[eDebate] Response from Lindsay
Mon Mar 5 01:04:55 CST 2007
First, an anecdote:
When I entered college debate I was so surprised at how different the
discourse was when coaches articulated the benefits of debate -
debate was (is) a "research-driven activity," and the primary
educational benefit is "knowledge gained through research." Perhaps I
am alone in this, having not come from a powerhouse high school
program, but this rhetoric was DRAMATICALLY different than the high
school rhetoric. In high school, my mentors talked about debate as a
"speech" activity first, a "critical thinking" activity second, and a
"research" activity third (and sometimes not at all). Debate was
supposed to help me become a competent, confident, articulate, and
charismatic speaker - not a research robot who knew the intricacies
of the CCP's Politburo or the reasons why Hubbard's Peak is a joke.
How surprised was I to find that my favorite thing about debate - the
opportunity to "speak pretty/be fancy/wax poetic" as it was now being
called - wasn't very important anymore. Instead, the compliments I
received in high school on my clarity and charisma became substituted
with criticisms of the low quantitative output of my research, or my
"unwillingness" to "go deeper" into the literature, or my lack of
interest in "being a machine" and putting out "walls of cards."
After a couple of years of adjusting and learning a couple of hard
competitive lessons, I will say that this concern over the Harrison
card(s) is one that I'm rather "underwhelmed" by. Is it true that
college debate is overly evidence-oriented? Yes. Is that bad? I think
we as a community lose something, yes. Has this obsession rewarded
debaters who cut not-so-good cards (or cards with absolutely
ridiculous claims) to answer smart arguments? Yes it has, because the
debaters who have the block of not-so-good/ridiculous cards against
the one smart argument will probably win (assuming there is no great
variation between the teams debating - there are exceptions).
Will I, personally, stop contributing to this "culture"? No - partly
because I don't know how I would do that (do I make a personal stand
against stupid cards in the 1NC?), and partly because judges at the
end of the day won't reward me for it with a "W." And, even if, would
the rest of the community support me? Pfft - have some of you read
some of the add-ons being read this year? Despicable.
If there is a problem in this activity with evidence quality,
production, etc. then it is not the fault of the debaters but of the
judges (and the coaches). As long as most judges continue to shrug at
me and say "but they've got a card that says..." in the face of a
completely rational argument then I'm going to read the not-so-good
card to answer the other "not-so-good" card. If I've got time, I'll
make the argument too - but in a big debate against another quick
team, I'll "put my head down and read."
So, I'm going to keep reading lots of cards (hopefully good ones) -
and I'm going to do so knowing that the judges I respect and like
will call for them and deliver articulate and clear decisions based
on the quality of evidence (and in-round evidence comparison - in an
Do I care that Harrison or Spanos don't want me to read their cards?
Personally, yes I think if they're uncomfortable then that's
important in my mind; but if reading those cards helps me win
debates, then I'm sorry, but I'm going to keep reading the cards.
On Mar 5, 2007, at 1:02 AM, Jean-Paul Lacy wrote:
> At 11:00 PM 3/4/2007, Sherry Hall wrote:
>> (3) If the arguments on my blog have merit, ...you should be able
>> to convince a
>> judge of the point - god-forbid - without evidence.
> This does raise an interesting conundrum for debaters:
> Suppose an industrious debater borrows heavily from your blog, even
> paraphrases some ideas you wrote about & presents them in a debate,
> without any attribution.
> Have they plagiarized your work?
> lacyjp at wfu.edu
> eDebate mailing list
> eDebate at www.ndtceda.com
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