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

road runner db8coach
Thu Nov 8 06:39:14 CST 2007


I have a lot of respect for both Ede and Zomp, but I think both are wrong. 

I think Zomp is wrong that Ede and I are closer to a compromise than we think. I think just the opposite is true. I dont believe that our 2 stylistic forms of debate can coexist at all. I think they are zero sum. 

And Ede is wrong because he misinterprets what I long for. He makes several bad leaps in trying to set up his straw-person.

The first mistake he makes is this:

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That said, there are three things that were true about this history that Bob longs for:
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I never said I longed for the history or even a return to those times, just a return to that STYLE and FORM of debate. I can be a big fan of farming without wanting to return to a time of slavery.

But the misinterpretations are just beginning:

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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.
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Come on, that's just a crock of crap and you know it. NOWHERE do I say I long for that "time" just that style and form of debate. And to say that I long for less diversity is pretty demeaning.

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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.
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And every breath I take will offend someone. Well, then someone will have to be offended because I refuse to stop breathing. I disagree that the old debate style excluded participation. Everyone can do it. I have seen deaf debaters do it well. I have seen a blind debater do it well. I have seen people of every color and every walk of life do it. I have seen people who lived in Tijuana Mexico and commuted to college in the US do it (well, they ran soc every round but they ran it fast and topically....:-) ). Some of the fastest debaters I have seen were people of color and the best debater I have ever known was female. I know participation for both of these groups was (and still is) low, but it isn't because they didn't/don't  possess the skills necessary to debate old school policy style. There must be something else.....

I think what it really is is that we debated in ways that some didn't like and they CHOSE not to participate. They figured they couldn't be the number 1, so they would either a) quit, or b) change the game to what THEY want it to be. Choice a) hurts them, and choice b) hurts the rest who liked the game the way it was. So someone is getting hurt either way. 

I will admit that I agree with Ede in one regard. 

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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. 
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I agree, and I think we are starting to see some of that. I do NOT, however, think the answer is to come together and find common ground. I think the answer is to split further apart. I would support an "unmerger" where NDT returns to the STYLE and FORM of yesteryear while CEDA can be as silly as they want it to be. Pirates can steal ballots, debaters can throw water on their opponents while they speak, and MalGor can dance (albeit badly) to their hearts content. 

Sure, there will be ebbs and flows in both styles and the numbers in each will fluctuate. But I would rather take my incredibly tiny budget and debate a couple of tournaments in NDT then watch ponography being acted out on the affirmative (which is supposed to be advocating USFG axion in the ME in case people have forgotten).

But, thats just me........ And maybe a few others.......

Ede concludes:

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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.
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I don't want the "other" side to go away, but I don't want to go away either. And this new stuff excludes my participation. Plain and simple. So my best plan for the future is to take a page out of the playbook of the IEers. When all the Interp events were mixed literature they found that certain genres won more often than others. To level the playing field they came up with different events for different genres. Now everyone in poetry is competing with poems and everyone in drama is competing with plays. There is, of course, a POI where you can mix the genres if you feel compelled to do that. 

We could do the same thing in debate. Have NDT be policy style debate with topical plan texts, lots of cards, and pretty fast,  and CEDA be, well, that other stuff. Tournaments could offer one or both forms of debate. You could even have some tournaments offer an MMA throwdown where anything goes.

I have been in the activity for 37 years. In the first 30 years I saw many stylisitic changes that I liked and few that I didn't. In the last 7 the stats have reversed, and the trend worsens. I think I will not want to see what happens in year 40. 

Bob
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