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next year, theory, sports, case
I know Jamey hates it when we do more than one thread per message, but
this is so much more efficient and I'm just so busy. My two obsessions
since returning from nats have been 1) trying to persuade the Syracuse
speech comm faculty that I am capable of doing more than pacing the halls
muttering "Grrr. Needa gadam solvency card. Grrr." and 2) trying to
secure Blue Jays tickets for sometime between the time my last paper is
due and the time summer sessions starts. I have been failing miserably at
both. And you know how obsessive and violent us sports fans are. . . .
I. NEXT YEAR AT SYRACUSE: INQUIRING MINDS WANT TO KNOW
Tuna wants to know who shall live and who shall die. NOTHING is official
yet, so the only person I feel comfortable talking about now is myself. I
have been unofficially, orally promised an appointment for next year,
pending all the budgetary stuff happening as it's supposed to. But all
those Saturday nights in high school made me really wary of oral promises.
As soon as I get the appointment letter in the mail, the computer cluster
will be my second or third stop. . .
II. THEORY ARGUMENTS: MY MIND IS MADE UP SO DON'T CONFUSE ME WITH THE FACTS
Ken Bahm's critique of judging philosophies with regard to theory
arguments is eloquent and on-point. The folks who don't want to listen to
theory arguments ignore the fact that theory arguments are the vehicle
through which this dynamic, emergent activity we all love becomes dynamic
and emergent. When I debated in the early 80's, so many judges took it as
gospel that affirmative teams were obligated to defend the whole
resolution, and regarded it as evil when affs would limit their focus to a
case area. That seems downright quaint by today's standards. In the
years way before that, people questioned whether it was ethical to expect
debaters to argue both sides of a resolution. That seems downright
Jurassic by today's standards. But unless you get to argue about the
standards, the standards never get to change. My partner and I were
able to persuade some of those contrarian folks that trying to prove the
whole res in eight minutes is like Charlie Brown's teacher telling him to
explain what caused World War II and use the back side of the page if he
really needed to. But we were only able to persuade them because they
were open-minded enough to listen to us. I'd be pretty lame if I didn't
give the folks I judge the same respect. Arguing about whether change is
a good thing is at the heart of our substantive debates. There's every
reason for us to encourage such argument about procedure as well. (Yup,
guilt is a big motivator for me here. I just took the "I hate whole res"
line out of my judging philosophy this year.)
III. THE SPORTS DEBATE: THAT DELGADO KID CAN SURE HIT, BUT HOW'S HIS 1AR?
I would welcome a sports topic. A number of teams ran sports cases on the
Fall '83 higher education topic, and I recall those rounds as being
particularly fun. (Damn but I feel like Fred Flinstone talking about
11-year old topics! Wilma!) I also see advantages in terms of recruitment
and skills. . .
We're always crowing to our administrators and to each other
about how debate builds strong minds twelve ways. But by only debating
public policy issues, we disenfranchise those kids who aren't yet
interested in public policy issues, denying them the opportunity to learn
the skills and get exposed to the values we instill in debate. And,
believe it or not, there are actually one or two eighteen-year-olds
running around our nation's college campuses who aren't yet fascinated by
the things that usually appear in the front section of the New York Times.
But they can learn from us, and they might even earn us some CEDA points.
And a sports topic might just be good way for them to get an entree into
learning about public policy issues. That's the premise behind which Time
Warner started Sports Illustrated For Kids, to reach kids at the
elementary-school level. I bet a sports-related CEDA topic would function
similarly at the college level.
I see skills related benefits as well. I expect that the resources we
would be turning to for ev would be different from what we typically think
of as debate-ev sources, but would be more akin to the kinds of resources
used for business information than for government information. If you
assume that more debaters wind up with careers in business than in
government, this is a good thing.
Whew. April 25 New Republic came in yesterday's mail. Damn good Mexico
ev. Grrrr. At least y'all stopped arguing about whether Michelle's a big
enough girl to take care of herself. Debate's supposed to teach
empowerment, remember? If we can't trust debaters to handle themselves
when confronted by speech profs in well-lit classrooms, how can we ever
expect 'em to handle themselves in dark alleys, courtrooms or boardrooms?
Give 'em hell, Kangaroos!
Peace, Love, Orange Pride, and Jays Threepeat! Irwin. Syracuse.
Archive created by Jonathan Stanton (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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