Sunday, October 28, 2012

Debating About Debate


Get it? It's an "e" that looks like it's made out of iron! An iron "e"! I love it!I'm easily delighted. I've hinted vaguely at this once or twice in the past. It's still quite true. One thing that never fails to fill me with glee is a dash of good old-fashioned irony. Just today I realized something incredibly ironic that occurred recently, and it was a little bit of an awkward situation so I didn't even notice the ironicalness at the time, but now I'm so pleased that my amusement is probably leaking out of my ears. Irony makes incredibly unfun situations funny. Like that round that I lost in TP once that I mentioned here, where the other team said the stock issues didn't matter at all and then the judge voted for them because he felt they upheld the very same stock issues. Initially, that was a hard debate to lose and I was not that thrilled about it, but man. Actually winning that round would not have been nearly as entertaining in the long run.

Now that we've covered Background Point 1, Why Chandler Loves Irony, let's move on to an important definition, because those are necessary in any debate round so the judge knows what you mean when you say "is" and "Resolved." So because there are some sticklers who live on these here Internets and insist that irony doesn't mean what most people take it to mean, I will take the time and words to define the term. The definition that I will be using in this round comes from the Collins English Dictionary.
Irony: of, resembling, or containing iron.

Resolutional Analysis: The word "irony" can be used not only to refer to things that are sarcastic or genuinely unexpected, but also to things that are odd in odd ways, because that's what most people think it means and what most people think a word means determines its definition in this blogger's opinion because English is a democracy now so ha.

Great. Glad that was cleared up. Now let's move onto Contention 2) The Content Actually Related to the Title of the Post.

I find debating about debate ironic and therefore delightful. If you think about, it makes sense that people who argue for fun would find things to disagree about in the method by which they argue, but it still seems ironic to me somehow. There are a lot of points of contention in debate land. For instance, you may think it's ridiculous that some people don't like topical Counter-Plans. You may think it's absurd that some people believe a word used in the Resolution can't be used as a value. You may think that you absolutely have to present your own case if you're Negative in LD, and anyone who disagrees is a featherbrain, or that "squirrel" definitions and unexpected parametrics are perfectly acceptable and those who say otherwise are mad as hatters. But think how much crazier life would be if we all agreed on things. Even though there's a 50% chance that it would be easier to run your favorite controversial argument (and a 50% chance that you'd never have to argue at people who run controversial arguments if that's how you roll), it would probably be less fun. More importantly, the Christian Homeschool Debate Community as we know it might cease to exist if all of a sudden debaters agreed all the time. At the very least, the Aff would win every round unless for some odd reason it was declared in the 1AC that the Negative should win. Unlikely.

I'm fascinated by debate theory, which is another reason I heart debate debates, and the great thing is, a lot of other people are, too! I've spent a decent amount of time reading up on ideas and big words that were not necessarily taught to me (the legitimacy of minor repairs in Policy and multiple values in LD tend not to come up in your first year unless you seek them out and I did) because I find them really interesting. Consequently, I've probably developed a lot of strange and potentially contradictory ideas about how debate works that I'm not really aware of because they're all bouncing around in my mind and not coming out of my mouth or fingers at the present. The reason I say this is because the majority of what I believe about debate theory seems to come from reading debate debates. Just today I caught myself eavesdropping on an Internet discussion between two acquaintances of mine and found I agreed with both of them despite the fact that they have polar opposite opinions in an area I clearly need to future research and contemplate. And I will because it's sooo fun. Thank you, other people, for fostering my love of the unofficial rules of debate.

That's why I like debating about debate. It's fun! Do you like it? Why or why not?

And of course, we haven't even touched on the most important question of all debate debates; that is, the question of whether it is better to flow vertically or horizontally.

That is the question.
Or, at least, it's a question.

You're homeschooled. That may be the one thing about homeschool debate that's undebatable*.

*not applicable if you are an alumni, parent, or came here accidentally via the Google

Thursday, October 18, 2012

The First Tournament of the Year

Now, this might be you right now. Stop me if it's not. You might be thinking, "Wait. The first tournament of the year? Why is she writing about that now? It's like, mid-October. Doesn't she try to correspond the posts to what's actually going on in real life? Like, the Christmas post came in December, and the summer posts go in the summer, and the graduation post came right about when people were graduating, but this? This is just silly."

Well, guess what, you hypothetical reader, you? If you're not located in SoCal like I am aware many of you, in fact, are, then I ought to tell you that even though I told you last time that non-Californians are weird, the truth is Californians are weird too, and you ought to know that we had a tournament last week. There. I said it. A legitimate qualifying, checkmark-distributing, speechranks-official competition in stinkin' October because we're insane. I'm serious. I'm not teasing. And we're excited also. Oh, so excited. And competitive. Really, really competitive. But it turns out Oregon had a tournament too, and at least some of the people there were non-Californians. So I guess it's not just us.

The first tournament of the year is a marvelous invention. Without it, no other tournaments could come about it. Literally. When I was a small child (non-unique) I used to use the phrase "There's a first time for everything" as an excuse to get my timid friends to go on rollar coasters and do other stuff they'd never done, but even when I was in early elementary school I was aware that there was not necessarily a first time for everything. The other kids didn't know that. Anyway, my point is, when it comes to tournament seasons, there's a first one for every year, and that is actually necessary for said tournament season to exist. Point B is that this tournament is great. Why? Because it's fun to get back into the swing of things and see people again and warm up our forlorn voices and get judged and all that good stuff. You know that feeling of exhilaration that inevitably accompanies a competition, no matter how unprepared everyone is? Yea, you get that too, and that's cool.

Additionally, if you go to an early tournament, you have really good odds of being one of the top people on speechranks. I'm on the "first page" (top 60) right now, and all I have is one measly checkmark. Never mind that there are only 2-and-a-half pages, I'm on the first one! That's a big deal, you guys. Please pretend to be excited for me. Plus, I'm halfway qualified to NITOC in impromptu right now. A lot of people are halfway qualified in something. And we've got like, forever to earn that second recherch√© check. So excuse us if we're feeling super terrific.

You know what being done with the first tournament of the year means, right? It means another tournament is just around the corner. Tonight, while we were washing dishes, my charming sister reminded me that we have a real, live debate qualifier in less than a month.

Lovely.

First things first: you're homeschooled, and this year is going to be fun.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Peculiar Arguments

Here's the scenario:

It's at night. It's kind of late. It's been a long day at a long tournament and I'd rather be in bed than be debating that case again. You know how every year there's a case that a ton of people run? Cases like JVA, Death Tax... that's all I can think of. (I haven't actually been in debate that long.) So yea, it was death tax. Excuse me, estate tax. We're debating an out-of-state team. The interesting thing about out-of-state teams is that Californians are convinced that all non-California debaters are weird. As a general rule. It's not true all of the time, but I guess there are enough abnormal stories for the stereotype to stick to some degree. And it's not even like there aren't weird debaters in CA (and this steoreotype probably isn't held in my home state exclusively either). There are. But there you go. Back to me: it's late and I'm tired and sick of going neg against the Estate tax case and the judge lost his glasses so he was wearing prescription sunglasses indoors and that was throwing me off. I'm thinking about how sick I was of death tax and how I was tired and sunglasses and blog post ideas probably because I usually do in debate rounds and meanwhile my partner is cross-exing an out-of-state twelve year old and I hear the other half of my team ask, "Are the stock issues important?"

"No."

My head jerks up.

"Not at all?"

"Nope."

"...okay."

Fun fact: Judge voted Aff because they upheld the stock issues. Ironic.

Regardless, you know those arguments you hear, or remarks in Cross-Examination that are just so peculiar, sometimes all you can think is, "Huh. That was odd." It was one of those times.

Maybe they just don't understand what they're saying. Maybe they didn't know that when running Topicality, you have to say why something isn't Topical, not just that it's not. Maybe they didn't understand you in Cross-Ex when you asked how their plan would solve for the harms and they said it wouldn't. Maybe they didn't really mean to turn the impact of your DA entitled "Death, Destruction and Dismemberment."

Then again, maybe they did. Maybe they knew exactly what they were getting into. Debaters are weird, you guys. We say weird things all the time. We even say things we flat-out disbelieve for the sake of the debate. And sometimes, the arguments we make sound plain peculiar to the outside world, no matter how much sense it makes to us. And I'm thinking the bizarre arguments that are made cognitively must make sense to someone. Right? Otherwise, why run them? One time I heard about an LDer whose value was math. Seriously. True story. Math. (This is the part where I say, "He was from a different state." and everyone nods and says, "Ohhh....") I can't tell you how long I giggled over that one (especially trying to picture the face of his opponent as he said, "The value I will be upholding in today's debate round is... math. Man, that was probably hysterical.) but I can tell you that I would have laughed a lot longer had everyone else in the room filled with people not been trying to pay attention to a debate lecture. A similar circumstance occurred during the talk where one young man reminisced about a counter-plan he once ran. Also in LD. And he won that round.

The fun thing about peculiar arguments is that they certainly keep us on our toes. I'm sure I've run one or two. None come to mind because I probably didn't realize they were peculiar at the time. Once I almost used an analogy that would have essentially said that the affirmative team's mindset supports keeping chains of assassins in business, but fortunately I said something else. That certainly would have been odd and probably bad also. For the time being, let's pretend I never say silly things in debate.

Ha.

You're homeschooled, and the inevitable lack of socialization must account for any and all peculiarity.