Thursday, March 1, 2012

How to Explain Debate To Outsiders

I enjoy talking to my non-speech and debate friends about speech and debate, and I appreciate that they are willing to listen and feign interest. They get interps because they've seen me do a bunch of them. They get impromptu because it's a fairly simple concept, even if they don't know why anyone would ever do it ever. They get platforms because everyone knows what a platform speech is even if they don't know the technical terms. I rarely try to explain Apologetics or Extemp. But this year I started debate, and that, sir, is a whole different ballgame. I have attempted to explain debate to people many times. Sometimes they are smart and realize that they should just pretend like they understand so I stop trying to explain it. Sometimes, they actually get it.

My explanations of Team Policy debate back when I was a non-debater went something like this:

First off, there's this thing called the Resolution. It tells you what they're debating about. So like, if the Resolution said, hypothetically, that we should reform our revenue generation policies, than the Affirmative team would come up with a Plan that reforms a revenue generation policy or two and then roll with that. But then, the other team, called the Negative, gets up and says "No, no, no, no! Stick with the stuff you know! It is better by far to keep things as they are. Don't mess with the flow, no, no! Stick to the Status Quo!" And then the Affirmative has to talk again about why their plan is good. It's not as hard as it sounds. Well, it sort of is. But you get the idea.

Except they usually didn't get the idea. So I try something less ramble-y and more professional now that I actually debate:

Ok, let's try something less ramble-y and more professional. Basically, we have a, um, topic that they give us that we need to debate about. So the affirmative first team stands up and gives arguments and a plan that the government should do, and then the second team argues against them and they go back and forth for 8 speeches. It's fun.

They can usually understand all of that except the last sentence.
But just in case it doesn't click, try this:

Ok, so, there's one team that argues something and then the other team disagrees with everything they say.

Debate in a nutshell, people. Let's pretend that Counter-Plans don't exist, and that no one cares if they're Topical or not. It's best to avoid any mentions of theory, speaker points, timers, flowpads, breaks, records, stock issues, and judges that fall asleep mid-round when trying to portray our little sport to those who have no clue what you mean as it is.

LD is a little easier.
One person argues with another person against what they should like better.

Boom. You're welcome.

You're homeschooled. I hope that makes sense.

1 comment:

  1. Bahahaha. I have so many friends in speech and debate, and I've been to several tournaments and such, but this is so, so true! People explain it over and over, and now I just smile and nod. ;) Hilarious!