[eDebate] To be blunt

Josh jbhdb8
Tue Jul 17 15:59:26 CDT 2007

Hello Eric (another old friend joins the fray),

 EM: Jackie is right...the resolutions do kill novice participation.  Trying
> to balance a topic competitively for the top 16 teams in the country on
> the last day of the NDT is a useless model if it costs our community 50
> novice teams a year.

JBH: Got to ask for your source on that one?

EM:  Compare these resolutions to something simple
> like Resolved that advertising degrades the quality of life in the US.
> I remember Jarman having cards that said almost those exact words in
> his billboards aff.  I dare anyone to find anything remotely close to
> the wording of any of these resolutions in the actual literature.

JBH: We have solvency cards for the words in the current potential topics.
I also had them on advertising.  I am not sure why having cards that
literally say the words in the topic in order is the yardstick for if a
topic is good or not.

> EM: Josh's proposals fail.  He remembers these things being tried in the
> past.  There is a reason they are only memories...because each and
> every one of them failed; in some cases they didn't even last out the
> year that they were created.  Creating more elitism in the community
> isn't going to solve the fact that we are tacitly or openly supporting
> a system of privilege.

JBH: Really? I think they failed, at the time, because nobody was that
committed to Novice in the areas where it failed.  Even if you are right,
why does that mean we couldnt construct a system in which it was performed
better.  Newsflash (and yes, I know this will make me the devil) experienced
debaters will beat NOVICE debaters on whatever topic you construct...Its
just the way it goes.  Getting rid of policy topics doesnt get rid of the
advantages of experienced policy debaters..It just means you will get to
compete only against other programs that agree with your stylistic goals for
debate...Maybe that is really what you are after here.  Example, a mediocre
policy debater named Josh (4-4 at the NDT before switching to CEDA) entered
the world of Non-Policy debate and won nationals (thanks in great part to
getting acclimatized by a GREAT non-policy debater named Chuck Mallard) in
his first year in non-policy land.  Are you really suggesting that the best
coaches would not still have an advantage in the "magical land of non-policy
topics" or are you saying "if we leave - they wont follow us?"

Matt also makes a great point here, its not like you should punish
experienced debaters for being experienced.  There is also a difference
between recognizing that you are privleged and trying to counter-act that
(for instance, we provide thousands of dollars in scholarships to our camp
for people wthout resources etc) and saying that the whole game should be
changed in order to tilt the playing field entirely to the inexperienced.
How about we do our best to teach the inexperienced....and let the
experienced be who they are?  I dont remember feeling ghettoized when I was
a novice in high school - I realized I wasnt as experienced as the Varsity
or Champ people.  When I could compete, I moved up.   There is an academic
value to what we teach....There is an academic value to what we
teach....There is an academc value to what we teach.....If there is a novice
or an experienced debater - I want to teach them about rigorous
argumentation, about quality and deep research, and to use every resource I
can muster to get them the best instruction possible so that when they leave
my institution I have helped them in every way I can.

EM: Matt's proposal fails.  I have nothing but the highest amount of
respect for the cooperative and the endless amount of time and energy
Matt puts into it, but the cooperative has not produced one program
that has been successful in the elitist structure that would not have
been successful anyway.  I feel Matt on the issue of debate and life
privilege being distinct, but nothing in our activity can contribute to
that debate privilege.  How many first rounders in the last five years
actually were only privileged by debate and not life?  Our system, even
with cooperatives, still favors those who are privileged in life
outside of debate.

JBH: Got to disagree with your police work here - Matt's teams have been
pretty awesome at Wyoming and Regis was pretty awesome a few years ago (way
to go Glue).  In addition, its not like the Mac teams have been bad.  Those
were all cooperative teams.  I personally remember Glue cheering when Regis
cleared at Kentucky.  A little dismissive to suggest that teams like that
make no difference.  Matt would definately have had a Bid team last year but
for someone leaving the team in the middle.

EM: Tuna is right.  It is time for the merger to end.  In our need to prove
that CEDA was as good as NDT, we committed to this course of action.
It has proved foolhardy.  We have crushed our regional strengths,
reduced our regional tournaments to mere sidenotes on the NDT schedule,
watched our membership steadily decline each year, and watched
divisions shrink until they no longer exist in many tournaments.  Some
will say it is too late to go back, but those are the same voices that
advocate this elitist domination of debate.  In order to be seen as
equal to the NDT community, we tore down our big tent and made some of
our oldest members relocate to other homes.  Time to put the tent back
up and open the circus again.  Tuna issues a warning in hopes that
people will listen, I guess I am a little more cynical because I know
his plea will fall on deaf ears.  My opinion isn't just based on
nostalgia...Neil's statistics support several of my conclusions.

JBH: Once again, in the glory days before the merger - there were elite
programs that killed everyone else, and teams started leaving in
droves.....In fact, one of the last meetings I attended in a leadership role
in CEDA pre-merger was dedicated to the collapse of CEDA numbers.  I had a
LONG discussion with Tuna about the "Big Tent" falling...and made the
argument that the people that were leaving were leaving for good
reasons...and that the "BIG TENT" of debate including all its forms provided
a good and diverse area where every program could find a place for
themself.  Maybe this is all you are really saying.  However, yours is a
program that had teams clear at both the NDT and CEDA nats prior to the
merger....It is possible....It did work.  There is a value to what we do.

EM: How many more summers will we whine about this trainwreck of a topic
process in a broken structure before we choose to act?  I think that
the day of an NDT without enough participants is just around the
corner.  CEDA is still seen as second rate in the most elitist parts of
the community, so the approval we hoped for never emerged and never
will.  Witness the fact that of all the major CEDA tournaments that
consistently managed full double octs, many no longer exist and none
make doubles.  We would have been alot better off if we had been
satisfied with what we created and stopped measuring it against some
false ideal from which we could never achieve acceptance and respect.

JBH: What about all the former CEDA folk that have succeeded in the NWO of
the merger....What about Repko's two NDT championships...Should we just
discount Jackie's run to second in the Copeland race last year?  Good
coaches with good debaters win championships.....No change of topic or rules
or leagues will change that.

Again, with all respect to Eric,

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