[eDebate] Debate, the good old days, and Privileged White gamesMANship

Andy Ellis andy.edebate
Tue Nov 6 20:34:11 CST 2007

It Can't actually be that someone intelligent enough to be a debate
coach could have actually made the arguments bob made to allow Ede to
make this argument, in years of doing this its never that easy, i mean
that was the the debate equivalent of setting up the sextuple jump to
win the checkers game against yourself, or the three pointer and 1
plus a lane violation and tech to win the nba basketball championship
in your back yard....here is what i really think happened....

Ede: You know who folks might believe would make the good ol days
argument, that Bob guy.
Tria: No one would EVER make this argument
Ede: Bob
Tria: No not even.
Ede: But people would believe it was if bob said it
Tria: Yes!
Ede: go to roadrunner and put in db8coach as the login
Tria: Do you know the PW
Ede: Noper
Tria: I'll try "ih8 fire".....BINGO!

On Nov 3, 2007 9:47 PM, Ede Warner <ewarner at louisville.edu> wrote:
> Bob Lechtruck says in answer to a question about when should we debate it
> out and when should 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"
> Dear Bob and others longing for the good old days of policy debate,
> Before the kritik, before accusations of sexism, racism, and homophobia, and
> before "performance", debate was a make believe game where students
> represented a governmental agency, debated about policies of issues far away
> from personal selves. This preserved the notion of debate as a laboratory, a
> marketplace of ideas as it were, a place for students to test ideas, develop
> critical thinking skills, and learn about the world around them.  Debate was
> credited with empowering students through skill development and knowledge
> acquisition.  That sounds like the "game" that Bob says never had any "dire
> consequences".  I laugh.  I cry.
> I laugh because I was a part of those "good old days."  As a high school and
> college debater in the late 70's and early 80's I can count on my
> extremities the number of debates I had against people that were not white
> males, usually with substantially more economic privilege than the average
> American.  That said, there are three things that were true about this
> history that Bob longs for:
> 1) When NDT and later CEDA became a game of fast, technical policy debate,
> these activities for the most part were homogeneous.  And if even some
> diversity existed at the participant level, almost none existed at the
> judge, coach, and director level.  Just the facts.  Bob longs for a time
> when the activity was decidedly less diverse than it is today.  I laugh to
> think those days were good.
> 2) Every topic that has been chosen, meant something personal to somebody,
> even if not to any of the active debate communtiy at that particular time.
> Every core topic area had real people's lives who were affected as
> illustrated in the research or cards we put into files.  Some more than
> others for sure, but somebody's real world was affected every time a team
> prepared to debate any topic.  Just because their feelings, lives, concerns,
> and whether the ways we debated for and about those people offended them
> were not a part of our debates because we debated in ways which directly
> excluded their participation, doesn't mean we can assume those emotions
> didn't exist.  I laugh to think that we are so arrogant to believe those
> offenses somehow mean less to what we believe is just or right.
> 3)  The types of arguments that avoid dire consequences, that Bob talks
> about--whether big theory throwdowns, ALife, Aspec, Nuclear War Good,
> Malthus,  Racism Good, Beef, or any other meatball of your choice--all
> created diversions, and potentially would be found "offensive" to those
> missing audiences when linked to "their" personal issues.  Every affirmative
> that ignored the smaller consequences for the big impact, just like any
> disadvantage or PIC that sidestepped the important question to that audience
> in lieu of a better "strat" than a in-depth discussion of the more germane
> case issues, all may have produced "offensiveness" to that person who cared
> about the topic that we debated.  so yes, wipeout had dire consequences Bob,
> just none that threatened your narrowly defined self-interest.  And the
> personal confrontations created by being different, are not nearly as "dire"
> as you suggest.  Threat perception to eliminate difference usually results
> in more resistance to compromise.  But that's your choice.  I laugh to keep
> from crying.
> I cry because Bob, as well as many others, longing for the "good old days"
> still don't get.  The days of a monocultural debate community are over.  We
> exist now as a multicultural debate community where people have differing
> interests for debating, different ideas about how to engage a topic, and the
> likelihood of people being seriously offended by actions of others is very a
> certainty.  Is debate prepared for this existence?  Naw, it really isn't.
> Is going back to the future the best solution?  Naw, not helpful because
> there is no going back.  A set of monocultural debate practices in a
> multicultural society will soon lose any relevance for that society.
> I cry because the debate community--whether you believe in more traditional
> conceptions of policy or you believe in the challenge of critical
> performance--lacks a common purpose to connect that two.  And unless all
> sides make a choice to come together and begin to think about finding some
> common ground, the likelihood that things will get worse, before they get
> better is almost assured.  That's too bad, because this community houses a
> lot of really intelligent, really compassionate people, who right now are so
> caught up in the politics of their side, that can't see that the true
> self-interest lies in respect for the "other" sides.  Is it possible to
> create a form which embodies both the essence of rigorous policy debate,
> while respecting the creativitiy and stylistic interests of thoses with a
> more critical orientation?  Sure, it's possible, I'd belief relatively easy
> to accomplish.  But not until all of the attempts to censor and eliminate
> each other ends, and some honest efforts to find that middle ground become
> set the precedent needed to move forward.  I cry knowing that everyone is
> still trying to avoid the "other" side, hoping they will go away, either
> quietly or by rule or by force or by revolution.  I cry because I know no
> one should go anywhere, as everyone has a right to decide what policy debate
> should become, even those not here to represent their own interests.
> Sincerely,
> Ede
>  Ede Warner, Jr.
> Director of Debate Society/Associate Professor of Communication
> University of Louisville
> 308E Strickler Hall
> 502-852-3522
> e0warn01 at gwise.louisville.edu
> http://comm.louisville.edu/~debate
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