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Responding to Performance Affs

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I honestly think reading your generic high theory k's against these type of affs (i.e. Nietzsche) would be pretty dumb - if you're gonna read high theory k's then you should at least turn it into a method debate (which are really cool for judges, depending on how well you debate). For example, aff is Anti-blackness via Moten, neg is black hauntology - both agree anti blackness is fucked up and both provide different METHODS with which to address anti blackness. Reading Nietzsche against anti blackness would equate to the squo in which "niggers" are told to accept their positionality within Civil Society simply because their politics are always already of ressentiment. I really don't understand how I can be subject to racial abuse for years and then "forget my past" simply because some german philosopher, who despite being the very first metapsyhcologist, did not assume the subject-position of racialized bodies, and told them that there suffering was "life-negating" so we had to accept it. 

 

Yeah, no offense, but that strat definitely seems like a bad, bad idea.

 

Yeah, High-theory isn't the best idea against this stuff but it can definitely be done. I'd probably advise a method debate (as suggested above). 

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This strat is almost the exact same thing as normal Nietzsche, just with the "accept suffering" more specifically applied to certain oppressed groups e.g. black people. Really, it's no more offensive than reading Nietzsche vs a policy aff w/ plan text.

No, it's more offensive because you're talking about someone's identity, the reality of a large group of people. I understand your idea that reading Nietzsche is always equally offensive, but, because death is something we're all subject to there's not as many privileged undertones

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As a person who has read lots of edelmen in the past, I would recommend not reading his stuff. At the point where he claims that reproductive futurism fucks over queer people because they "Cannot reproduce" he ignores bisexuals, trans male to females with female partner, trans female to male persons with male partners, etc. Maybe you mean some other stuff he's said but at least stay away from the whole "Fascism of the Babies Face" kind of stuff... it's probably transmisognystic. 

I don't think this is fatal to his claim. Even accepting all of these as unproblematic (which they're not; a bi-sexual male who settles down with a male still can't reproduce), there's still a(n admittedly smaller) segment of queer bodies that have no future in the sense that Edelman talks about. "Queer" bodies here would also include infertile heterosexual women, impotent heterosexual men, intersexed bodies that lack reproductive capacity, and people otherwise barred from babymaking. 

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Yeah, High-theory isn't the best idea against this stuff but it can definitely be done. I'd probably advise a method debate (as suggested above). 

Double post but - Fanon is high theory, and nobody would suggest that Fanon is irrelevant to anti-Blackness debates. The problem isn't high theory, it's white theory. Total difference. 

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You can read Nietzschean arguments contextualized to the area of Blackness.  David Mariott has an interesting and Nietzschean reading of Fanon, for example.  Just telling people to forget their suffering is not only a shitty strat, it's shitty Nietzsche. 

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Double post but - Fanon is high theory, and nobody would suggest that Fanon is irrelevant to anti-Blackness debates. The problem isn't high theory, it's white theory. Total difference. 

True, but i meant that considering the debate interpretation of high and low theory, high theory wasn't the best. It's like how Wilderson or Mignolo aren't exactly using the easiest terminology with a lot of their stuff, but they're considered low theory, even though they borrow from/reference many postmodern/poststructural authors

Edited by Payton

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True, but i meant that considering the debate interpretation of high and low theory, high theory wasn't the best. It's like how Wilderson or Mignolo aren't exactly using the easiest terminology with a lot of their stuff, but they're considered low theory, even though they borrow from/reference many postmodern/poststructural authors

wait, why are they "low" theory? I thought "high" theory was any theory that isn't immediately policy relevant. 

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wait, why are they "low" theory? I thought "high" theory was any theory that isn't immediately policy relevant. 

I thought high theory was like DnG or Psychoanalysis, low-theory social-justice-y was like cap, anthro, neolib, and complicated social-justice-y stuff was Fanonian scholarship, mignolo, etc.

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You can read Nietzschean arguments contextualized to the area of Blackness.  David Mariott has an interesting and Nietzschean reading of Fanon, for example.  Just telling people to forget their suffering is not only a shitty strat, it's shitty Nietzsche. 

#rt

pls stop thinking your bullshit miscut Ks = nietzsche ty

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Double post but - Fanon is high theory, and nobody would suggest that Fanon is irrelevant to anti-Blackness debates. The problem isn't high theory, it's white theory. Total difference. 

Slightly off-topic but what would be considered white theory?

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wait, why are they "low" theory? I thought "high" theory was any theory that isn't immediately policy relevant.

 

  

 

I thought high theory was like DnG or Psychoanalysis, low-theory social-justice-y was like cap, anthro, neolib, and complicated social-justice-y stuff was Fanonian scholarship, mignolo, etc.

My understanding is the same as Miro's, I think it's only considered high theory when it gets into your pomo/pomo-ish K's

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Slightly off-topic but what would be considered white theory?

 

Anything that speaks w/ a "view from nowhere" I.e. universal ideals of power, fluid identity, etc.

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Slightly off-topic but what would be considered white theory?

Theory which either declines to consider the relationship between its philosophy and race, or which adopts principles that are problematic for nonwhite races. For example, moral theories which suggest a duty to intervene to save innocent people in danger may not account for the way society differentiates between white intervention and Black intervention. For example, if a white person goes to help a person who has been shot, they're likely to be lauded and assisted. If a Black person goes to help the same shot victim, people may presume the Black person was the criminal who shot the victim and attack the Black person. Even if that's not always the case, the risk is unknowable until the situation actually occurs. As a result, Black intervention to save innocents carries complications and morally relevant risks that white intervention to save innocents does not carry.

 

When philosophers fail to consider the increased risks to Black intervenors, or treat the level of risk to white intervenors as universal, they embody "white" philosophy.

 

There are many more nuanced analyses of differential risk and additional moral considerations created by race (which are traditionally unexamined) than my example; I would recommend reading the original literature(s) if you're interested in the relationship between whiteness and philosophy. There are similar analysis that relate to gender and traditional moral philosophy which are just as cool. 

 

 My understanding is the same as Miro's, I think it's only considered high theory when it gets into your pomo/pomo-ish K's

I guess 'pomo' seems like a floating signifier, because Lacan is definitely pomo and Fanon relies on Lacan. Totally good faith inquiry - I've never heard the "high/low" theory distinction seriously used before (it's usually deployed as a conservative swearword when they want to suggest something is an Ivory Tower philosophy). What's the distinction's purpose?

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I'm not entirely sure on the specifics, but I would agree that most "high theory" stuff, Baudrillard, Lacan, D&G, most Psychoanalysis, could be considered "white" philosophy, but at the same time I feel like depending on how the argument is deployed, that a lot of those types of arguments are actually used in a more "offensive" form than framework. This could be seen especially with Schmitt or nietzsche. In the case of nietzsche though, this is most likely caused by people not knowing their argument.

 

At the same time, framework's still an option. Judge adaptation is still important, but it's still something that can be read along with other strategies, even the silly "soft version" of it can be read, even most critical judges still expect the aff to defend something, so framework could be viable if the aff doesn't have an advocacy text or literally defends or does nothing.

 

Also personally, the High/Low theory for me was just a signifier of arguments on how easy they are to understand- not in an offensive way but I figured most identity arguments, and the simpler K's (Cap, Security) were low theory, and the more out there stuff Baudrillard, nietzsche , etc. were high theory things.

Edited by Firewater
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I guess 'pomo' seems like a floating signifier, because Lacan is definitely pomo and Fanon relies on Lacan. Totally good faith inquiry - I've never heard the "high/low" theory distinction seriously used before (it's usually deployed as a conservative swearword when they want to suggest something is an Ivory Tower philosophy). What's the distinction's purpose?

I agree, but I think the main reason the distinction is made is to give people a quicker way to convey that somebody in the room is going for Baudrillard and they sound super pretentious. The TOC last year Centennial KK made a bug thing out of calling many K affs "high theory bullshit" when it came Derrida affs, DnG affs, etc.

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The TOC last year Centennial KK made a bug thing out of calling many K affs "high theory bullshit" when it came Derrida affs, DnG affs, etc.

that's sort of what I mean. it's a vaguely defined gut-level swear word rather than any coherent body of thought. it's essentially name calling.

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that's sort of what I mean. it's a vaguely defined gut-level swear word rather than any coherent body of thought. it's essentially name calling.

Kinda ironic when reading afropess literature and the like, which is basically secondary lit of 'high theory bullshit'. secondary lit that 'high theory bullshit' has found more than enough holes in.

 

But it's high theory bullshit so ofc it can't hold truth value, right?

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Kinda ironic when reading afropess literature and the like, which is basically secondary lit of 'high theory bullshit'. secondary lit that 'high theory bullshit' has found more than enough holes in.

 

But it's high theory bullshit so ofc it can't hold truth value, right?

This is exactly true. Much of wilderson has a base in Lacan. All of their lit is based off of high-theory philosophy. In fact, itself it IS high theory philosophy, if you've actually read the lit. This is more of an ethos thing that's forwards contextualization of their literature, which is why afropess teams use it.

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that's sort of what I mean. it's a vaguely defined gut-level swear word rather than any coherent body of thought. it's essentially name calling.

  

Kinda ironic when reading afropess literature and the like, which is basically secondary lit of 'high theory bullshit'. secondary lit that 'high theory bullshit' has found more than enough holes in.

 

But it's high theory bullshit so ofc it can't hold truth value, right?

  

This is exactly true. Much of wilderson has a base in Lacan. All of their lit is based off of high-theory philosophy. In fact, itself it IS high theory philosophy, if you've actually read the lit. This is more of an ethos thing that's forwards contextualization of their literature, which is why afropess teams use it.

I think all of these things are true, but at the same time, calling it high theory bullshit works on a few levels:

A.) Ivory tower - The gap in explanation between Baudrillard and Wilderson is enormous

B.) Ability/Willingness of teams to explain an argument - a lot of high theory K teams just shout buzzwords and hope for the ballot, Wilderson teams, relatively explain things better

C.) It makes a quick indict of their stuff while bring rhetorically powerful

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I think all of these things are true, but at the same time, calling it high theory bullshit works on a few levels:

A.) Ivory tower - The gap in explanation between Baudrillard and Wilderson is enormous

B.) Ability/Willingness of teams to explain an argument - a lot of high theory K teams just shout buzzwords and hope for the ballot, Wilderson teams, relatively explain things better

C.) It makes a quick indict of their stuff while bring rhetorically powerful

Three thoughts -

On a - I really don't think there's an "objective" explanation gap - if you're familiar with Baudrillard's base literature and not psychoanalysis, he's a lot more understandable than Wilderson. Put another way, simply because you understand something more does not make it objectively more understandable.

 

On b - if the problem is in-round articulation, kritik that. There's nothing about the theory itself that requires confusing explanation (in fact on this forum I've explained subsets of his thought repeatedly). You have a debater problem, not a literature problem.

 

On c - it's certainly quick, but at the cost of principled explanation. The lefty swear word "high theory" means nothing if it can be inconsistently and arbitrarily applied to anything.

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Three thoughts -

On a - I really don't think there's an "objective" explanation gap - if you're familiar with Baudrillard's base literature and not psychoanalysis, he's a lot more understandable than Wilderson. Put another way, simply because you understand something more does not make it objectively more understandable.

 

On b - if the problem is in-round articulation, kritik that. There's nothing about the theory itself that requires confusing explanation (in fact on this forum I've explained subsets of his thought repeatedly). You have a debater problem, not a literature problem.

 

On c - it's certainly quick, but at the cost of principled explanation. The lefty swear word "high theory" means nothing if it can be inconsistently and arbitrarily applied to anything.

I agree, all of my criticisms were targeted at debaters, not the lit base itself, I've seen a lot of bad K debates, I've been the bad K debater, it just happens based on the person explaining it relative, not the theory itself necessarily. 

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I agree, all of my criticisms were targeted at debaters, not the lit base itself, I've seen a lot of bad K debates, I've been the bad K debater, it just happens based on the person explaining it relative, not the theory itself necessarily. 

if it's about the debaters, then I'm even more confused why the term targets the philosophy ("high theory" instead of...high debaters? high debaters.) 

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if it's about the debaters, then I'm even more confused why the term targets the philosophy ("high theory" instead of...high debaters? high debaters.) 

I'm not criticizing high theory, i was saying that some people use the term in order to discredit the more "out there" versions of philosophy. I have no probs w/ the "high theory" stuff, just someone clarifying certain peoples stances on the theories

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Edit: sorry for this post. Carry on. What I said was already said had I read on. 

Edited by aram

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