[eDebate] Um...Topicality still sucks

Travis Neal travisneal
Fri Jun 1 16:25:19 CDT 2007

Your question only makes sense if you assume that there is no  
slippage between penalty and disad.

The topicality argument is a disad, it is merely evaluated  
differently than what is traditionally called a disad.

When voting negative on T the judge is saying that there is a  
disadvantage to allowing the 1AC to fulfill the resolution.  That is  
why T arguments have violations (read: link), interpretations (read:  
uniqueness) and voting arguments (read: impacts).

On Jun 1, 2007, at 5:02 PM, andy ellis wrote:

> Why a penalty and not a disad to not being topical
> -----Original Message-----
> From: "Josh" <jbhdb8 at gmail.com>
> To: "Adam Jackson" <baltimoredebate at gmail.com>
> Cc: edebate at www.ndtceda.com
> Sent: 6/1/2007 4:14 PM
> Subject: Re: [eDebate] Um...Topicality still sucks
> Hello,
> When I was in high school, some parents got me and my debate  
> partner to do
> research to try to help them (and lawyers) with an appeal for their  
> son who
> had a life sentence.  After doing extensive research into the case
> (including multiple personal interviews) I became convinced that  
> the person
> I was working to help was guilty.  Personally, I am very liberal  
> and tend
> toward immediately believing that most people are railroaded by the  
> justice
> system.
> Whatever your views of justice....Researching the question made me go
> against my personal beliefs and biases and made me reevaluate my
> predilections.  In this way, being forced to confront not just a  
> generally
> held belief but both sides of a specific example really tested my own
> advocacy on a particular issue.
> A topic, much in the same way, forces both sides to investigate a  
> position
> and test each other as to the relative truth/truths that position
> represents.  It is all well and good to be for saying and doing  
> whatever you
> want whenever you want....And in fairness, nobody ever says you  
> cant debate
> whatever you want to....What many people do say, is that if you  
> choose to
> debate "whatever you want to" there might be a penalty because (and  
> this is
> not a FAIRNESS argument) the end result when two teams debate a  
> question
> that nobody prepared to debate is usually a WEAK TEST of its  
> validity.  In
> other words, if a judge had asked me to present my position on  
> "life in
> prison" outside of the context of the "prisoner to get life" my  
> answer would
> probably be persuasive but weak.
> Debate, at its best, is a means of testing ideas.  When both sides  
> know,
> basically, what is coming those ideas can be tested.  Sometimes a  
> team slips
> in a topical but obtuse new affirmative...and often at the worst  
> possible
> time (outrounds at a National tournament usually).  However, when the
> affirmative can pop a new case that literally has NO relation to  
> the topic
> presented for debate - the end result is literally ANTI  
> educational...No
> test of the idea of any meaningful stretch is likely.....No  
> relative truth
> is found at the end of the debate.  And the affirmative is  
> congratulated for
> "winning" what exactly?  How did the courage of their convictions  
> get tested
> by the other bright minds that are being confronted.  How did the
> affirmative open themselves to the learning model debate offers?
> I also think that fairness issues exist....and that some unfairness  
> precedes
> the question of a topic....But saying "topicality sucks" is like  
> telling a
> basketball referee that fouls screw up the game.  No kidding, really?
> Debate at least attempts to make what is and is not a foul subject to
> democratic deliberation and allows MASSIVE community input...and  
> while it
> may not be a perfect system it basically works.  Do I like that the  
> Con Con
> CP was almost unbeatable last year?  No....but the year was still  
> basically
> debateable....Did I learn a ton about the legal system and the current
> docket....Yes....Were my long held beliefs challenged by the different
> affirmatives.....Yes....Did I get to personally discuss those  
> issues with
> experts in the field who deepened my understandings....Yes.
> Maybe, just maybe there is a value (elucidated well by Branson) to  
> learning
> about more than exactly what you want to learn about?  I have  
> always wanted
> to confront new ways of finding evidence (rap, other definitions of
> intellectuals, application of topics to other contexts and ways of  
> knowing,
> critical literature, non-nuclear impacts...all totally ok with me)  
> but have
> you considered that there might be a value to debating a topic?
> Josh
> On 6/1/07, Adam Jackson <baltimoredebate at gmail.com> wrote:
>> This community is comprised of some of the smartest people in the  
>> United
>> States, and most of us think some of the dumbest shit.
>> Topicality (regardless of what online database it was found in) is  
>> not a
>> mainstream vocabulary term that people who do not participate in  
>> policy
>> debate use...PERIOD.
>> It's easy to do a Google search and say "IT HAS A DEFINITION!!!".  
>> In the
>> time you wasted posting stuff legitimizing, criticizing or just plain
>> lecturing about topicality, you could have found a recipe to make  
>> pound
>> cake, or maybe fix a flat tire (just to pass the time).
>> The resolution sucks ass, and while I understand that eDebate is  
>> used as a
>> forum to discuss the entire scope of the community, it doesn't  
>> mean that the
>> resolution still doesn't suck. There has to come a point...where
>> "straight-ups" and "crazies" come together and agree on what the hell
>> reality is.
>> God the DC annoys me.
>> I would write more, but I know you're not going to read it...so  
>> I'll do
>> what I do best, in and out of debate rounds...being blunt and direct.
>> Wake up, and think about what you let educate you before you become a
>> total idiot.
>> --
>> Adam J. Jackson
>> Towson University Speech and Debate
>> Cell:443-824-4273
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