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Ndt Finals: Emporia Versus Northwestern

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 read Scott Harris's ballot, reality is socially constructed, why are we debating on different perceptions of a socially constructed reality

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Why not shut up and read Scott Harris's ballot

 

shut up

 

Did you read the ballot? At all? This mindset is not what's being endorsed.

 

Also, note how you use the exact tactics he was just criticizing. Don't be a goose.

 

The 1ACs politics is premised on the creation of a home for black/queer bodies; using gendered forms of communication (ie, repeated use of aggression to silence an opponent; the choice to talk at someone versus the choice to talk with someone*; loudness-as-ethos) turns that project. Queerness is informed by intersections of masculinities and femininities and constituted in relation to both. Using a dominating form of gendered expression makes their project incoherent, because the masculinities that they actively performed in the debate are traditionally a tool for subordinating both black bodies AND queer bodies.  

 

This question will probably sound bad, but I'm skeptical your approach can solve. Being a jerk just seems to persuade people very easily. Because of that, if you're being all kind and engaging in open dialogue with others, while they're doing exactly what most judges find persuasive, won't you just get smashed to pieces? Unless you're sacrificing the ballot for authenticity, I guess, which isn't necessarily bad but which is at least a slight drawback.

 

I also get the feeling that persuasive systems are inevitable, and that all are equally domineering. So, we might follow your approach and then end up having debaters winning rounds because of a implicit social code sort of like taarof (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taarof) or what I'm told some traditional Chinese cultures do, where people artificially act polite but in reality its just as bad as the original system, if not worse because it's masked.

 

I appreciate your point, just throwing some challenges at you as I think of them.

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Back on topic, of course, I read the long 11 pages of his ballot but he does point out that Northwestern lost this debate because they didn't impact out key offensive arguments and did too much on the outside benefits of policy debate than discussing disadvantages against the permutation which was the 1ac advocacy

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 read Scott Harris's ballot, reality is socially constructed, why are we debating on different perceptions of a socially constructed reality

 

This is a simplistic reading of a complicated argument. Harris isn't arguing "everything is relative" - he points out that Emporia's argument that "black people stood for black people and whites stood for whites" is factually false. His argument is that we notice and filter different things - the filter that the Emporia debaters employed led them to interpret the situation differently. 

 

His point was that different actions can have multiple interpretations (his silence could be him being awkward, or it could be him snubbing debaters) and that we should acknowledge other readings of our behavior. It is not a nihilistic fuck-all.

 

 

This question will probably sound bad, but I'm skeptical your approach can solve. Being a jerk just seems to persuade people very easily. Because of that, if you're being all kind and engaging in open dialogue with others, while they're doing exactly what most judges find persuasive, won't you just get smashed to pieces? Unless you're sacrificing the ballot for authenticity, I guess, which isn't necessarily bad but which is at least a slight drawback.

I also get the feeling that persuasive systems are inevitable, and that all are equally domineering. So, we might follow your approach and then end up having debaters winning rounds because of a implicit social code sort of like taarof (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taarof) or what I'm told some traditional Chinese cultures do, where people artificially act polite but in reality its just as bad as the original system, if not worse because it's masked.

 

I appreciate your point, just throwing some challenges at you as I think of them.

Arguably, the communication-as-dialogue approach is the only approach that can solve (inside or outside debate). I'll copy paste a portion of a conversation I started having on backchannel; 

 

 

The kritik targets forms of speech that employ and deploy masculinities to make their point. The argument discusses the way in which one party feels comfortable in an epistemic hegemony; rather than acknowledging that their knowledge is partial, subjective and contingent on their subject position (thus requiring dialogue with other subject positions), they assume completeness. This epistemic blindness takes out the effectiveness of the project (they're missing info outside of their subject position), while reinforcing the heirarchies they often critique. 

 
Emporia's conception of "home" is not "home" for everyone or most people or even all black/queer/quare people. Emporia's project - on its own - will never make debate a "home" for everyone. That's why Emporia (and the rest of the world) have to dialogue and engage others who have different approaches; to find a pluralistic, inclusive version of home that works for people besides them. 
 
Another relevant portion of the convo;
 

Coproduction of knowledge also accounts for hybridity and identity in-betweens (mulattos? mestizos? cultural exchanges between colonizer/colonized like in India?). Independent voting issue. 

 
Respect matters. Being a jerk is absolutely never effective. Walk up to someone you disagree with and open the conversation with "fuck you" - see how many people you persuade. In contrast, walk up and say "I respect you, and that you have formed your opinions on the basis of your experiences. Some of my experiences contrast against yours. Would you like to discuss that?" and you win a lot more.
 
Granted- some people deliberately preclude conversation. To those I say 1) trying first is necessary. you never know until you try - and many who perpetuate evil systems simply don't know.*  2) institutional momentum makes a lot of difference in the real world. Many people who support gay marriage now (including openly Republican senators) do so because they are riding the popular wave of supporting gay marriage. Even if they don't genuinely believe it, they have their hands on the levers of power and are conforming to the rising social tide. 

 

The vast majority of people simply don't know better and - once they feel respected, they are open to changing their opinions. Judith Butler's Frames of War is excellent on this question. I can post some quotes if anyone's interested.

 

*An example: A student I coached on my mock trial team said he had never met a gay person, and did not know anything about them except that his parents told him gays were pedophiles. I asked if I was a pedophile; he said clearly not. Suddenly, this intractable conservative had a crack in his position. 

 

Independently, masculine aggression as deployed by black bodies is appropriated to prove the irrationality of the black body. The social framing of the black-as-savage relies on and consumes images of black rage. Even if that rage is 100% justified, it has an independent disad that turns the case. Rage is an ineffective political method and ineffective communicative model. 
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I've volunteered 2 years with the UDL in Washington DC....never taking a dime for judging debates for the full season of high school.....and middle school debates (excluding tournament conflicts with my coaching responsibilities--ie my job). Thats a pretty large commitment. I think that hardly qualifies me as a racist.

 

That's DCUDL, right? If so it's mostly public forum, and I debated there as a middle schooler... it'd be interesting if I had you as a judge.

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That's DCUDL, right? If so it's mostly public forum, and I debated there as a middle schooler... it'd be interesting if I had you as a judge.

 

I judged from Fall 2005 to Spring 2007.  

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Actually, it does. As a queer debater whose life (and concept of "home") is affected and constituted by gendered communications, the entire affirmative project is made incoherent by their gendered performance in cross-x and in speeches.

 

The 1ACs politics is premised on the creation of a home for black/queer bodies; using gendered forms of communication (ie, repeated use of aggression to silence an opponent; the choice to talk at someone versus the choice to talk with someone*; loudness-as-ethos) turns that project. Queerness is informed by intersections of masculinities and femininities and constituted in relation to both. Using a dominating form of gendered expression makes their project incoherent, because the masculinities that they actively performed in the debate are traditionally a tool for subordinating both black bodies AND queer bodies.

 

As another queer debater, I can tell you that I was 0% put off by the performance (despite actually being in the room). As I stated above, I will agree that perhaps Elijah got a little over-zealous but I feel like their response was justified considering Northwestern went 1-off framework and said "you don't get to read your aff". I feel like the reason they feel like they have to act that way is because they've been silenced for the majority of their careers by teams just saying "yeah, you're aff is interesting, but it's not a policy so...you lose."

 

The card you reference talks about dialog and mutual-respect. I feel like Northwestern gave up on both of those things when they chose not to engage the majority of the affirmative by just reading framework. (That's not to hate on Arjun and Peyton, they are both great debaters.) Yes, Ryan and Elijah are both loud and aggressive, but only out of necessity, not because of some kind of deep-seeded gendered politics.

Why not directly reform debate via letters to the list or creating an alternative format tournament?

1. Why would an alternative format tournament solve anything? Emporia (and several other people in this thread) have stated many times that their intention (and the intention of other "project" teams) is NOT to get rid of policy debate, it's to allow a place for other subjectivities within debate.

2. What would this look like?

Why not directly take on material oppression, say domestic violence versus one which is nebulous at best? (The NFL and the NBA aren't looking to create excellence by bending their rules away from luck or skill. Neither are the Olympics.)

I'm not sure what you're getting at with the sports organization analogies. I'm also not sure how allowing more minority voices in debate "bend [the] rules away from luck or skill." Furthermore, I'm not sure why you wouldn't classify exclusion in debate as material oppression, or why talking about material oppression in debate rounds doesn't spillover for many of the debaters (like the example I gave above about not using gendered or ableist language).

Why not raise money for a class action suit versus oil companies or other multi-nationals which you find to be particularly egregious?

You mean, the class-action suit we would always lose because oil and multi-national companies have exponentially more money than we could ever possible hope to raise?

Why not write scathing criticisms of the works of academia you find most objectionable or contributing to the problem?

1. This is the status-quo.

2. I'm not sure what you think this accomplishes that arguing about in a debate space wouldn't.

Why not be the change you want to see in the world, rather than criticizing others for not adapting the activity to the standards of someone (Ede) who isn't even in the activity anymore?

You're conflating "trying to get people to stop being exclusionary" with "criticizing other for not adapting to someone else's standards". Those two aren't the same thing.

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1. We'll they had a choice between rage & debate and the chose the former. (see also empathy link in cross-ex that was downright dismissive)

2. Persuasion certainly doesn't require rage or f-bombs.

3. Rage is not consisent with the accomodationist Wiz or Wizard of Oz metaphor which supposedly guides their aff.

4. when you can PIK the other teams advocacy.  Do everything but the rage.

 

This--if you don't provide magic solutions and systemic change arguments--your change is a "failure" is not only silly but a self-fulfilling prophesy of the philosophy you are engaging in.

 

Empirically, the Clean Air Act reduced air pollution & saved lives.  I'm pretty sure thats on the EPA website & Congressional testimony.

 

You don't forget the subjectivities, but you do have to at least be topical.  (And remember, you're the one thats bringing up the forced and false either/or) You don't win presidential elections because someone hit you on the playground or raped you.  You win or should win based on qualifications for the office.  Plus, presidential debates would be silly if they were 90% autobiographical, with an addendum "my people suffered the most."  If thats what wins debates in your framework--that also what creates the down-ward spiral of victimhood.

 

And the idea that the ballot brings some sort of redemption or safety or reparrasions for victim status is just silly. 

 

 

Lets talk about real imperialism.....like people dying in Afghanistan and Iraq......not debate imperialism.  People not winning trophies. 

 

Otherwise we start talking about the everyone gets the win & everyone gets the trophy....which dissolves the competitive nature of the activity.  We become drunk on trophies and wins.....while choking out debate, clash, research, and the drive for excellence.

 

 

Am I the only one considering making this into a f/w card?

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Respect matters. Being a jerk is absolutely never effective. Walk up to someone you disagree with and open the conversation with "fuck you" - see how many people you persuade. In contrast, walk up and say "I respect you, and that you have formed your opinions on the basis of your experiences. Some of my experiences contrast against yours. Would you like to discuss that?" and you win a lot more.

 
Granted- some people deliberately preclude conversation. To those I say 1) trying first is necessary. you never know until you try - and many who perpetuate evil systems simply don't know.*  2) institutional momentum makes a lot of difference in the real world. Many people who support gay marriage now (including openly Republican senators) do so because they are riding the popular wave of supporting gay marriage. Even if they don't genuinely believe it, they have their hands on the levers of power and are conforming to the rising social tide. 

 

The vast majority of people simply don't know better and - once they feel respected, they are open to changing their opinions. Judith Butler's Frames of War is excellent on this question. I can post some quotes if anyone's interested.

 

*An example: A student I coached on my mock trial team said he had never met a gay person, and did not know anything about them except that his parents told him gays were pedophiles. I asked if I was a pedophile; he said clearly not. Suddenly, this intractable conservative had a crack in his position. 

 

Independently, masculine aggression as deployed by black bodies is appropriated to prove the irrationality of the black body. The social framing of the black-as-savage relies on and consumes images of black rage. Even if that rage is 100% justified, it has an independent disad that turns the case. Rage is an ineffective political method and ineffective communicative model. 

 

I think I should clarify my position further. I don't think that being hostile towards others or competitive with them is going to be effective at convincing them. However, I think it will convince judges. Personally, when I'm judging, it's difficult not to get caught up in the drama of a debate. I naturally enjoy seeing competitiveness, even if I can intellectually recognize that it's not a good thing. I worry though, that my biases or the biases of others might be too strong.

 

You say that you change the nature of debate in a way that opens it up for discourse with others. But I don't think that it's either anger or hostile rhetoric which are problematic, but rather the assumption that one team has nothing to learn from the other. I think your position would do a good job of treating the symptoms of hostile rhetoric and anger, but I don't know how it can address the root cause, which is competitiveness. Even if you change the way debaters speak to each other, how is the alternative going to make them better people who are more willing to engage in dialogue, as opposed to just causing a superficial change? So long as the ballot exists, people will focus on it instead of other teams (I think). I see competitive drives as crowding out the kind of system of debate you want, and don't know how you propose to make them coexist, or even if they necessarily should because competition is really good at times even if it's really bad at others.

 

You say that we don't know until we try, and that people are naturally attracted to discourse, but I think the thrill of competing against someone else is more seductive, at least to me, and probably to much of the "top" levels of debaters today as well. I think aggression is extremely easy and mutual respect and dialogue extremely hard, especially in a setting where people are competing. In the abstract, I like your vision, but I'm not sure we can ever realistically get there because I think that competitiveness is, if not natural, at the very least a strong cultural value, and one I don't as of yet believe we can overcome.

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I see competitive drives as crowding out the kind of system of debate you want, and don't know how you propose to make them coexist, or even if they necessarily should because competition is really good at times even if it's really bad at others.

 

The idea that maintenance of respect isn't possible in a competitive format isn't true:

1) the one on one presidential debates (particularly those at the table) tend to be more respectful than the aff was in that debate.

2) the negative from Northwestern was more respectful 

 

* I realize the multi-party debates aren't particularly the most respectful.  Those are intended to be horse-races.  Networks and candidates perhaps profit from it being more rowdy.  

 

Its a matter of effort and self-reflection and internalizing another way of being.

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one of these post is answered by the others!

That's a pretty narrow-minded idea of what constitutes persuasion. You're acting like you can't embody black rage and still debate. They didn't just say the work "fuck" a bunch of times and pretend that it responded to everything. They definitely engaged in discussion. Just because it didn't fit your perfect, narrow-minded idea of what debate is doesn't mean what they were doing wasn't debate. Just because persuasion doesn't "require" rage doesn't mean that it can't be an effective tool.

 


 How does one "be topical" and still attend to individual subjectivities (such as quare bodies)? Your Presidential debates example is really silly because we all know they aren't really debates so much as both sides going "nuh uh, I'm right!" and pandering to the dumb masses. They have absolutely nothing to do with collegiate debate rounds or academic discussions generally. Also, the debates don't determine who's best qualified, just who's better at spinning their shit.
 It's not about any of those things, it's about changing debate practices. 

 

 

 
As another queer debater, I can tell you that I was 0% put off by the performance (despite actually being in the room). As I stated above, I will agree that perhaps Elijah got a little over-zealous but I feel like their response was justified considering Northwestern went 1-off framework and said "you don't get to read your aff". I feel like the reason they feel like they have to act that way is because they've been silenced for the majority of their careers by teams just saying "yeah, you're aff is interesting, but it's not a policy so...you lose."

The card you reference talks about dialog and mutual-respect. I feel like Northwestern gave up on both of those things when they chose not to engage the majority of the affirmative by just reading framework. (That's not to hate on Arjun and Peyton, they are both great debaters.) Yes, Ryan and Elijah are both loud and aggressive, but only out of necessity, not because of some kind of deep-seeded gendered politics.

 

 

The idea that maintenance of respect isn't possible in a competitive format isn't true:

1) the one on one presidential debates (particularly those at the table) tend to be more respectful than the aff was in that debate.

2) the negative from Northwestern was more respectful 

 

* I realize the multi-party debates aren't particularly the most respectful.  Those are intended to be horse-races.  Networks and candidates perhaps profit from it being more rowdy.  

 

Its a matter of effort and self-reflection and internalizing another way of being.

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As another queer debater, I can tell you that I was 0% put off by the performance (despite actually being in the room). As I stated above, I will agree that perhaps Elijah got a little over-zealous but I feel like their response was justified considering Northwestern went 1-off framework and said "you don't get to read your aff". I feel like the reason they feel like they have to act that way is because they've been silenced for the majority of their careers by teams just saying "yeah, you're aff is interesting, but it's not a policy so...you lose."

 

The card you reference talks about dialog and mutual-respect. I feel like Northwestern gave up on both of those things when they chose not to engage the majority of the affirmative by just reading framework. (That's not to hate on Arjun and Peyton, they are both great debaters.) 

 

I don't know that reading framework should be interpreted as precluding dialogue or respect for others, I'm inclined to agree with the arguments of the 2N. Framework is just another type of dialogue, and it's one that's necessary in order to make debate work. Regardless of your feelings on the merits of their specific framework argument, everyone admits that some type of framework or way to evaluate the round is necessary. Because of that, trying to read one specific one shouldn't be interpreted in a bad light. I think Northwestern legitimately believed their framework argument, so claiming that it's not an attempt at dialogue with Emporia seems wrong to me. It's an attempt at dialogue, it's just not one that you like very much.

 

Moreover, given that the content of their affirmative is all about how we need to be more inclusive and have more types of argument, framework seems fairly responsive regardless. It's unclear to me what other methods they could have taken to engage the affirmative while refuting it. Although there are surely some other choices they could have made (the Harris ballot mentioned the possibility of competing interpretations of The Wiz, which would have been crazy fun), there probably aren't very many, so it doesn't seem warranted to criticize them for pursuing the route that they did.

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I don't know that reading framework should be interpreted as precluding dialogue or respect for others. Framework is just another type of dialogue, and it's one that's necessary in order to make debate work.

 

Agreed.  Particularly a fair dialog....one which both participants have a home.

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As another queer debater, I can tell you that I was 0% put off by the performance (despite actually being in the room). As I stated above, I will agree that perhaps Elijah got a little over-zealous but I feel like their response was justified considering Northwestern went 1-off framework and said "you don't get to read your aff". I feel like the reason they feel like they have to act that way is because they've been silenced for the majority of their careers by teams just saying "yeah, you're aff is interesting, but it's not a policy so...you lose."

 

The card you reference talks about dialog and mutual-respect. I feel like Northwestern gave up on both of those things when they chose not to engage the majority of the affirmative by just reading framework. (That's not to hate on Arjun and Peyton, they are both great debaters.) Yes, Ryan and Elijah are both loud and aggressive, but only out of necessity, not because of some kind of deep-seeded gendered politics.

I'm glad that their performance was a home for you. It was not for me. 

 

The description "overzealous in response to framework" is problematic in multiple ways; it implies "zeal" is inherently masculine, and that there aren't other more productive ways to be zealous. I'm problematizing the idea that a gendered form of "zeal" (your word, not mine) is appropriate or effective.

 

Its also problematic considering Northwestern's deployment of framework was functionally a method PIK. As former-Chaos said, there's a legitimate discussion to be had about the nature of political engagement with queer/black identites. Northwestern said queer/black identites should engage institutions. That's does not amount to a denial of the sentiments (or even the content) of the 1AC, just its form.  

 

In any case - think about how what you said is contradictory. "They've been silenced by so many teams...so its ok for them to silence others". Literally what happened in cross-x (multiple times) was the 2A speaking loudly over Peyton to shut her up - which she did, promptly. She was not belligerant or unresponsive; but he chose to literally silence her voice. If silencing is wrong when its done TO Emporia, its wrong when its done BY Emporia. 

 

But in any case - even if it would have been "justified" (in an abstract sense) hypermasculinity as "justified" becomes incoherent when you consider the subject positions and arguments being advanced by the Aff. The Sjoberg and Tickner card pretty clearly explains why their form of communication precludes the development of equal "homes" for all debaters, because the person embodying the gendered communication assumes a subject-position hierarchically superior to an other ("I don't need to hear anything else you have to say. I know what else you have to say, I know all the criteria for relevant information, I am without error in making these determinations and therefore I am ending your ability to speak"). It becomes even further incoherent in context of queer bodies; in debate terms, hypermasculinity turns queerness, for the reasons I outlined in the first post.

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I'm glad that their performance was a home for you. It was not for me. 

 

The description "overzealous in response to framework" is problematic in multiple ways; it implies "zeal" is inherently masculine, and that there aren't other more productive ways to be zealous. I'm problematizing the idea that a gendered form of "zeal" (your word, not mine) is appropriate or effective.

 

You're the one who initially associated their behavior with masculinity, though. I agree with your overall criticism, because the cross examinations made me wince multiple times, but I don't perceive the problem in terms of gendered behavior. What additional explanation does the gender based analysis offer? Maybe something about their entanglement with historical structures of power, or something?

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You're the one who initially associated their behavior with masculinity, though. I agree with your overall criticism, because the cross examinations made me wince multiple times, but I don't perceive the problem in terms of gendered behavior. What additional explanation does the gender based analysis offer? Maybe something about their entanglement with historical structures of power, or something?

I think I should make myself clear; they embodied a form of "zeal" that was masculine. His argument implied that "zeal IS masculine". I'm pointing out there are nonmasculine ways of being zealous, energetic and informed. 

 

The gender driven analysis offers a number of implications; the aggression reinforces heirarchies between subject positions (turns case), is particularly problematic given the queer content of the aff (turns case), makes debate less like a home (turns case) and makes other debaters less willing to develop a pluralistic vision of the home that works for everyone (solvency takeout)

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Oh God. That 2AR. I like your position even more now. I'm upset that the community apparently loved it, because it drove me crazy. It felt like more of a personal attack than anything else.

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Oh God. That 2AR. I like your position even more now. I'm upset that the community apparently loved it, because it drove me crazy. It felt like more of a personal attack than anything else.

THIS is literally how I felt the whole debate, and the whole post-debate discussion. 

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The homes aff is a amazing, considering it's from a small literature base, it's amazing and the way they use it is beautiful. It's also incredibly difficult to answer, especially when you don't engage them at all.

 

Out of curiosity: what would you or other people in this thread have chosen as your negative strategy against this affirmative?

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yeah that 2ar. i bet he never gets speaker awards...

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yeah that 2ar. i bet he never gets speaker awards...

Your point is that a sexist community rewards sexism? 

 

Exactly how is that comforting?

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