the other, but you’re not happy when I show you that each dance handles that problem differently. You tell me that no one is dancing it, but when I tell you there are you say that those people who are should wait until everyone is dancing it, but in the meantime why should they bother with Lindy anyway since Foxtrot is good enough? Explain to me how this is really helping people determine whether or not Lindy is right for them, based upon their needs, not your own personal preference?”


“Look, different people who teach Lindy are teaching different things. You guys need to get your story straight.”


“That’s a valid point, and definitely one that needs to be addressed. However, it will be a lot easier to do that if I wasn’t busy trying to undo some of the misunderstanding that keep getting thrown up.”


“It’s your job to push Lindy, therefore you’re paid to promote it.”


“Are you suggesting that I’m fabricating my information? You haven’t pointed out any flaws in what I’ve said so far.”


“No, but you’re distracting people from the real issues.”


“Not quite. I’m answering questions one at a time as they come up. If you can point out where what I have said is flawed, then I’m all ears. If you can tell me that I’m incorrect about how to dance Lindy or where it can fit into the repertoire of dance, I want to know. But what you consider the ‘real issue’ may not be what other people consider to be the real issue to them. I assume that when someone comes up to me and asks me ‘what is it’ or ‘how do you do this’ or ‘is this a standard way to do this’ that the answer to that question is of primary interest to the person asking it. Just because you come up with questions afterwards doesn’t mean I avoided them in the first place.”


“But you still haven’t addressed the issue of Foxtrot vs. Lindy.”


sigh  “You’re right; because I was originally talking about Lindy only. It was you who decided to redefine the subject to suit yourself. If you want to talk about that, we’ll save that for another time when we had intended to talk about that. For now, though, we’re out of time.”



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  1. Ozden, couldn't have said it better myself. :)

  2. Lindy is a dance that you need to practice and count/trust on your dance partner. It is very dynamic, there are very well established steps that you need to follow. I guess most important thing is to use the same dance floor and allow all the dancers to make their dance moves without disrupting each others move.If one needs more room, the dance floor needs to be allowing this and the dance floor must be good in enough to handle all types of dance shoes. Nice allegory!

  3. Evan,Thanks for taking the time to comment and read the article. I'm glad that you enjoyed it!J

  4. J Michel Metz,With Using Dance Floor example you have easily understand people what is in Debate.So this article helpful for people to come up with real issues regarding others.Thanks for useful information.