[eDebate] Performance, Debate and the Law
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
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:
> 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
> 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
> But then again, maybe I am just too old and have too much common sense.
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