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That oldtime Speed
Hello, Howdy, and Good Afternoon,
I thought I would take some time to ponder over the current
discussion of speed. There are many issue within the speed argument, some
simple and some complex. I think speed tends to become somewhat of an
emotional issue because some people have lost the round due to speed and
they were not capable of doing it in kind. Speed advocation tends to be
delineated on the basis of who can spread and who cannot. It is the old
haves/havenots argument being repeated in Ceda. The people who can spread
think it is benefical to the debate round, while those who cannot are
against speed claiming it hurts debate. I side with those indiviudals who
are able to go fast. I can empathize with those indiviudals who have not
learned speed but they should take the time to learn. As Adam and Kristina
correctly point out, speed is probably one of the easiest skills to learn in
debate. Also, those individuals who could not speed must see that many of
their arguments are simply not true after they learn to speed and understand
Todd Watchel points out the debate is a process. If this is true,
individuals cannot expect to understand speed and to spew in a round
immeadiately. It takes time and practice. Additionally, there must be the
realization that sometimes your opponents are going to be faster than you.
If we all understand that speed does not occur instantly we might think of
it less as a barrier and more as something to be worked towards.
Several individuals argue that research is key and that you debate
solely for the educational aspects and not for the material ones (i.e.
trophies). Adam clearly is right when he states that if education was the
true goal, debaters whould spend their weekends doing research rather than
debating. Since we all know that debaters debate rather than spend their
weekends researching, we know that debaters attach some value to the
trophies. If nothing else, trophies are an indication of your advancement
in debate. The more you increase your skills, the more likely you are to
win rounds and thus win trophies.
David Foti is critical of the use of prepared speeches. Why? If he
feels so strongly about it he should throw away his prewritten 1AC and write
his 1Ac during prep time. I seriously doubt he would do it and there is
good reason not to do so. Outside the round debaters have the time to
develop their positions better. They can reflect upon the arguments they
have seen in rounds and figure out how to handle them. Additionally, many
arguments tend to be generic therefore no matter who runs the argument it
might have several flaws. I am not talking about generic response such as
no timeframe or internal link but arguments addressing a hole in the
arguments scenario. For instance the scenario might be based on an outdated
theory so your reponses would always apply. Why should any debater be
forced to memorize the same response to the same argument if he does not
want. Debate rounds are hectic enough, regardless of the speed of the
round. It would be just as easy to write those arguments down for future
A big argument about speed is the dicussion of speed as not being
real world. Just today Todd made that complaint. However, this is based on
the assumption that debate is supposed to be a real world activity. As Adam
has stated earlier, debate is not meant to be real world. Individuals
justify the real world standard by saying you would never speak that fast in
real life. So! That is why there is a seperation between debate and speech
events. If individuals feel so strongly about this real world argument,
speech events were set up a long time ago to address their concerns. Many
tournaments are set up so debaters can participate in both types of events.
If we use the real world standard, many of the arguments that debaters have
used would fall out. I think this is especially true about nuclear war
scenarios. But on a risk analysis level the small probability multiplied by
the infinite impact would equal infinity as we all know. However, if we
look at it from a real world view the probability that it would occur is so
small we rarely spend any time thinking about it in real life.
There has been some discussion about speed and how it relates to the
judges and audiences. Many have argued that slow debate is more persuasive.
People also feel that speed turns off the audience. Additionally, Dave Foti
advocates banning judges who had just left the debate circuit for 15 years
to prevent their entry into the judging pool for awhile. Why is slow debate
any more persuasive that a fast round. Logically the more analysis,
arguments and evidence that you could fit into a round, the more persuasive
it would be. Next the fear that speed turns off the audience does have
merit. However if this is occuring then the team(s) are not adapting to the
audience. It does not justify that speed is bad, only that speed was used
in the wrong situation. Finally why ban judges because they can handle speed
and don't meet this "real world" standard. Debaters should have to adapt to
their audience, be it a fast or slow judge. There is nothing more real
world than that. To arbitrarily limit the types of judges would be to argue
that adaption is bad.
Kristina brought up the discussion of the Wise paradigm. She points
out that many of the tournaments she attended out West used the paradigm. I
believe that they were the exception rather than the rule. If you look at
nationals in 1993 or at the UMKC tournament this year, we can see that speed
is still alive and kicking. It is far from disappearing. Most of the best
teams go fast but they can just as easily win a slow round. Speed continues
to be predominate not only in the East but in the rest of the nation as
well. There is some fear that a clevage will result from the use of speed.
Although there is some potential in this disucssion, it is not likely to
occur. Speed is not the only difference between NDT and CEDA. In CEDA
there is a little less emphasis on evidence and alot more emphasis on good
argumentation and intelligent analysis. People clearly still like this
point of view because the ranks of CEDA continue to grow yearly. Also as I
said earlier speech events were developed for the concentration on public
speaking skills, not debate. Why should seech events and debate have to be
forced together? They should not.
Chud has argued that the same requirements of a slow round must
occur in a fast round. This is completely true. The speed only allows you
to include more arguments, evidence and analysis into the round. If it is
used to hide bad argumentation then it is the opposing teams fault for not
pointing out the flaws the argument. They would do it in a slow round so
why not in a fast round.
The use of evidence in debate rounds has been bounced around
frequently. Dave would like to see a significant decrease in evidence used
as would Max. Max tells us that he can find a card to back up every
argument. However, this could be checked by making arguments to prove that
the evidence is consistent with the other experts out there in order to be
I think we must all come to the realization , as many have laready,
that bad arguments lose no matter what the speed. Speed only allows us to
explore the argumentation more in depth. If speed allows us to discuss
issues more in depth we are more likely to understand them. Dave points out
that learned little about Bosnia on last years topic. However, in a fast
round there might have been discussion of more of the relevant issues
pertaining to Bosnia, instead of a trite few.
I think debaters will have better speaking skills after they have
debate no matter what the speeds were in their rounds during college. They
will be more confident in class discussions and will be able to put together
well reasoned arguments. There is no justification to show that this would
not occur even if the individual spewed in rounds.
There is plenty more to say but class is rapidly approaching.
There is some arguments that people use spread simply to win rounds.
I believe this is true and it does occur. However it is not the fast teams
fault if the other team misses a link that the fast team uses to win the
round. However anyone who spreads feels that this is not the right situation to have gone fast. Additionally, and
good speed team will mostly likely have beat you on the preponderance of
arguments, evidence, and analysis that they could put out. There are many
ways to check this abuse. The first as Todd Morth points out is that
individuals could spend their C-X time understanding the arguments. Next,
it is easy to ask for the cards to determine their accuracy and so the team
could understand them. Another way would be to run an overview argument
saying that speed is bad giving several good reasons. Finally, in some
rounds where a team puts out so many offcase, there is a good chance that
some of the offcase positions will contradict each other. This would leave
less arguments to deal with in a fast round.
Archive created by Jonathan Stanton (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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