[eDebate] DCA Debater #11: AARON LYTTLE

Joseph Carver carrolltondebate
Wed May 9 14:32:39 CDT 2007

Aaron Lyttle.......what ARE you?
And finally, an answer. I met Aaron when he was a Junior in high school and
in no way did that prevent me from repeatedly attempting to assault him
physically. In all seriousness, Aaron is a great kid and I am sure that he
will be missed by those, who unlike myself, were not afraid of his clearly
non-earthly origins.


On 5/8/07, bandana martin <drmosbornesq at gmail.com> wrote:
> Fuck Corporate Beef: The Aaron Lyttle Story
> Increasingly, all of this DCA shazz-bah seems to degenerate into a mess of
> harsh admonitions over the state of our union.   Many lose sight about
> what the whole process is supposed to be about: remembering the people who
> have made an impression on you in debate.  While some bio's lack an
> appreciation for subtlety, the process nevertheless has merit.   But what
> if no one knows the person you'd like to remember?  If that's the case,
> fuck the popularity contest.   Some people have had an incredible impact
> on debate, even if they've never really belonged to the club-house or have
> garnered enough attention to appear on a ballot.  In this spirit, Martin
> 'I'm not fucking British, you bastards' Osborn(e) and Travis 'John' Cram
> (with cameo appearances by Will 'Jensen' Mosley), would like to offer our
> contribution to the process: the unauthorized debate biography of Aaron
> Lyttle.   While the writing is rich with nuance and wit that most of you
> heathens won't appreciate, those of you who remember Aaron and his
> accomplishments might find it enjoyable.   Don't ever forget your roots.
> Fast Times at CBN: The Early Days
> by Martin Osborn
> To truly understand the impact such a skinny, skinny man can have on a
> community like Wyoming debate, one must first understand the community,
> itself. I would assume it's hard for most of you to take this first step
> because one or more of the following seems strange:
> *(1) * getting 20 speaker points and the 1, (your 'delivery' was
> apparently excellent, but for some reason the judge disapproved of your
> 'evidence' despite not taking the time to read it),
> *(2) * losing a debate that you thought you won, and then reading a ballot
> days later that seems to indicate that you did win but the judge circled the
> wrong team (were you sitting on the "wrong" side of the room? rookie),
> *(3) * three pre-sets (break to finals, speaker points irrelevant),
> *(4) * being in policy but doing as much work as the LOLDers ( *i*. you
> spent more time writing a fancy 1AC underview than you did re-blocking this
> year's pre-season Harvex starter pack on personalized stationary, *ii*.
> haha K debate),
> *(5) * being judged by:
> ( *a*) guy who drives the bus you ride to school (karma can be cruel for
> those caught childishly exiting through the emergency door in Wyoming),
> ( *b*) the local police chief (ditto),
> ( *c*) coach of another team who is actively trying to fuck you to improve
> their meager chances of winning a tournament for once (you mean there are
> DISADS to never having to justify your decisions??? ? p.s. almost worth
> the risk because at least this jimmy doesn't flow on the ballot and time you
> with a wristwatch),
> ( *d*) your friend's mom (we haven't filled out the necessary permission
> slips to make this one funny ? not that Delo's mom was ever nevermind),
> ( *e*) your friend's grandma (do we hafta get permission if said grandma
> is now deceased???).
> This is the debate world that Aaron John Lyttle stepped into and changed
> forever (three to six years is technically forever if the population is
> small enough). Our research indicates that as late as 1995, policy debaters
> in Wyoming were still hand-copying (partial) paragraphs out of library books
> onto note cards. It only makes sense that AJL's devastating idea to invent
> and then use the internet to find evidence took many by surprise. After
> cockily dominating an entire state (two states if you count Colorado ? if
> anybody contests this caveat we either envy their pride or pity their
> intelligence) with a 1AC that was SO awesome that ( *a*) he was willing to
> let the other team read it if they asked to during prep-time and ( *b*) to
> not put it in a binder, with plastic page protection, would have likely been
> his first felony.
> Research prowess was not Aaron's only natural advantage ? the man was born
> with a (Jebidiah Springfield-esque) silver tongue. If it was difficult
> before for the power-hungry teachers and principles judging him to respect
> the privacy rights of potential-drug-using students, Aaron made it downright
> impossible (state champion privacy topic HOLLA). He was a high-powered
> mutant not meant for reproduction but luckily for Cheyenne East High School,
> he was a generous god. He taught us how to persuade the judge of ridiculous
> things by using wit (2AR overview: the 2NR is a jack of all stocks but a
> master of none*), revolutionized the intangibles ? the kid was born in a
> suit with a confidence-red tie ? and solidified the foundation of what would
> become a preeminent debate empire, the likes of which the mountain region
> had never seen before and will likely never see again. (NOTE: This is not to
> say we didn't have a debate coach: her name was Sandy.)
> Aside from establishing total control over one of the remaining nexuses of
> persuasive debate (CEHS debaters would later shine on the national stage
> that he had sadly failed on, eliminating Glenbrook North's top team at NFL
> nationals two years in a row on their way to the top 10), Aaron wanted more.
> He told the young Cheyenne East debaters about an entirely different debate
> landscape where people read really fast, mostly shunned persuasion over
> logic and were not commonly expected to wear their best suits. The
> tournaments they competed at took place so far away teams often needed to
> fly ? remember airplanes had only recently been introduced into Wyoming at
> this point (late 1990s) so this idea was very strange to us. These "circuit
> kids" also read "critiques" ? a siren whose song Martin Osborn admittedly
> gave into at one dark stage ? which Aaron apparently knew a lot about,
> seeing as he was the only one among us who knew how to pronounce "Michel
> Foucault."
> Training began. We cut more cards, (some of us) learned speed drills,
> started thinking about WHY people won debates and made new goals. "Speed"
> debate was a totally useless tool in our area but we were determined to show
> lazy circuit kids (who we were informed had all of their cards cut by
> coaches and who were all wealthy ? not complete lies in our experience) that
> we could keep up. Interviewee Will Jensen remembers every moment of his life
> that involves the word "debate" reflecting that, throughout his "debate
> career, Aaron has inspired and taught me more than any other person," (and
> here Will is speaking of that 6-month period where he actually did debate
> work) "before going to Berkeley's tournament, AJL was willing to debate me
> [maverick] every day after school for almost a month, even though he
> probably had a million better things to do." We can say with firm confidence
> that AJL in fact had nothing better to do but simply loved the feeling of
> relentlessly crushing a first-year over and over for all to see. Sometimes
> he even had the goodwill to explain to Jensen the ins and outs of the
> arguments ? and thus we learned about counterplan theory, critiques, and
> offense/defense.
> After Aaron and his also-very-good-but-not-hot-like-Aaron-partner Dusty
> Hixenbaugh went 6-2 at the Berkeley tournament and lost in doubles (on a
> disgusting 2-1 decision to El Cerrito), we had evidence that kids from our
> school could achieve national success, overcoming whatever disadvantages we
> thought worked against us with a mix of hard work and impact back files
> (NOTE: some of us are still stuck in this stage ? there's no need to name
> names [COUNTER-NOTE: Martin Osborn's affinity for Lacan in high school
> automatically disqualifies him from editorializing about the argumentative
> preferences of certain others-tjc]). This process culminated in two teams'
> legitimate (that's right Manchester Essex) qualification to the TOC, where
> they would compile about half the wins it takes to clear (a total of 3 more
> than Ross Richendrfer could manage that year).
> Alcohol, Depravity & Madness: The Later Days
> by Travis Cram
> Ole AJL did make quite an impression on me, showing me the virtues of a
> strong work ethic, stoic leadership and all that good sounding crap.   Despite
> this, the larger portion of the blame for my formative years of debate lies
> with Brian Delong and my 2 ? years of back-packing him around in high
> school.   Anything positive that Aaron imparted to me was offset by this
> peculiarly angry bearded devil.  It was very strange, however, to find
> myself debating with Aaron after my transfer to Wyoming.  It was like
> coming full circle.  Due to the vagaries of criminal law and the attitudes
> of the state of Pennsylvania towards convicted felons (a lexis source search
> of the Wyoming Tribune-Eagle with the terms 'Aaron J. Lyttle', 'Martin
> Osborn' and 'police cars' proves revealing), he had also found his way onto
> the debate team at Wyoming and on the same graduation track as myself:
> mentor and student gloriously reunited.   Having been the only contributor
> lucky enough to actually debate with Aaron, I thought I'd share a few
> experiences from the heady, wild days of 'Wyoming CL.'
> We quickly emerged as a team of cagy old veterans on the China topic.  What
> we lacked in skill and trickery we made up with our collective
> disillusionment with debate and life (which we had in spades, I tell ya).
> Wyo CL rapidly ascended to the plateau of mediocrity, breaking even at
> every tournament.  How did we achieve this stunning feat?   We could
> always bank on 1 aff win off some poor schmucks who were even slower than
> us.  Than we'd scrap together a few neg wins using treachery, deceit and
> our penchant for the impact turn (god bless Emory's prolif case that year).
> It was a recipe for adequacy; everything in moderation, even wins, was our
> mission statement.
> Finally, at CEDA, we discovered the key to success: nuclear war good.
> (much to the chagrin of Josh Gonzalez, who would come to judge our
> shenanigans more than anyone deserved).   After honing our craft against
> Whitman BM's Agamben K (suck it, Buntin), we discovered the key to being out
> of the tournament in doubles: Harvard KM.   Nevertheless, we took these
> lessons and ran with them the next year, clobbering together a string of
> 5-3-miss-on-points in the first semester of the courts topic.  Many of you
> are probably asking: who the fuck is Wyoming CL?   Our anonymity
> demonstrates Aaron and I's main obstacle to success: too much charisma.  We
> were so amazing as to even be unmemorable.   Our magnanimous personalities
> would blind people, leading them to believe that we dropped a ton of shit
> every debate.
> Above and beyond his triumphant success in debates, Aaron was far more
> remarkable off the field.   Squad meetings illustrate this: 'Alright, so
> assignments are as follows?Will, you take politics updates.  T-Cram, you
> take these case-hits.  Crowe you take these disads.  Delo, try to make
> your aff topical for once.  Aaron, you have to write a new aff, do four
> casehits and do you think you could cut some answers to this list of fifty
> K's that we don't understand?   Thanks?'  Alright, so it's kind of an
> exaggeration (we all know Crowe didn't cut cards), but not far from the
> truth.   Despite the inordinate work-load, he'd meet every deadline,
> handing over piles and piles of evidence.  Sometimes he'd go above and
> beyond that ('Hey, I was bored so here's a big omega-point file').   And
> there was never a complaint.
> That's not to say that Aaron isn't fond of fun (alcohol). Later, Will
> Jensen pointed out that "he actually combined debate work and alcohol quite
> successfully. Aaron could outwork any of the rest of us on the UW squad, and
> usually did so with a martini in hand. There are not many things that are
> funnier than a drunken Aaron intent on fighting someone twice his size
> because he disagrees with them about whether or not PICs are legitimate."
> Those of us lucky enough to run case-specific strategies and keep aerosol
> tracks in a backfile folder can only imagine.   Aaron and I also had a
> strong tradition of getting falling-down-shitfaced before trips.  When
> every flight begins with a two-hour drive to Denver at 3 in the morning, the
> sauce is needed to keep one's sanity
> Another case in point of Aaron's dedication: the art-bag.  Aaron packed
> his clothes for trips in this giant canvas sack that was designed to be an
> art portfolio that he had found in our squad room (don't ask ? parli).   In
> order to make sure our tubs met the airlines weight requirement, we would
> have to shift files into our bags.  Being of amorphous size and shape, a
> good twenty or thirty pounds of files would make its way into the art-bag.
> It got to the point that it probably weighed more than a tub.  Now picture
> Aaron, usually drunk or half-conscious, hauling this monstrosity through the
> airport (something that weighed almost 2/3rds as much as him).   Forslund
> had the bad luck of asking 'what was in the bag' and was assaulted by a
> surly Aaron who slung the bag at him, nearly decapitating the 'Shooter
> McGavin' visage that sits atop Forslund's body.   With the exception of
> this small outburst, Aaron still never complained.  He was an absolute
> work-horse, carrying an entire squad at times.
> That's what I find truly admirable about him and will always remember.  But
> even beyond the lessons of hard work and leadership, Aaron taught me how to
> have fun.   Yeah, we were never at any risk of breaking into debate
> stardom, but it didn't matter.  It was enough to be able to debate and
> hang out with one of your best friends, weekend after weekend.   Through
> all the levels of debate's absurdity, frustrations and utter bullshit, we
> never lost sight of that.  Outside of Cheyenne East alum and some old
> Pittsburgh people, few will remember Aaron, but he should know that he had a
> tremendous impact on more than he probably realizes. Debate is harder in
> college (take that circuit kids) so our success took a dive and a lot of us
> no longer debate. It is undeniable, though, that AJL played a large part in
> the collegiate successes of Chris Loghry, Chris Crowe, Brian Delong, Travis
> Cram, Will Jensen, Martin Osborn, Josh Schmerge and other Schmerge-level
> debaters who even we have forgotten. Nonetheless, a legacy of mediocre
> performances with a strong appreciation of self-deprecating humor may not
> have been created by AJL but it would have surely died without him.
> Aaron had the rare fortune of winning his last debate round ever (not many
> can say that).  Fittingly, we beat a biopolitics aff on 'murder and
> disposability good,' bringing our misanthropic thrill-ride to a halt.   After
> Wake, he silently stepped down to pursue a new life in law school and
> marriage.  We're definitely going to miss having you around, but we
> couldn't be happier for you.   Good luck in the future, AJL ? stay in
> touch, you shifty sonofabitch.
> *Stock issues: a paradigm whereby the affirmative must show that the
> resolution is correct by proving beyond a reasonable doubt that as a result
> of attitudinal, structural AND existential reasons, a significant harm
> exists that a topical plan can completely cure. See also: 5 minute 1ARs
> against 8 minutes of new in the 2NC are hard when nobody understands turns
> and you can't go fast.
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