Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Best Value Ever

I'm an LDer, as of previously, and I recently debated in my first real live LD tournament. I learned that I've got a lot to learn. One such area in which I've got some learnin' to do is values.

Values are an important part of Lincoln-Douglas VALUE debate. Obviously. And there are several kinds of values a person can run. At the last tournament, I had one on the negative, like the vast majority of LDers do, but I think I'll tweak it before the next tournament. Just a tad. See, it seemed kind of of narrow. No hope of subsuming Aff's value, which is what all the cool kids are doing these days. Next time, I want something bigger, better, and with which I can say,
"Haha Aff! My value's bigger than yours! It just ate yours up like this: omnomnomnomnomnom."

(that is, when I'm not too busy pirating, which with any luck, and I have usually have approximately zero ounces of luck, will be all the time)

But I couldn't think of what value to run. I mean, I could go with Human Dignity or Human Rights or Individual Rights or National Security or the protection of those things or all those other values that mean basically the same thing but everyone's running those so they seemed way too mainstream for this blogger. I knew, of course, that there was only one possible solution: I must invent a value of my own.

Now, don't think I'm too crazy. Yet. It won't be totally new. I mean, you can't really invent a value from scratch. If no one's ever valued it before, where on earth would you find applications? The Google and Wikipedia would not be that helpful. But don't worry. I will have no trouble with a lack of apps under my new value.

Okay, okay, I'll tell you what is. But you can't tell anyone. Pinky swear? Cool.
Judge, the value that I will championing in this round is

The Protection of Natural Individual Just Secure Free Human Dignity and Rights Including the Right to Life, Liberty, Property, The Pursuit of Happiness, Chocolate, Forensics and Homeschooling

With a criterion of The Moral Natural Social Contract Law(s) including the 4th Amendment, of course.

I know, I know. It's perfect. I don't know why I didn't think of it sooner.

And then I realized something. Wait a second, self, I said to myself. This value is exactly what everyone else is running. But with a longer title.

So now I refuse to change the title because it's the only thing satisfying the hipster in me and even if my clubmates and peers may raise strong objections, I don't care. And I don't know why they would because it's the best value ever, of course.

But isn't it funny how everyone likes to run the same values with different names and pretend like they're different? Natural Rights, Human Rights, Human Dignity... unless you're running Nat Sec in the truest, Communistest sense of the word or something else that's totally bizarre, your value is probably a variation of these. I think it's funny. I'm terribly amused, but then, that's non-unique.

What, then, truly is the best value ever? I'd certainly urge a ballot in favor of TPNIJSFHDRIRLLPTPHCF&H, but just in case you find that difficult to flow, I suggest that the best value ever is the one that you love because if you love it, maybe other people will too. Awww. Values are so adorable sometimes.

I could talk about anti-values, valuing a word used in the resolution or going with a direct-refutation approach and having no value at all, but I won't. Maybe later. I'm too busy thinking about the chocolate from Halloween that I've hidden from my parents in a secret place. I value that chocolate.

WAIT A SECOND. I thought I was done with this post, but as I was proof-reading it, something I tend to be bad at, I realized that I finally found a link between privacy (freedom from unauthorized intrusion) and chocolate in the aforementioned stash! Best case idea ever.

You're homeschooled. I value you also.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Getting the Judge You Want- Katarina Amerding

(I can so relate, and I'm sure you can too. Enjoy the latest guest post from Katarina! Want to write a guest post? Click here.)

We all know we love speech tournaments, speech tournaments mean ballots
and ballots mean killing the battery in the car on the way home reading them, which
mean exclamations of “So and So judged me!” followed quickly by, “OOhh, what did
he/she say?”

Now, for any of who do not debate, a debate ballot looks like this:

No pluses, checks or minuses here! Just good ol’ hard numbers to tell you
what you did well and what you need to (REALLY) work on. Trust me, it used to
look more intimidating than this. I was told back in the stone age it was a scale of
eight dots. Who uses dots nowadays? Ahem…I digress, under the Affirmative and
Negative bar will be an empty space (cue spacey music) to fill out an RFD which you
I.E people are already familiar with. The focus here is the judge!
We all know there are several types of judges.

Debate Moms- You try to smile while you kill your opponent in front of them.
They want you to be nice and usually write very constructive comments.

Debate Dads- Prefer a little more aggression. They want to know why
military occupation of Slovenia matters or why they should worry about angry birds
harvesting their data, IMPACT people IMPACT!

Alumni- these unique individuals toe the line between college debate
superiority and aching nostalgia. Expect to see constructive feedback, lectures or
simple one sentence RFDs for technical reasons on your ballot.

Community Judges- These wonderful people are thrown into our world,
where we try to teach and crush our opponent at the same time. Expect comments
lauding homeschool awesomeness or votes toward clarity people clarity!

But, really, we all love the judge who is rumored to be retired district
attorney for that debate club that wins everything. Or that-dad-who-writes-the-
most-epic-ballots! Or that-mom-of –of-the-best-debater-in-the-league. You can
arrive in a room checking out your opponent and then….you see him (or her) and
say “YESSS! So-and-so is my judge! (in your head of course). This is gonna be a great
round! You know they will write constructive comments, make you a better debater,
and plus, you can learn from what they wrote to your opponent. You do not even
have to worry about the round, you are simply embodied by the promise of a good
ballot on the way. Ballots like those are so helpful, you frame them, say thank you as
you read them, and say proudly to your parent or coach “So-and- so said this about
my 1AR, or he/she really liked it when I brought up F-16 Fighter Jets.” Comments
like these are the best, they tell you what you can work on, nothing like an unhelpful
ballot (cue sad doggy).

Yes, we love getting the judge we want because it means “EPIC BALLOT ON
THE WAY!” So go ahead and kill the car battery for those (or not).

You’re homeschooled, you got the judge you wanted…kachow.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Debating In Your Head

I flow with commentary.
Yea, it's weird.

Back when I first started watching debate, I didn't actually understand the art of flowing, (p.s. still working on that shorthand... kinda) but then it clicked. Like one of those clicky pens, which I then used two of in rounds, like most people. Except for those debaters who use one pen, which is silly and confusing, or the hipsters with pencils. But now, I use three whenever I watch rounds, so I can add my own thoughts in another color. Neat, huh? Typically, Aff is red, Neg is blue, and I'm in black. As I'm scribbling the rough draft of this post on a bright pink Post-It note, I'm watching and commentating on a round which began with a 1AC, as is tradition, but this one desperately screamed to be turned on its head. And, rather than flowing the round all that carefully, I'm writing my own turns in the free space on the flow. It's much more fun.

I'm an in-head debater. I debate in my head. It's a thing.

I always have been, ever since watching my first ever LD round back in the day and silently urging my favorite debater to say ______, and when he didn't, I was a little bitter, even though I knew it was my first time watching and he was like, really good, so I was probably wrong and he probably wasn't. But then, after he lost the round, I thought, see?? Should've listened to me.

The curse of an in-head debater. but seriously, this round is bizarre. And I'm not sure why the negative stil isn't saying what I want her to.

Oh yea, she can't hear me. Because I'm talking to myself again. Riiight.

The fun thing about debating in your head is that you always have the last word. I mean, seriously, every single argument you brought up was dropped. Also, you get to feel like you won because you thought of things none of the other debaters ever thought of before. And, you can even argue from both sides of the resolution. Can't do that when you're an actual competitor, can you?

The sad thing is they never actually respond to your arguments. And that makes me feel terribly disregarded and lugubrious.

Just the other day, at a debate tournament (yea, we already had our first one), I went up against one of my favorite debaters, that one that I'm terrified of so/because I watch him debate all the time, and I'm telling you, it was a seriously odd feeling to have him actually answer the arguments I brought up. Usually he ignores me because I'm not usually saying them out loud usually. And then, because he's awesome, I almost wished there was another debater up there to give the rebuttals but turns out that was my job. Great.

We already talk to ourselves and the wall at tournaments. I suppose it makes sense that we'd debate in our heads. Just don't do it out loud if you're not actually debating or you'll get yelled at by the judge probably. I'm just saying.

You're homeschooled, so I doubt you ever stop debating.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Value Piracy

When I first heard about this thing called “value piracy,” I knew that it must be really great and that I should try it sometime. And then I found out what it was, and I was even more convinced. (because "pirate" was in my blood and I knew I'd have to square with that one day.) See, here’s how it works for you TPers/Parli People/Interpers/Timers/relatives of mine/people who came here trying to find out stuff about pirates/other non-LDers out there:

Aff gets up and they say, “yay the resolution! The resolution is great because it leads to my value yay please vote aff yay!!”
And the Negative guy says, “Lolyeahno, actually I’m stealing your value ‘cause the resolution is bad because when we disagree with it/support the other side, then we get to that very same value whatnow. Yoho!”

Then he slaps on an eyepatch and bring his hand up from behind the podium to reveal a sharp, shiny hook and a parrot flies in the open window and lands on his shoulder, and the parrot says, “Awwwk! Wind in the sails!” and the Neg gives a couple of “ARRGGS!” before the Aff comes up for Cross-Ex.

It’s pretty great. 

I got to try it the other day. It was pretty great.

Well, what actually happened is that the girl I was up against who was going aff had a value that happened to be the same as mine on the negative, so I reworded my case a bit and got to go all piratical on her. And then in Cross-Ex she said, “Wow! We have the same value! That’s so funny!” (clearly she had made it a point to avoid familiarity with pirates. It was a shame to put a black mark on her record.) and I tried to look at the judge like, oh yea, I totally did that on purpose. Maybe she bought it. Probably not.

In organizations like Stoa and the NCFCA, stealing is generally discouraged. You're not supposed to plagiarize or anything, and when you're asking for a copy of the 1AC, you're actually supposed to give it back at the end of the round, and the same thing for evidence, and if you use the other team's timer, you should return it, and you shouldn't steal pens to use for limited preps either but should ask permission to borrow them, and you shouldn't steal someone else's shoes even if you're about to wear less-than-professional attire into the round especially if they're clearly several sizes off, and you shouldn't steal ballots belonging to another team and write "Slow down!" all over knowing that their coach will make them do push-ups as a result (on second thought, I'm okay with that one) and you shouldn't steal from the snack table unless you say "Thank you!" and you shouldn't steal someone's flowpad or debate bag either, and you shouldn't throw your mashed potatoes up against the wall. All of this of which you are likely aware. HOWEVER, it's totally okay to, from time to time, commandeer (nautical term) your opponent's value when you are debating on the Negative side in Lincoln-Douglas debate. Really. Also, it's fun. 

You're probably wondering if this tactic is madness or brilliance (it's remarkable how often those two traits coincide) and I would strongly urge a ballot in favor of a double-win or something. That's an option, right? It should be. I realize it's not on the ballot, but really, the ballot rules are more like guidelines, anyway. There's simply something splendid about both debaters championing the same standard or weighing mechanism for this round, and avoiding non-fun debates about the imaginary minute differences between Human Dignity and Human Rights. And about how Justice subsumes Liberty so Justice is better but Liberty is the most important of the rights that Justice protects and it's the gold inside the safe so Liberty is what we're ultimately valuing but Justice is the safe on the outside and it's necessary to keep the gold protected so it's more important and... yea, avoid all that and talk about the resolution already, ya bloomin' cockroaches. Arggh.

That just might be, in the words of the great philosopher Jack Sparrow, "much more better."
Or at least it's preferable to simply staying home and lying around. 

You're homeschooled. Drink up, me hearties, yoho!