[eDebate] To be blunt

Eric Wendell Marlow emarlow
Tue Jul 17 17:30:54 CDT 2007

In response to Josh, I want to take a different tact.  I do not have 
numbers to back up all of the claims I make.  Others have provided some 
of these numbers and the bottom line is that I don't really care.  I am 
expressing how I feel about this community and activity.  If objective 
proof is our standard then that just shows how bankrupt and culturally 
marginalizing this activity is.

Josh casts me as denigrating the accomplishments of Regis and Wyoming.  
This is a total mischaracterization.  Both of these schools would have 
succeeded despite the lack of a cooperative.  You said it yourself 
Josh, good coaches with motivated debaters will succeed despite all 
obstacles.  Is this the standard that we want to aspire to though?  

Interesting that Josh does not coach novice debate EVER, but is full of 
advice for others about how to be more successful at it.  Walk a mile 
in our shoes, then come back to me with proposals and I will give them 
credence.  Having coached literally hundreds of novices, I can tell you 
that only by changing the system in ways that makes the activity more 
accessible to everyone will policy debate thrive.  BTW CEDA survived 
and thrived for over a decade debating nothing but policy topics.

You can't seriously believe that the merger has been good for the 
community.  There is not one shred of your "proof" that can possibly 
support this conclusion.  I have talked to the man that gave you your 
second chance in debate and he straight told me that he doesn't know 
how we compete.  He says that we are at the same place he was in 1989 
but there is no CEDA for us to switch over to and be competitive.

Josh, I have know you since we were both in high school and you have 
always existed at the most privileged pinnacle of debate and academia.  
>From your stint at the magnet school to your job today, there has never 
been a time when you have had to deal with anything but the top level 
of debate, so I understand your desire to maintain your position.  But 
I tell you this, as a friend, if we don't find a way to make our 
activity more accessible, your position of privilege won't exist much 

I agree that what we do has tons of value.  That does not mean that it 
can't be made to be more valuable to all of us.

Will's championships prove what I had already said.  We didn't need the 
merger to prove how valuable CEDA was.  We were already there.  Unless 
it is your contention that the merger magically made Mich. State 
debaters better, they didn't need the NDT to prove their value.

Thanks for coming out of the wood work Ede.  I think the time is 
rapidly approaching when we are all going to have to take a stand by 
either mobilizing or moving on; I just hope we don't destroy what we 
all love in the process.


Josh wrote:

>Hello Eric (another old friend joins the fray),
> EM: Jackie is right...the resolutions do kill novice participation.  
>> 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 
>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 
>> 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 
>why does that mean we couldnt construct a system in which it was 
>better.  Newsflash (and yes, I know this will make me the devil) 
>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 
>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 
>policy debater named Josh (4-4 at the NDT before switching to CEDA) 
>the world of Non-Policy debate and won nationals (thanks in great part 
>getting acclimatized by a GREAT non-policy debater named Chuck Mallard) 
>his first year in non-policy land.  Are you really suggesting that the 
>coaches would not still have an advantage in the "magical land of 
>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 
>(for instance, we provide thousands of dollars in scholarships to our 
>for people wthout resources etc) and saying that the whole game should 
>changed in order to tilt the playing field entirely to the 
>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 
>a novice in high school - I realized I wasnt as experienced as the 
>or Champ people.  When I could compete, I moved up.   There is an 
>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 
>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 
>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 
>to go Glue).  In addition, its not like the Mac teams have been bad.  
>were all cooperative teams.  I personally remember Glue cheering when 
>cleared at Kentucky.  A little dismissive to suggest that teams like 
>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 
>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 
>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 
>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 
>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 
>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 
>or leagues will change that.
>Again, with all respect to Eric,
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