Sunday, December 9, 2012

Slapping Morals on Interps

The thing about interps is that when it comes to events considered the most helpful in real life, the interps tend to take the bottom of the list. I don't know why. The judges' thought process is something like this:

Debate (all kinds): Very helpful. It's great to be able to see both sides of an issue, learn from history, find credible sources of information, and know the ins and outs of things the general public knows hardly anything about, and then be able to explain why you believe what you believe in an extremely structured and formal manner!
Apologetics: Most important speech event ever, which is why we always do it last of all the IEs at awards ceremonies, at least in CA. Defend the faith, man. Good stuff.
Extemp: Totally useful in real life. It's so good to see these young people knowing more about what's going on in the world than I do.
Persuasive: Stand up for something you believe in, just so long as it's not an overdone topic.
Impromptu: This absolutely comes in handy if you're ever asked to speak two minutes from now on a topic for, oh, five minutes or so. Which will clearly happen all the time when you're an adult. Also, it's helpful for debate.
Expository: Essential because everyone uses poster boards on stands in the workplace these days.
Original Oratory: It's good because you wrote it and writing is good. But I don't necessarily want to judge you unless you're super creative.
Duo: Duo is my favorite event to watch, and is therefore the most applicable to other areas of life of all the interps.
Humorous: See above.
Open Interp: You know, you, like, read and stuff.
Dramatic Interp: ... I'll get back to you on that.

Just so you know, I happen to think interps are wonderful and I love, well, ALL the events and think they all teach valuable skills but even if they didn't, I don't care because they're so fun. However, judges, for whatever reason, don't always automatically think interps are inherently good. Nope. You gotta show 'em you learned somethin'. That's why people put morals in their interps.

"Everything's got a moral, if only you can find it," says the Duchess from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carrol. In one particular section of the book, Alice warns the duchess that her flamingo with which she is playing croquet is prone to biting. The scene continues:

'Very true,' said the Duchess: 'flamingoes and mustard both bite. And the moral of that is — "Birds of a feather flock together." 
''Only mustard isn't a bird,' Alice remarked. 
'Right, as usual,' said the Duchess: 'what a clear way you have of putting things!' 
'It's a mineral, I think,' said Alice. 
'Of course it is,' said the Duchess, who seemed ready to agree to everything that Alice said; 'there's a large mustard-mine near here. And the moral of that is — "The more there is of mine, the less there is of yours."' 
'Oh, I know!' exclaimed Alice, who had not attended to this last remark, 'it's a vegetable. It doesn't look like one, but it is.' 
'I quite agree with you,' said the Duchess; 'and the moral of that is — "Be what you would seem to be" — or if you'd like it put more simply — "Never imagine yourself not to be otherwise than what it might appear to others that what you were or might have been was not otherwise than what you had been would have appeared to them to be otherwise."'
Then Alice politely confesses that she has no idea what the heck the Duchess is talking about. In any case, this is what I think of when I hear people bringing up the life lessons to be learned from an interpretive piece. And when I do it myself so as to not get marked down. One time I did a duo that combined a bunch of Shakespeare plays and that really didn't have any moral to it, so we put in at least seven of them (most of them goofy and/or containing Tebow shoutouts) and the judges loved it. Especially after we performed a rap version of Othello and said that the moral is that two white homeschooled kids shouldn't rap. They laughed and sometimes applauded for several seconds because, in our case at least, it's so true. That's the important thing about a moral. The judge has to hear it and think, yes! You're right! I'm so glad both of our lives have thus been enriched!

I learned this when I did my very first OI back in the day, and everyone told me they loved the moral even though I didn't even know it had one. And then I did my very second OI back in the day and only one judge told me she liked the moral, and another said she wasn't so sure about it with a smiley face. The lesson was basically that money can buy love and happiness. I was okay with that.

So, go and learn something. Tell me what the moral of your story is. It's got one, apparently. Even if you have to make it up. Or make seven of them up. Or do an impact turn of a moral that's really probably not that great. After all (pardon me while I go and fetch my glasses and Apologetics box so as to look really intelligent), all good stories reflect morality in some way, and all good heroes have attributes of Christ, so really, you should have a moral.


*goes to cut an HI that really doesn't have any moral. At all. Except maybe "don't believe your family because they're probably lying to you."*

You're homeschooled, and the moral of that is, "people who write blogs are cool."

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