[eDebate] Topicality can make people radical too

Eli Brennan elibrennan
Fri Jun 15 21:06:52 CDT 2007

I think the power of the S/L skit is as reductio the logical better-half to
the Straw-person.  Here is what debate qua radical politics may be... unless
we prepare wisely.  Radicalism trumping prudence and measure... because
prudence and measure are just Tools of the Man leads to a Comic End.  Now,
Andy's "no link" argument doesn't quite deal with this.  To answer a
reductio, one needs some non-arbitrary standards of conduct that backstop
the logical extension of radicalism-for-its-own-sake.  This is not the same
as a slip-slope or a DA.  Sadly the skit was funny for me because it was SO
much like the hermeneutics of radicalism I have seen produced by the habit
of Link Spinning on the Neg for one's K: "well, they use the State, don't

I'm sure there are such standards, at least implicitly, working for many in
this discussion... but their not being clear makes it possible that they are
plural, contradictory, unworkable, etc.  The other risk is that they produce
what some may snidely caricature as insufficiently radical, which I take to
be the point of the skit-as-argument.

I'm enjoying the discussion... not really picking a fight.  But I think
reductio gets a bad rap many times... and thought I'd shoot in my cent and a

eli brennan
UMN- golden gopher debate

On 6/15/07, Andy Ellis <andy.edebate at gmail.com> wrote:
> While humorous and with some value the straw person snl skit is good for
> laughs and not so much for arguments...neither jackie or i or anybody else
> is saying topics are bad, we are saying the topic the committiee chooses is
> bad, and that good debate can occur on other topics as well.
> No one is doubting that some good can come from teams that debate
> topically, the questions seem to be a soft one "can other forms of debate
> exist alongside Policy Debate" and a harder one, "should anyone be allowed
> free of deliberative challenege to ONLY debate the choosen topic even if its
> a bad one"
> I appreciate the point about trolling, but like so many switch side good
> arguments i think it is good in theory but difficult in applicability, it
> can help, but how much do you allow when creating a space for that potential
> help.
> Here is a ? about "switching sides" most of the community agrees that
> racism is bad, yet we dont very frequently have racism good or ok debates?
> Why not? Does switch side pedagogy dictate that we should?  Not to say these
> debates dont exist, but more to question where and when switch side pedagogy
> is useful, it is often unbounded in the explanationss of its value and we
> all know thats not true, so where does it work....and how does that relate
> to what you agree or disagree with...
> On 6/15/07, Steve Sawyer <sawyers25 at yahoo.com> wrote:
> >
> > Yesterday, Jackie asked: "does verbalizing things you
> > disagree with change your perspective."  It can, but
> > to suggest that reading an aff that you disagree with
> > is necessarily like Kunta Kinte calling himself "Toby"
> > seems pretty absurd to me.  Collegiate debate is a
> > relatively free forum.  It's totally possible to
> > verbalize something while disagreeing with it.  See
> > the WGLF.  It's called trolling, and aside of its
> > political implications, it's also a great way to get
> > off some steam.
> >
> > See the Wiki:
> > http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_troll
> >
> > Some examples, a "not news" site:
> > http://forums.fark.com/cgi/fark/comments.pl?IDLink=2867896#new
> > (attention to KrispieKringle there)
> > http://forums.fark.com/cgi/fark/comments.pl?IDLink=2869516
> > (attention to Skleenar and skookum)
> > http://forums.fark.com/cgi/fark/comments.pl?IDLink=2861628
> > (advanced exercise - spot the trolls on your own.)
> >
> > Trolling solves Jackie's concerns about banking and
> > verbalizing because it allows you to test the extremes
> > of ideas that you find repugnant.  If your concern is
> > that switch-side debate forces people to the center,
> > trolling totally obliterates any hope of finding
> > common ground.  The entire purpose is to force the
> > debate to the extreme, and it works.
> >
> > Of course there are some negatives to trolling.  For
> > the political activist, it could backfire and cause
> > people to question your actual motives.  For the
> > debate community in general, it can be patently
> > uncivil and irritating.  Yet, it is a valid option for
> > those who disagree with any given topic.
> >
> > Lastly, for those who think that "topicality still
> > sucks" may want to consider what happens to political
> > activists who decide to totally avoid the topic:
> > http://snltranscripts.jt.org/02/02krally.phtml
> >
> > Troll away,
> > Steve
> > Formerly Catholic Debate
> >
> >
> >
> >
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Eli Brennan

"So it goes." - Vonnegut
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