[eDebate] fwd: from Russ Hubbard Re: Resolution Controversy

Ede Warner ewarner
Fri Apr 14 23:20:59 CDT 2006


As best I can tell there are two discussions at hand:
 
1) Formulate a topic about debate to debate for a season:
 
2) What would the critical/performance/left be willing to debate for a
year?
 
Some thoughts on each:
 
#1- The first, as per Rashad's recommendation I believe.  Ed Panetta
suggested this a couple of years ago.  He had some topics although I
can't remember them at hand.  
 
Resolved: That the debate community should substantially change at
least one convention, norm or procedure to improve debate diversity,
competitive equity, or popularity.
 
Resolved:  That NDT/CEDA adopt a new procedure for evaluating debates.
 
Resolved:  That the debate community significantly increase
underrepresented groups in debate.
 
Resolved:  That the debate community should redefine pathos, ethos,
and/or logos in standards of debate evaluation.
 
Resolved:  That the debate community should substantially increase
affirmative action initiatives for the purpose of increasing diversity.
 
Resolved:  That the debate community should adopt a list of formal
goals and appropriate methods to achieve those goals.
 
Ed's were probably better.  I'm less interested in this option,
although I think it would be beneficial.  Why?  Because my concern is
after the topic gets debated, we'd go back to business as usual.  I also
think these topics will do the worse job ever of recruiting new
students.

On #2 - Debating the topics we have differently.
 
I think Jackie gets a lot of unfair grief (these remarks about not
having any resolution).  
 
All he, and I, albeit perhaps not for identical reasons have called for
is multidirectional, broad topics that allow more conviction on the
affirmative.  I'm want a resolution, I just want to be able to find our
radical affirmatives in the topic: I don't want them legislated out.
 
Before the outcry, I know we are the anomaly.  We want to discuss
systemic problems and build political alliances with other folks in
situations like ours.  I know that often the concern is the only topics
that allow those cases also allow the small ones.  But I prefer that to
the opposite word, just writing narrower, and narrower affirmative areas
that legislate out many affirmatives in the topic area.
 
Some reasons:
 
1) We all vote for the same topic area but for different
reasons/interests.  Given that, it will always be fundementally unfair
for some group when the topic is narrowed.  Unless we vote for topics
the first time, this problem will never change.  Also, the more narrow
the topic, the more people who feel excluded from what they wanted when
they voted for the area.
 
2)  I believe in the K.I.S.S. - Keep it simple stupid.  Last year, my
ballot choices would have been:  1) substantially change foreign policy
to China; 2) substantially change trade policy; or 3) substantially
change human rights policy; or 4) substantially change economic policy. 
I wouldn't write a military only policy since I think it's politically
too limited, although there are many cases there.  I think anyone can
find their politics but now the question is this?
 
     a)  predictable negative ground:  Gets produced by a couple of
things at the beginning of the year.  First, people pick affs they
like/love and are less likely to move from them, at least until the
national tournaments :-).  Second, the community needs to enforce
limits:  be honest about how topicality works:  the culture dictates
what is in and out, not any definition.  If the culture limits out
non-substantial cases by not allowing techne to dictate them, the
problem would be solved.  Before I hear from the masses:  recognize that
many, many people told us that they were comfortable making subjective
decisions in our debates, why couldn't the culture create some norms on
topicality.  I just think that a bunch of smart people can find a way to
enforce big vs small using substantial or some other word.  Perhaps this
is wishful thinking.  But instead of the topic community deciding the
cases, give teams a chance to pick, and perhaps even have a community
vote after a couple of tournaments, creating some evidence that could be
used in debates if teams keep running the "small" cases, making it
easier to win those debates.  Make it harder to run small cases.  Third,
times have changed.  Debaters today have almost immediate access to
technology and casebooks when I usually had no idea what people were
running and little access to research if I did know.  
     
     b)  Limits- The negative inventions and conventions make this
easier.  K's, PIC's, agent c/ps.  And I guess another thing I would
study is the role of generic arguments.  The role generics play in
debates where students have case specific arguments versus the role they
play when one does not.  I've always felt that students depend on
generic arguments no matter what, but I could be wrong.
 
Not going to defend any of this as gospel.  Could point to antedotal
evidence both ways.  Will advocate that we study.
 
I think the left would back off a lot if topics had more room to
maneuver.  However, the move towards smaller towards may have been
because that wasn't the case.  The advent of the K, and agent
counterplans forced the left to more radical choices, maybe.  All teams
on the left are not the same either.  Perhaps the post-modern critical
affirmatives wouldn't make a difference as to whether and how they
engage the topic, although for other teams, like us, it does make a
difference.
 
Broad topics won't eliminate the radical nature of some affirmatives
and programs, but I think it would begin to address the motivation for
some to move to the left.  And even that would benefit the current state
of debate.  
 
I won't engage a debate over which is better (small or big) cause I
don't see a purpose in that.  I am merely responding to the question: 
what would Jackie or Ede like to see if they had their wish list.  Me
personally, a broad topic that allows more people's visions of the topic
paper to become their 1ACs.
 
A debate topic might be good.  Frankly, I think that those of us who
criticize the topic, should continue to find ways to persuade the
broader group, although it is difficult at times.
And I think those who like debate the way it is, should try to hear the
criticisms and engage them honestly, with an open mind.
 
Competition should drive us, but it shouldn't define us.  That we have
to figure out how to do as a community.

>>> "Aaron Kall" <mardigras23 at hotmail.com> 4/14/2006 1:45:39 AM >>>

It appears that many of the same issues about how to debate, which
style is 
better, and where debate is heading have yet to be resolved since I
finished 
debating in 2002.  After reading the current conversation taking place

between Jackie, Josh, and Ede I thought that this would be a great 
opportunity for those on the left like Jackie and Ede to finally tell
the 
rest of the debate community how they would word a resolution (assuming
they 
would have a resolution at all) if they had the sole power to control
the 
framing/direction of the topic for next year.  So, to Jackie, Ede, and

anyone else who wishes to contribute to this discussion I am seriously

interested (although more curious) to see what a year in debate would
look 
like if you could dictate the topic.  Would there be a topic, an aff, a
neg, 
4 deabters, tournaments, trophies, etc.?  I truly beleive (at least f!
or 
me) that the community could learn a lot from how you answer this
e-mail 
(seriously answer), so I encourage you actually respond in a meaningful
way. 
  Anyway, this may be a totally stupid idea, but I thought it may
answer 
some of my questions about the critical/non-traditional (whatever it's

called these days) perspective on debate.  I tried getting these
answers 
during CX when I debated but usually just watched as someone danced
around a 
chair or accused me of being a (insert race/gender/whatever) ist. 
Anyway, 
in all seriousness, please respond.

Russ Hubbard
UK (small squad-only had 2 debaters and 2 coaches my sr. year) debate.


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