[eDebate] Performance, Debate and the Law

Andrew Culp polarbear
Sat Nov 3 18:22:14 CDT 2007

I largely agree with your solutions, however it's no doubt because of 
your polemical examples.  What is missing, however, is engagement with 
the important nuances of my critique:

1) why is performance more "effective" at instilling reflexivity in 
debaters? (and why does 'policy' not value reflexivity?)

2) is performance just as falsifiable as being a policy maker?  (hint: I 
think so e.g. there's no real gauge of authenticity in regards to 
personal experiences)

3) what is the _immediate_ educational impact of pretending to be a 
policy-maker (which, conceivably must "wait") vs. the person you "are" 
(which can be made up, but would be situated as being _immediately 
relevant_, IE: how can we organize a protest tomorrow, how can we change 
being a student or debater, etc etc)?
followup: if switch-side debate on porn is educational (you get extra 
credit for telling me what that education is), is switch-side watching 
porn-with-a-purpose (as performance, backed up w/ debate ev) not 

re bob: i don't think this should be laughable.  i think we should learn 
and debate ways to make _our_ lives better, not better ways for 
technocrats to maintain wide-spread exploitation without revolt or 
apocalypse (which may be served well through switch-side debate, and 
most of the other "rules" of contemporary policy debate).


road runner wrote:
> Andrew said:
> >>>>>>>>>>
> There is no clear answer to the question of sexual harassment, and I
> don?t there needs to be a clear policy delineated by a tournament or
> ?the community.?
> >>>>>>>>>>
> And I think there IS a pretty clear policy in most of the real world. 
> For example, my fire department fired a person several years ago for 
> bringing some porn pictures, that he downloaded off the internet at 
> home, to work. He showed them to several people. Not one of those 
> people complained. However, on their behalf, the supervisor was 
> required to take action.
> I feel failry confident that had he fought it, he could have kept his 
> job. This was his first offense.
> The point remains, however, that materials deemed to be pornographic 
> cannot be brought into the workplace. If I voluntarily choose to go to 
> an art exhibit where I know pornographic materials will be displayed, 
> then that is different. I do not believe that a debate tournament 
> would meet that criterian.
> I think the law gets even MORE clear when you remember that while our 
> debaters are mostly in college (there have been some high schoolers 
> debating for college teams) not all of them are 18. I have had many 17 
> year olds debating for me in the past and have one debating for me 
> right now. I think program directors have a legal obligation to act in 
> loco parentis, and a responsibility to the minors (and their parents) 
> that extends far beyond the law. 
> Some discussion has taken place here about how debate was shut off 
> when the team walked out of the room, but I really think that LEGALLY 
> it was better that they did. I honestly think that legal problems were 
> averted by the exit.
> Then Andrew writes:
> >>>>>>>>>>>
> Question:
> What makes a performance that includes a threat of personal violence (I,
> as debater, will attack you) more legally actionable than, let?s say, a
> threat of international violence (I, as USFG, will attack Iran)?
> >>>>>>>>>>
> Yup, this is the truely the question. It is the reason I have fought 
> so hard against the personalization of debate. We have allowed debate 
> to leave the realm of a make believe GAME where people compete against 
> one another, and we have conflated and confused it with the real 
> world. We have taken what was once a fun, uncomplicated (well, some of 
> the theory was somewhat complicated) competition and degraded it to 
> the point where Andrew's question is actually germane. And make no 
> mistake about it, this question should be laughable.
> We should be able to say, "Dude, it's just a game. I don't think the 
> US should attack Iran anymore than I believe that we should "wipeout" 
> all humans. They are just fun arguments intended to win a 
> competition". But we can't say that anymore. Sad.
> Andrew continues:
> >>>>>>>>>>
> I have one hypothesis:
> A doube-bind.
> 1) Debate has no impact on policy making yet-to-be, making the activity
> un-educational
> or
> 2) Debate does not want to deal with the slippage/affective dimensions
> of how acting like future-policy-makers influences the space of a debate
> happening in the present (stated otherwise, the presence of ?future
> policy-making? that has material consequences currently, justified by
> consequences far in the future)
> >>>>>>>>>>
> I say your double bind is a false dilemma.
> Debate can have a HUGE impact on policy making yet to be. It can be 
> very educational. We learn about the process, the act of  weighing 
> costs, how to defend policies, and a slew of other things. But just 
> because we play the policy making game with "nuke Iran" as our 
> "gametime" policy doesn't mean that we will do that as policy makers 
> in the future. We can learn a LOT from debate about the real world of 
> policy making without a false assumption that the policies we advocate 
> in the game are the same ones we would advocate in the real world. In 
> fact, I think that a "nuke Iran" policy in debate would make it much 
> more likely that we WOULDN'T do something silly later on. Your double 
> bind assumes debaters are stupid and can't tell that what we are doing 
> in a debate round is a competitive game and what we would do as policy 
> makers later in life would have a different impact. I think debaters 
> are smarter than that.
> Finally, Andrew says:
> >>>>>>>>>>
> 2) What is the role of appeals to authorities interior/exterior to the
> debate itself? (ie: should we ?debate it out? as a debate argument, or
> does the debate stop and we call the cops?)
> >>>>>>>>>>
> It depends on the circumstance. If I take a baseball bat to you 
> in debate round (and I call it my performance), I would hope that you 
> would stop the "debate" and call the cops. If I force your 17 year old 
> female debater debater to watch/view pornographic materials after she, 
> her partner, and you, her coach,  have said repeatedly that you don't 
> want that, then I would hope you would stop the "debate" and exit the 
> room (telling the "authorities" would certainly be an option).
> If I, as a game player, argue "wipeout" as an argument intended to 
> garner a competitive ballot (as we did for MANY years without dire 
> consequences), then I would hope you would debate it out.
> If we can't tell the difference, then I fear we have crossed the line 
> from itelligent college students and professors to fucking 
> dumbasses.......
> But then again, maybe I am just too old and have too much common sense.
> Bob 

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