[eDebate] New Resolutional Formats and Playtesting

Michael Antonucci antonucci23
Fri Apr 10 19:29:36 CDT 2009


"For a quick report, the 92 topic was still focused on the Supreme Court
because its decisions were the object of action, but even the passive voice
opened up sapce for some great argumetns that year about topical
coutnerplans, other agents of action, and how court decisions might be
overruled without using the court. The morgan power and other ways to effect
court rulings without using the court (or without exclusively using the
court) were great to debate on the aff and the neg. This is all within
governmental action for the most part (even though there were a lot of
social movement questions and Hollow Hope took on a number of interesting
dimensions because it just came out), but it was still refreshing in many
ways and gave fiat debates an edge of topic specificity that we have since
lost."

Using "overrule" as a passive or active limit on the topic hasn't played out
as well in recent memory, though.  That might actually relevant for the
construction of APAR (Agentless, Passive, or Alternate agent Resolutions.)
Stripping the agent might really place a premium on counterplans that object
to the process implied by the passive verb.  I have no doubt that court
decisions that "should be overruled" will be constitutionally mandated or
distinguished away from in the CP; given actions that "should be legislated"
will inevitably be implemented through agency fiat CPs instead.

Did anyone run Morgan Power as the aff?  Sounds like it.  That sounds OK,
both ways, from a ground perspective.  Good debate there, pretty
well-balanced.

I think some people might be scared that this sort of resolution would
provoke affs that we should "overrule" objectionable Supreme Court rulings
by ignoring or deconstructing them, as part of a larger program of anarchy
or plain ol' anti-normativity.  The ultimate nightmare might be the team who
simply indicts the decision in the 1AC, and uses an agentless passive-voice
plan text - then clarifies what that might actually mean in the 2AC or
later.

Do you think APARs should aim to constrain or encourage those sorts of
affs?  I see the first as a legitimate debate, and the second as an annoying
clash-evasive glitch (that I would obviously end up judging 50% of the time,
and voting for, and then kicking myself.)  I can imagine this 1AC CX
already.  Yuck.

" Seniors that year also had a passive topic in '89 with similar contraints
about US policy as the object, but also a lot of interesting debate about
other agents of action, even other nation-states, on the aff and the neg.
That africa topic was really awesome and shows that you can have good
debates without the USFG as the only topical actor. "

Wasn't Africa 89 a nightmare for neg prep, though?  Looks huge.  That's
purely anecdotal - you were there and I wasn't, so I'll defer to your
opinion. It would be interesting to hear from other people who did Africa 89
as well.

I think topics should be constrained to some extent to encourage clash, and
I think the analogy between those game rules and legal rules or social
taboos an exceptionally poor one.

What alternative agent affs were hot?

"good post, although the full on "games playing" analogy needs more
exploration (and could be inaccurate for some)."

I could explain at some length.  That would probably be a separate thread.
Even if gaming is imperfect as a totalizing metaphor, though, I think it's
valid in this particular instance.  The format of debate resolutions needs
some playtesting, or maybe just extensive data from past resolutions, to
take the risk of abandoning a model that may be "calcified" but isn't badly
broken.

I'm not sure who would object to that metaphor.  I know some conflate
political relevance with speeches that directly map onto their preferred
political positions.  I find that position naive.  Debate may affect larger
advocacy, but it certainly doesn't map isomorphically.  That's why fairness
considerations should actually trump T impact turns.  All of those T impact
turns misunderstand the relationship between T and the polity at large.

-- 
Michael Antonucci
Debate Coach
Georgetown University
Mobile: 617-838-3345
Office: 202-687-4079
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