[eDebate] Public Apology to Darren and why the topic still sucks

scottelliott at grandecom.net scottelliott
Wed Oct 3 02:50:46 CDT 2007

Thanks to Missouri State, Eric Morris and to the Mid-West programs for welcoming
us to CEDA policy debate. I want to apologize to Darren for telling his
significant other that she was complicit in the Evil that is the CEDA/NDT Topic
Committee. It was a joke--only that she is complicit in that Evil. [The Topic
Committee is the OTHER/EVIL that so many of you Kritik hacks speak about. No
telling how much violence you all could reduce if you could just "recognize the
Topic Committee for what it is and rethink," LOL]

Actually, I want to point out that that Darren took the time to listen to my
complaints about how much this topic sucks. He then took the time to listen to
my students tell him how much this topic sucks for novice debaters
and for a new program trying to enter college policy debate. He took a lot of
crap fom me in an extremely gracious manner. It was great to see the Vice
President of CEDA actually listen to a freshman, first time novice debater, on
this issue.

Now for what I now call "THE BODY COUNT:" From my program alone, my running
count is 20 students who initially wanted to participate in college debate but
chose not to compete once they found out about the topic. Yes, it was their
choice. But it makes me rather sad to know that there are students and entire
programs that are not participating in such a great learning activity because
this debate community cannot or WILL NOT take steps to reduce the entry

When I meet with CEDA people on a face-to-face level at tournaments, they do
everything in their power to welcome us as a new program and to help us
compete. And, on an individual and deeply personal level, I thank all of those
people I met last weekend for their outreach.

However, as an organization, I think CEDA has to seriously and concretely
consider changing its practices. The first step of which is to come up with a
specific way of addressing the needs of novices and programs that are directed
toward teaching first, and elite competition second.

My "complaints," or "whines" are not based on some notion that my program can't
"hang" or "compete." We can hold our own.  We will adapt to the new paradigm
that topicality is an interesting, but irrelevant issue, [Who would have
thought, other than Ron Green and Jackie Massey, that topicality was the cause
of the Nazi Holocaust and Native American genocide?! lol ] and that cases do not
even have to be inherent (get ready for the "USFG should have engaged the Shah
of Iran in 1981" case!).

The complaint is that the organization just does not seem to recognize the
barriers it has created and that reasonable solutions are readily available
that could be implemented within a year, if not within a semester. Either that,
or the organization DOES recognize it has a problem and simply does not care.
Given the warm welcome we recieved this weekend, I doubt the latter is true.

Scott Elliott

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