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jmc_va last won the day on February 22

jmc_va had the most liked content!

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About jmc_va

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    Longtime Member
  • Birthday 08/15/1969

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  • Name
    John M. Cowan
  • Location
    Virginia Beach, VA

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  1. there's a documentary about the dartmouth debate institute that shows parents (and students who have never been) what camp is like. maybe get them to watch? http://debatevision.com/video/spew-competitive-world-high-school-debate
  2. i'm also interested in helping and, coincidentally, i'm also in virginia. [insert eerie music of your choice here.] so it would have to be online assistance. i've been involved with policy debate for going on four decades and want to see the activity grow wherever it can. your coach wouldn't have to pay me anything to help out in this capacity.
  3. jmc_va

    Poverty Topic

    I was coaching in 2009-2010 and have the back files. Tell me how to get em to you and I can do it when I get home this afternoon.
  4. i've been involved in policy debate in one capacity or another for (good lord) four decades. the reason some of us "old school" peeps have embraced kritikal argumentation is because of the ahistoricality of policy arguments. we have literally watched the link stories of a thousand das come to pass in the real world and yet none of the impacts have occurred. these constructs are PROVEN to be meaningless. so what does that leave other than the effect we have on one another in the round and as a community? if the focus of debate is education, we should be educating about things that actually matter and have a real impact on the real world, not weighing who has the best strung-together farce that will NEVER have an impact on any of us. all that being said, i have seen hard policy kids OWN the framework flow and they've gotten my ballot. because, if what happens in the room is what matters, the quality of argumentation matters too.
  5. the second seems to be the better file and has the potential for an alt better than critical self-reflection and rejection (although that's all it goes for). the abbott and burke cards in the shell set things up for some juicy stavrakakis stuff, if you wanna go there. i've never been a fan of rejection alts, especially when it's in an argument where multiple counter-narratives are possible (over-identification, non-killing political science, political interiority, etc.).
  6. I'm late to see a movie, so all I looked at was the facts bad card. I'll check out the other stuff when I have more time. The facts bad card is pretty awful. It's telling us that facts are uninteresting / useless unless imbued with implication by context. The entire point of a debate round is to imbue facts with implication by contextualizing them with other facts. If you want something that says what I think you want that card to say, you might find this more helpful, if deployed correctly... Shapiro.docx
  7. okay, the files are attached. let me know if they get truncated or the formatting is ruined or whatever. the k of the project was written for the national service topic and there's a "link" card specific to national service and the morality of custom. but, really, if you read through the argument, you'll see that impulses to "help" or "make things better" also link. you could probably migrate some of the internal impact story into the link and make it super generic. or, you know, you could find some ev specific to immigration policy (either the morality of custom story or the helping the Other story). either or both should be pretty easy to find. there are two versions of the shell, one much shorter than the other. the few answers provided are specific to this particular nietzsche argument... you should have generic nietzsche answers already. if not, let me know and maybe i can dig those up, too. if anybody needs anything explained, they can shoot me a question. Nietzschean Kritik of the Project.doc AT Nietzschean Kritik of the Project.doc
  8. i haven't looked at my nietzche file in ages, but the only way i can conceptualize a dice roll argument making sense is in the context of amor fati? maybe i should pull out the file. if anyone (or more specifically, if any of the, like, 6 people who still use this site) want it, i could share.
  9. jmc_va

    Queer Fem K

    Exactly. Edelman talks about the queer as the representation of a process in the same way he talks about the child as a symbol for a process. And while I agree there's no obvious path from this topic to an exclusively-QT Aff, there's a huge case to be made (excuse the pun) for Lacanian political theory this year. I mean, the whole ego malformation in the mirror stage leading to otherization / threat construction / exclusion clearly overlaps with the topic area. Edelman starts in the same place and any solvency mechanism that addresses one (over-identification, maybe) probably addresses both. I think a Lacanian QT advantage is super workable within that case framework, whether Edelman or bædan. I find Edelman easier to deploy because there's no anarchic baggage to deal with. But, if used properly, either would allow you to preemptively take out impact-based decision calculus. While the rest of case (the geopolitical ego formation stuff) would allow you to preempt "real world" link stories.
  10. jmc_va

    Queer Fem K

    bædan is amazing, but maybe not the best entry point. edelman is a super easy and enjoyable read and gives you a good understanding of mirror stage ego malformation.
  11. jmc_va

    Queer Fem K

    I'm not a super huge fan of Butler. I suggest you read "No Future: Queer Theory and the Death Drive" by Lee Edelman. Lacanian queer theory is a lot harder to answer back than nth wave feminism. Edelman's futurity stuff kills almost all DA / solvency warrant ground, so it can be an excellent tool, Aff or Neg, if run correctly. Shoot me a DM if you have questions.
  12. You could preempt / answer exclusion PICs with geopolitical ego formation. Some cards that might help... The counterplan is an attempt by the negatives to secure their perceived position in the psychopolitical world order. They refuse any encounter with the real, choosing instead to embrace its utopian reflection, real politick. Toal 93 (Gerard Toal, Professor of Geography, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, PROBLEMATIZING GEOPOLITICS: SURVEY STATESMANSHIP AND STRATEGY, December 1, 1993, lexis) Thirdly, though it may be problematic to speak of Cartesian perspectivism making different geopolitical strategies of sight-site-citing possible, it is nevertheless worth problematizing how the geopolitical gaze is gendered. That the disembodied, distancing and de-eroticizing cold eye of Cartesian perspectivism is masculinist is well established, though hardly uncontroversial. That we can begin to understand geopolitical sightings as cases of pornographic voyeurism - an obscene will to see everything - is an intriguing possibility. To designate the looking found in geopolitical practices as voyeuristic not only subverts the objectivist perception pretensions of such practices but places them within the domain of subjective pleasure and desire. Geopolitical visions are mediated by fantasy, desire and denial; envisioning becomes the means by which homo geopoliticus ostensibly secures his subjectivity as a tough, anti-sentimental, hardheaded realist. Geopolitics operates as ego-politics. (Interestingly, some elements of the US press suggested that the geopolitics of Nixon-Kissinger is a misspelling of ego-politics.) Investigating ego-formation in geopoliticians through acts of recognition, specularization (construction of mirror-images) and voyeurism is also something that needs further investigation. Ego-formation, as Freud and Lacan have suggested, is a projectionism, a graphing of psychic-imaginary maps of meaning. If we read geopolitics as ego-politics in a Lacanian sense, then we are dealing with the orders of the imaginary and the symbolic not the real. In other words, we are dealing with the systematic refusal of the real. A critical geopolitics ought to engage with feminist psychoanalytical discourses much more so than it has done for there is much to be learnt about how geopolitics and gender work together. Specular ego-formation is inherently unstable. The ever present gap between the real and the imaginary is closed by alienation and otherization of the external, fueling narcissistic aggression. Stavrakakis 99 (Yannis Stavrakakis, Fellow, University of Essex, LACAN AND THE POLITICAL: THINKING THE POLITICS, 1999, 118) What is most important here is that in the mirror stage, the first jubilant moment is anticipating its own failure. Any imaginary unity based on the mirror stage is founded on an irreducible gap: ‘the human being has a special relation with his own image - a relation of gap, of alienating tension.’ Unity in the imaginary is a result of captivation, of a power relation between the infant and its image. But this captivation, the anticipation of synthesis, can never eliminate the real uncoordination of the body of the infant; it can never erase the external and alienating character of its own foundation. This ambiguity is never resolved. One important consequence of this is that narcissism starts appearing in a different light, as constituting the basis of aggressive tension: the imaginary is clearly the prime source of aggressivity in human affairs. What characterizes every narcissistic relation is its deep ‘ambiguity.’ The ambiguity of the imaginary is primarily due to the need to identify with something external, other, different, in order to acquire the basis of a self-unified identity. The implication is that the ‘reflecting specular image’ in imaginary relations, ‘always contains within itself an element of difference’: what is supposed to be ‘ours’ is itself a source of ‘alienation’. In that sense, ‘every purely imaginary equilibrium or balance with the other is always marked by a fundamental instability.’ This alienating dimension of the ego, the constitutive dependence of every imaginary identity on the alienating exteriority of a never fully internalized mirror image, subverts the whole idea of a stable reconciled subjectivity based on the conception of the autonomous ego. It is not surprising then that when Lacan discusses the idea of the autonomous ego in the ‘Freudian Thing’ it is enough for him to say ‘It is autonomous! That’s a good one!’ Threat construction is an inevitable and lethal consequence of utopian projectionism. In the arena of geopolitics, the terminal implication of narcissistic aggression is genocide. Stavrakakis 99 (Yannis Stavrakakis, Fellow, University of Essex, LACAN AND THE POLITICAL: THINKING THE POLITICS, 1999, 100) What I will try to do in this chapter is, first of all, to demonstrate the deeply problematic nature of utopian politics. Simply put, my argument will be that every utopian fantasy construction needs a ‘scapegoat’ in order to constitute itself - the Nazi utopian fantasy and the production of the ‘Jew’ is a good example, especially as pointed out in Zizek’s analysis. Every utopian fantasy produces its reverse and calls for its elimination. Put another way, the beatific side of fantasy is coupled in utopian constructions with a horrific side, a paranoid need for a stigmatized scapegoat. The naivety - and also the danger - of utopian structures is revealed when the realization of this fantasy is attempted. It is then that we are brought close to the frightening kernel of the real: stigmatization is followed by extermination. This is not an accident. It is inscribed in the structure of utopian constructions; it seems to be the way all fantasy constructions work. If in almost all utopian visions, violence and antagonism are eliminated, if utopia is based on the expulsion and repression of violence (this is its beatific side) this is only because it owes its own creation to violence; it is sustained and fed by violence (this is its horrific side). This repressed moment of violence resurfaces, as Mann points out, in the difference inscribed in the name utopia itself. What we shall argue is that it also resurfaces in the production of the figure of an enemy. To use a phrase enunciated by the utopianist Fourier, what is ‘driven out through the door comes back through the window’ (is this not a ‘precursor’ of Lacan’s dictum that ‘what is foreclosed in the symbolic reappears in the real’?). The work of Norman Cohn and other historians permits the articulation of a genealogy of this Manichean, equivalential way of understanding the world, from the great witch-hunt up to modern anti-Semitism, and Lacanian theory can provide valuable insights into any attempt to understand the logic behind this utopian operation - here the approach to fantasy developed in Chapter 2 will further demonstrate its potential in analyzing our political experience. In fact, from the time of his unpublished seminar on The Formations of the Unconscious, Lacan identified the utopian dream of a perfectly functioning society as a highly problematic area. Plan identifies with the Other and abandons the ego-formation of real politick, disrupting social fantasy and opening discursive space for de-alienation. Recognizing the universality of the lack strips signifiers of their meaning. Stavrakakis 99 (Yannis Stavrakakis, Fellow, University of Essex, LACAN AND THE POLITICAL: THINKING THE POLITICS, 1999, 133) By saying ‘We are all Jews!’, ‘We all live in Chernobyl!’ or ‘We are all boat people!’ - all paradigms used by Zizek in Looking Awry - we elevate the symptom, the excluded truth of the social field (which has been stigmatized as an alien particularity) to the place of the universal - to the point of our common identification which was, up to now, sustained by its exclusion or elimination. The same happens when we say ‘We are all gypsies!’ - the central slogan in a recent anti-racist protest in Athens - or when it is argued that we will be in a stronger position to fight anti-Semitism only when the Holocaust is recognized as a true part of all and not only of Jewish history, this localization silencing its significance; only when ‘on finding out what happened, everyone, and not just the Jews, thinks: “it could have been me - the victim that is.”’ What is promoted here is an attitude consistent with identifying with the symptom of the social and traversing social fantasy. It is only by accepting such an impossible representation, by making this declaration of impossibility that it is possible to ‘represent’ the impossible or rather to identify with the impossibility of its representation. Identification with the symptom is thus related to the traversing of fantasy. Going through fantasy entails the realization of the lack or inconsistency in the Other which is masked by fantasy, the separation between objet petit a and the Other, a separation which is not only ethically sound but also ‘liberating’ for our political imagination: It is precisely this lack in the Other which enables the subject to achieve a kind of ‘de-alienation’ called by Lacan separation [in the sense that it is realized] that the Other itself ‘hasn’t got it’, hasn’t got the final answer. This lack in the Other gives the subject - so to speak - a breathing space, it enables him to avoid the total alienation in the signifier not by filling out his lack but by allowing him to identify himself, his own lack, with the lack in the Other.
  13. jmc_va


    If you're going to go hard policy, you MUST win the framework debate. 16 extinction scenarios get you nothing if the only thing the judge considers are in round implications. Know your judge. A judge who leans policy isn't going to need nearly as much convincing on this. A judge who leans kritikal (like me) already thinks DAs (and DA stacking) are ridiculous. You want to put as much ink on the framework flow as possible to get us to a place where we'll consider "real world" implications. Cater your arguments to your judge.
  14. That's sad to hear about Virginia Beach and the Tidewater area, but not unexpected. There were very few active policy programs there when I was coaching. Congratulations on winning states. Did you have any specific questions about kritikal theory or specific arguments you needed help with? My cup of tea leans towards the Lacan / Baudrillard / Badiou / Foucault end of the spectrum, but kritikal theory is kritikal theory, regardless of the individual arg.
  15. I coached Kempsville High School in Virginia Beach, Virginia, for a goodly while in the '90s and then again from 2006 to 2011 (I think? It may have been 2005 to 2010). I was feeling more than a few pangs of debate nostalgia today and was wondering what's up in the Tidewater Debate League and the rest of Virginia. My job doesn't allow me enough time off to travel the circuit like I used to, and I don't think I could ever be happy as a local-tournaments-only coach, but if a program in Virginia needs help with briefs or theory, I might be able to help. I lean HEAVILY towards the kritikal end of the spectrum. So, you know, fair warning.
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