[eDebate] a league of our own.....

Jim Hanson hansonjb
Wed Jun 13 02:08:28 CDT 2007


responses below with --------- JIM:

jim :)
hansonjb at whitman.edu

----- Original Message -----
From: <debate at ou.edu>
To: <edebate at ndtceda.com>
Sent: Tuesday, June 12, 2007 6:20 AM
Subject: [eDebate] a league of our own.....

here's my kneejerk perspective:

1. we'll keep at it but . . .

---- You have many good teams.
------------JIM: thanks; ditto back.

2. it is both demoralizing to our younger team members to debate non-topical
"we should critically examine genocide" cases. in general, they hate it; one
kid quit because of it. our older debaters, in general, also loathe them but
have figured ways to deal with them.

----- I don?t recall any affirmative ever saying we should critically
examine genocide,?  I also think people get carried away
with their examples.  Any nontopical aff should have ?educational? reasons
why they are not topical.  They still have an
argument.
---------JIM: I watched a critically examine genocide case last year; there 
was also another one several years ago. when we argued "your kind of 
criticism is bad" we were told "not our kind of criticism." and your limit 
that a team should have "educational reasons" for why they aren't topical 
isn't a limit since the argument is "it is educational for me to express my 
convictions; to explore issues I feel are important," it is anything goes.

3. it serves virtually no educational function in my mind. that's probably
an overstatement but it is pretty close to what I think.

------ It serves no educational function to learn how to criticize bad forms
of education?  To investigate our role in the genocide
against indigenous peoples here and many corners of the globe?   What is
educational to you?  I think the purpose of these
debates is to investigate the impacts of education.  There was once a
routinized form of education  in Germany that was pushed
upon people for many years.
--------- JIM: I guess I'm the nazi. :) what is educational to me is for 
both
teams in a debate to have a topic that both agree to debate so that both
teams _can_ prepare sufficiently to have the issues fully explored and
argued. when the grounds for that don't exist--where affs get to pick any 
case they want--arguments are not truly challenged. indeed, the point of the 
affs I am complaining about are ones specifically designed to avoid 
responses because they are virtual truisms. isn't that a bit fascist itself? 
:)

4. it increases the research and coaching burden on our program. we want to
research the policy aspects of the topic. that can and does include kritikal
aspects of the topic. when we have to go beyond that already nearly
insurmountable level of research, it becomes even more difficult.

----- We all have to do what it takes to compete.  Are people really that
different?  And do you find yourself stopping and
saying, well no more research this year.  We all work as hard as we have to
for competitive reasons.  I was taught by Dr. Bile
that if the other team speaks for nine minutes, we will have something to
say.
---------JIM: we'll have something to say. my point is that it just isn't 
worth it. the debates I am criticizing aren't worth the hundreds and 
hundreds of dollars our program spends on them. they aren't. they might be 
to you; they aren't to me. that's what I'm saying.

5. it is irritating to debate teams that refuse to follow the community
agreed upon topic. that topic is chosen by a process and a vote--you know,
the ones where not everyone gets their way including me.


---- It is irritating to hear the same mead and beardon card win debates
when they are so falliiable.  Read my previous post
about how this process is being dominated by one perspective.  Until we get
topics that allows the affirmative to truly provide
?solutions? to the problem areas we vote for, people will be non-topical for
many legitimate reasons that are impacted via
education.  Why get stuck defending someone elses bad idea on the aff?  Even
if Ryan or Gordon thought this was good aff
ground, that doesn?t mean that debaters will feel the same when faced with
issues relating to the Middle East.  We got the
most amazing research tech abilities ever, why are we afraid of aff
flexibility?
-----------JIM: aff flexibility and complete argument anarchy are two 
different things. do I think the community should get an opportunity to vote 
on a resolution more in line with what you are arguing? yes. I am for one? 
not really although I do agree the topics have been too restrictive of 
affs--in particular, not considering the counterplans that have been popping 
up (no pressure cps and con amendment cps). regardless--it is the community 
vote and when my team constrains itself case area wise and even more 
importantly, strategic wise, to the topic while other teams run whatever 
they want, it is not fair and it increases our research burden to truly 
prepare that 9 minutes that bile wants.
-----------JIM: as for mead and bearden, yep not super exciting. same thing 
can be said about kritikal non topical affs that get run over and over and 
over. native american sovereignty, racial oppression, etc. aren't exactly 
new. indeed, while I am a lefty liberal, I literally want to gag at times at 
the repeated use of various forms of oppression to get a ballot. it has, for 
me, frequently become a cliched joke. same for mead and bearden whose claims 
in the context of most disad links are laughably bad.

6. I think the framing of most of the aff cases that are not topical are
exactly as gregg hartney describes--patently unfair to the negative. the
equivalent neg positions criticizing various aspects of policy debate but
not really the aff case are no better.

--- My team never whines unfair. (or patently unfair)  Ever,  I don?t think
when we are negative.  We only had one team that
actually had definitions this year.  The affirmative still has to make an
argument.   As far as criticizing policy debate, it needs
it.  Where would the criticism come from?  There still has to be a reason
your team should lose that is coupled with an
argument.
-------------JIM: I'm not really following you here. it isn't about 
whining--it is unfair to pick a virtual truism. it destroys the debate--by 
undermining clash--no virtually killing it--and by harming preparation 
(either by throwing out an unexpected argument or by forcing teams to do 
even more research than the topic arguments themselves justify).

7. I would gladly split including defacto (that is, start choosing
tournaments where more "policy" teams attend). practically, I doubt that
will happen but just saying . . . .

--- How would that enhance critical thinking?
----------JIM: by allowing our students to focus on topic arguments in more 
depth--to have debates where they are truly prepared--to not overburden 
research--to not frustrate kids so that they don't quit and get no 
benefit--to engage in the critical thought that "hey, trying a case like 
that is patently unfair and I'm not going to engage in something I know is 
inherently destructive to quality, researched, fair for both sides 
debate"--to provide policy critical skills.

This is the problem.  Instead of cooperating and letting debate evolve with
the community, the resistance of topic insularity and
narrowness has only resulted in more people ingoring the topic and having
good reasons why.
----------JIM: ? not following you here; this seems to be my argument. a 
group of people are saying "the topic is too narrow" "the topic is focused 
on issues that aren't relevant to me" "the topic doesn't serve my purpose in 
debating" etc. those are all reasons to leave "the community" and start 
something where you can do what you want to do.

I think those tournaments where more ?policy? teams attend exist every
weekend at most tournaments.  I hear ADA
tournaments disdain those people who don?t have disads or counterplans.
-----------JIM: yep and sadly, I'm $500 plane tickets away from that.

jim :)

Peace

massey

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