It's been a while since I've posted on here but I came back because I was very interested in hearing about what the community had to say about this round. I think there are a number of important talking points in regards to this round.
I agree with what several people have already said that the idea is good, but the execution was poor.
I believe it was NoNegFiat that said that their first encounter with performance debate made them uncomfortable in a productive way. I can distinctly remember the first time I hit a K Aff. At the time I was a typical policy oriented debater with only a rough understanding of what a kritik was, let alone that an aff could not affirm a policy by the federal government. During this round, my partner and I were confused, uncomfortable, and even a little bit afraid. We totally butchered the 1NC because, having no idea what a K aff even was, we didn't even know what framework was or how to argue against this aff. The judge, seeing that we were totally lost, didn't know what to say, and as a result were being vaguely offensive, stopped the debate, gave the aff the win, and then initiated a discussion about the subject. That was the event that initiated my fascination with kritiks, and within a couple years kritiks and K affs became a staple for me and my partner.
This is the type of uncomfortableness that is productive. It's productive because it reveals a lack of understanding about what the other side is talking about. Being uncomfortable can be an illuminating, educating experience because it makes you realize that you don't have all the answers, that there's something more to know. In that sense, being uncomfortable is literally productive in the sense of generating learning, and can be an incredibly useful method for combatting systemic violence, as it was for me.
Rutgers failed. They certainly created uncomfortableness, but it wasn't generative. What came away from Rutger's method was vindictiveness, spite, and cruelty. It seemed to me that Rutgers was out for blood, and the sight of it only further incensed them. Rutgers' performance was fundamentally violent, and I don't believe that fighting violence with violence can ever lead to peace. I believe that one of the supposed merits of their performance was to flip the script of violence, forcing Georgetown to experience the sense of displacement that people of color constantly feel, thus empowering Rutgers. But the power they gain is that of the bully, not a power that can lead to equality. And I think it's unfortunate that the power of the bully can so easily be conflated with the power necessary to challenge systemic inequality, but I believe that that happened here.
I also think that Georgetown made a very valid point in saying that Rutgers' method is only going to fracture the community more. I think that for the most part this has been discussed sufficiently in this thread, but I would like to add something else related to this which I feel has gone largely ignored. As Chaos mentioned earlier, a good roast has a subtlety that Rutgers' roast lacked. What they did instead was settle for ad hominem roasts that centered on appearance and personality. I think that this focus is what made it so easy for Rutgers to slip from funny and productive to mean. The issue that I immediately thought of is that there is a certain arrogance in this line of attack that presumes that the roaster knows the person getting roasted. Because fundamentally the solvency of the neg lies in the effect that the roast has on the aff. And if the roast hits home with Georgetown in a way that that first K aff did with me, then it is effective. But it is also so easy to make a mistake, and roast an aspect about a debater or their families that hits home in a way that is in fact very serious. I thought about this because I have certain personal issues in my life that people don't know about, and that I certainly won't broadcast on a public thread like this. But certain comments in this debate directed towards Georgetown affected me in a way that would have been cruel, not uncomfortable, had they been directed towards me. People should be very careful not to assume that they know everyone in the room well enough to say some of the things that Rutgers decided to say.
And I ultimately didn't think that the neg's method was liberating. I'm Hispanic, not black, but I don't feel that their method is a way to create the productive discomfort that I think is so helpful for people to experience. I do think that they won the debate, although while I was paying attention I wasn't flowing the round. But Rutgers should know as well as anyone that tech isn't necessarily truth.
Just one more thought--one of the important aspects of performance debate is performance as argument. Just as Rutgers argued that it is absurd for Georgetown to make an argument that isn't tied to the flesh, it is equally absurd to try to separate the argument Rutgers was trying to make from their performance of it when trying to evaluate the round. Yes, I think the argument that Rutgers was trying to make was good, but if their performance of it was bad then they should lose. To think otherwise would be the same as to say that if Georgetown read a really really good plan they should win regardless of their articulation of it. This isn't a framework argument that was made in round, but I think it's an important one for thinking about.