[eDebate] If you think Consult is bad...Question for Jackie

scottelliott at grandecom.net scottelliott
Fri Oct 5 08:19:19 CDT 2007

First a note, people should seperate the "personalities" involved in the
discussions from the substance of the discussions about debate pedagogy. I
think Jackie is a great guy and I have been a huge "rooting for ya" person
toward the growth and development of his program.

But I do have some questions about debate pedagogy and "rulez-smoolz":

So, I recruit some football players to debate. They tell me that they can
kick the shit out of the other team if they take them into the bathroom and
physically beat them up. Should I help my team work on their left jabs?

So, I have a debater who says she is more persuasive when she speaks for 12
minutes instead of just nine, and we hold the other team to just nine. Should I
coach her to do so,and then lean on the judge in the round to accept the "new
paradigm?" (Before you answer, remember, in addition to time limits, most
tournament invites say the CEDA resolution is the topic to be debated).

I can give my African American football players (when I was at FSU, I actually
coached several members of the football team in novice debate) several cards on
Racism and that violence is a justified response to the Racism they face in
so that they can get away from the whines of the other team who complain
because thier lips are busted and therefore can't read their Zizek 1AC?

Can I explain to my team of radical ecologists how to build a fuel bomb to blow
up the debate tournament, because they are--in their heart of hearts, and they
REALLY believe it--radical anarchists and followers of Ted Kaczinski? We
certainly have enough cards to justify it. So, is it cool?  It is part of their

Now, you will obviously say that this "steps over the line." (Maybe not).But
therein lies the rub Jackie. You are conceding that there ARE RULES and there
college debate. I dare say there is nobody that would justify physical violence
in a debate round, although I am still waiting for someone to slap the Neitzche
kritik right out of someone's mouth for a double 30 and the win. If you agree
with me that there is just some shit that we should not tolerate and some stuff
that we should not teach students, then you are now in for a fight (intellectual
only). The issue is where do we draw the line?

I don't think there are any people responding in this thread to the whines of
some varsity team that "can't hang," and lost to an RVI on topicality. What I
and others are saying is that the community's tolerance of non-topical and
kritical affirmatives (I am not that opposed to kritikal affirmatives as long
as they have a plan) is coming at the expense of other student's participating
in the activity. I just don't think you or others will vote on "You either vote
the affirmative down because they are not topical, or I quit" as a legitimate
threat appeal. Yet, it is precisely the underlying rationale you give for
allowing, and encouraging, teams to run openly non-topical cases.

I also think it undermines the educational opportunities for my teams and YOUR
teams. There is something fundamentally wrong in policy debate when a team can
read the same exact position in every round--on the affirmative and on the
negative. The topic serves more than just a function to divide ground. It
serves as the community's voice that an area of controversy is worthy of
research and discussion. Allowing teams to argue anything they want eventually
devolves into teams carrying just one expando. They do not know jack shit about
what is going on in the world, but they do know thier Lacan Kritik. And, the
"team's intergenerational" Lacan Kritik, or Natives Americans come first
argument, becomes a tried and true, but ultimately educationally stale. For
other teams, especially novice and JV, it becomes a waste of time to even
research the topic. I would be better off simply just working on a single
Nihlism Kritik so they will have something to argue every round, rather than
teaching them the basics of argumentation and about whether George Bush is
going to attack Iran. There is a level of educational/pedagogical poverty to
your world view that I do not find desirable.


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