Monday, February 13, 2012

The Parli Knock

Debaters, generally, love debate. You've got your LDers who wholeheartedly love LD and all the various values and applications and whatnot that lie therein. On the other side of the spectrum, you've got your die-hard TPers obsessed with policies and evidence and all that fun stuff. You have your occasional converts as well, but basically, we do what we do and we love it. We would never dream of doing anything else.
Oh, except Parli. We love Parli. That is, Parliamentary debate. It's what they do in college. The cool kids call it Parli.
That's "par-lee," not "par-lay," which is what the pirates say. We'd do Parli any day, or any time or any way. We'd do Parli in a box, we'd do Parli wearing socks, we'd do Parli with a fox, we'd do... never mind. I'm getting distracted. 
Basically, Parli in college is a substantial light in a long dark tunnel that makes graduating and leaving high school debate worth it for a lot of debaters. Or so it seems sometimes. Sometimes, they let us do Parli in Stoa and everyone freaks out and gets really excited. For whatever reason, we'd rather be doing Parli over other stuff. I don't know if we want to feel older, or relate to and converse better with alumni, or if it's just more fun, but Parli appears to be where it's at. Whatever "it" is. I've never actually done Parliamentary debate myself, so hopefully I don't mess up some crucial fact about it, but basically we like it.
One element of Parli has particularly infiltrated our previously pure homeschooled minds: that is, the Parli knock. As far as I understand it, in Parliamentary debate, when a judge and/or possibly an audience member agrees with an argument, he or she generally begins knocking on his or her desk and/or kneecap. Two knocks will usually suffice; more are added depending on the scale of agreement and possibly size of audience. 
However, Stoa tournament websites sometimes try to discourage alumni from knocking in non-Parli debate. Many people find it distracting. I personally find it discouraging, particularly when the other team says something about the inadequacy of your 1AR and then your alumni judge begins to knock on the table like the heartless debater/carpenter he probably isn't.
Regardless, the Parli knock still abounds in our general daily life. Which is kind of convenient. I often find myself knocking during in-class discussions when someone says something awesome. Sometimes I knock silently and non-distractingly during other peoples' speeches, like this OO I saw today which opened talking about how everyone loves Disneyland and I thought, YES. The Parli knock can have humorous and amusing usages as well. I enjoy finding opportunities to show agreement with things I shouldn't be agreeing with, such as tonight when my mom happened to mention what a horrible mother she thought she was and I, sitting behind her, knocked on my notebook in agreement and then my debate partner laughed and I'M SORRY MOM. I didn't really agree. You're wonderful, and you're always right except in that particular instance. Love you. <3
Now that I've deterred any future punishment/hatred, it's time to wrap up. Annoying or otherwise, the Parli knock is here to stay. Even if I may have protested it at one point, we're on better terms now. As long as no one is demonstrating any agreement with my opponents. 
You're homeschooled. Knock knock.
Who's there?
(I couldn't resist.)


  1. Great post Chandler! This brought me much happiness!

    As a high school parli debater myself, I wanted to add that:
    The reason WE LOVE PARLI!!!!! Is bc it is pure unaltered debate, relying solely on quick wit and logical reasoning skills. Which means no citing evidence. No prepping for 1 million cases. You don't even write a 1AC! Just pure debating.


    Furthermore, making it legal to interrupt your opponent in the middle of his speech, and knowing that this style of debate is distinctly british(meaning it would be acceptable to talk like Margaret Thatcher and refer to your opponent as 'the honorable gentleman') brings awesomeness to it's full potential.

  2. I am constantly having to resist knocking in TP rounds. It's torture. Then I go watch a Parli round (because my debate coach says we have to do one year of extemp before hand and extemp is incredibly boring) and I can knock. And it's fun! I also will start knocking during sermons and at youth. Then my silly non-CHSADK friends will say, ''s not wood.' Then I'm like, 'it's a debate thing.'
    Ahh... debate things...

  3. Haha, yep! I can definitely relate. :) I find myself knocking on the steering wheel when I'm driving if the guy on the radio says something I agree with. Which is okay, because I'm usually the only one in the car, so no one thinks me odd. In this particular instance.