[eDebate] TOPIC ANARCHY....

matt stannard stannardmatt
Fri Jun 22 13:06:14 CDT 2007

...my argument has been relatively specific to the trend in resolutional framing that makes "good debates" but not topics that provide  a  valuable  content based learning experience for students that are not interested in carrerrs in federal government  policy making, im not suggesting that there are no benefits from debate or advocacy or testing arguments but that when ross says the skills we learn are not really connected to the things we debate about i think that creates an unjust democratic situation that would rather err on the side of "good Debate topics" as opposed to "good topics for political debate" 
This is a matter of opinion.  I could argue that everyone has a stake in what governments do, and that any arguments that say people are disconnected and alienated from government policymaking would be (and currently are) appropriate negative kritik ground.  
Wow, see, difference of opinion on the value of certain resolutions.  How, pray tell, should we work out this difference of opinion?  By discussing it, and then taking a vote.  If the majority of the debate community wants different agents in resolutions, then such topic papers and proposals will be voted in.  
But whoa, you say, the minority opinion gets the shaft here.  Well, if it's a substantial enough number, then just secede and form a new debate organization that debates the kinds of resolutions the majority of that new community wants.  
You can act as irritated as you want, Steven Andrew Ellis, but the reason we keep asking these questions is that your answers make no damn sense.  
i dont think the trend in specialization in topics provides what many of the students i work with need for their political development and educational development
And please don't be insulted by this, but I don't know what makes you the arbiter of what your students need politically and educationally.  I agree that poor students are disenfranchised but I think a lot of your concern is absorbed into the opportunity to run radical arguments on the negative, and also to fit critical affs into topical parameters.  Moreover, most directors in similar situations seem to disagree with you.  I'm not throwing that in your face; I'm just asking what makes you better at assessing your students' needs than Betty Maddox or Melissa Wade.  
...while i work to make reforms i will also work to create alternatives...i dont think it is intrinsically related to topics or committees or anything like that..... >>>
I think your alternatives suck.  They are not only unworkable and have zero chance of receiving any significant popular support, but they are actually incoherent in multiple ways.  The way I see it, assuming the debaters you coach agree with you, you have three feasible alternatives: (1) Debate the topic as creatively as possible but be topical on the aff and critical on the neg, taking advantage of MPJ in order to do so but realizing that sometimes (gasp horror of horrors) you have to meet people halfway on things; (2) be one of the two or three teams that can win rulebreaking debates consistently; (3) leave CEDA/NDT and start a new league.
What you're doing right now is a waste of time.  You may think you're creating new critical space simply by suggesting these ideas.  I don't think you are.  You've stumbled into a "resolution-resolution" equivalent of "plan-plan" debates and it's just getting ridiculous.   
Sure, if the aff makes an argument about why they get to go for 20 minutes in the 1ac and 2 minutes for the rest of the speeches and the neg either agrees or  loses the argument about why thats bad  then i would  probably vote on that...
Ah, but (in my best shanahan voice) you're still constrained by the structure, maaaaan.  See, if you were really consistent about this, you wouldn't merely accept proposals that COMPENSATE for frontloading speech times.  If you were truly radical, you'd allow debaters, by mutual agreement, to extend speech times to hours or even days, without compensating for the lost time.  You'd allow tournaments to drag on for weeks, and if the cops came to force the debaters to leave the room because it's monday morning and the debate was still going on and classes were supposed to start, well, I suppose you'd chain yourself to a desk or something.  But you wouldn't do that, because you've run tournaments, so you know you can't REALLY screw around with speech times.  On the other hand, if the community democratically decided that speech times needed to be changed, they could vote on it...
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