View Full Version : Debate: Antithetical to Communication
05-29-2008, 10:28 PM
I just watched the tournament of champions LD finals, and I have to admit, I laughed; For a communication event and preparation for the real world, I found it disturbing how little presentation/style went into it; I know debate is about argumentation/logic/research; however, LD and from what I've heard policy has turned into a joke. Debate historically plays a pivotal role in public discourse, and seeing champions talking that fast and robotic makes me sad; Putting 40 minutes of information into 10 minutes is ridiculous. Public Forum was created to get away from this as far as I've heard; I haven't judged Public Forum in five years; has it become the same?
05-30-2008, 01:52 AM
I agree...for most parts. In the nationally ranked LD tournaments (VBT, Harvard, etc.), it's all about the flow, and whoever can spread the most information usually wins. Yet, I think that there is still a moderation between argumentation and speaking style in the in-between tournaments. The real problem that I have is that judges vary way too much. In the national tournaments, it is usually all about who wins on the flow, but most other tournaments have a judging pool of lay judges and experienced judges. You never know it you are being to jargony or too lay.
While TOC is intense, I think that it is a great tournament for the debaters who have tubs and tubs of evidence, go to summer debate camps, etc. They put all the effort into debate, and there should be TOC where there are guaranteed flow judges.
Public Forum (Ted Turner) was originally meant to be a laid back debate. It still is in most tournaments. But over the years, LD and Policy debaters have been migrating toward Public Forum, making it more and more debate intense. I just think that the intensity of debate will be inevitable because there are always people who will use theory and other debate language.
I say, if you want presentation/style, then do speech or maybe congress. Debate is for the double-breath spreaders with five arguments to Khalilzad, 95.
05-30-2008, 08:58 AM
The reason debate is such a walled/gated/what have you community is because of the highly regulated norms of it; I'll have to admit that I am a speechster through and through, but my favorite event is extemp, which is all about argumentation with a seven minute time maximum, and yet style still plays a role because to paraphrase Lee Iaococca: you can have brilliant ideas, but if you can't get them across effectivelly; they're meaningless. It seems that the value of quantatiy has trumped the value of quality and understandability. Maybe changing the speaking style to a slower(because it can't get any faster) more relaxed style where it focuses on the depth of arguments instead of the breadth what draw more people into it, and make it even more real world; Debate at the core is argumentation, I will admit, but is still a COMMUNICATION event. How about a few brave souls try that and argue the ridiculousness of this. Maybe these debaters speak so fast because all they have in quantity that they've amassed aren't ready for an indepth discuss about philosophies/values/what not. All in all, I don't think style should ever trump substance; however, ironically, substance(at least in amount not depth) is trumping any style.
05-30-2008, 09:33 AM
Well, the TOC finals is a joke.
Its like policy with different speaking times, and its just stupid... but I guess it wins national circuit tournaments.
HOWEVER, last years NFL finals are all about LD, no spreading, and everything is as it should be. And these guys are, imho, the REAL champions, so they should be our role models.
06-20-2008, 03:53 PM
I'm watching it right now and it's definitely better. You are actually do understand them and their arguments are very solid. Quality over quantity!!
06-23-2008, 11:46 AM
I hate it when people make these arguments. Sure, LD is high speed at its highest level of competition. However, the purpose of LD is not specifically to develop communication skills and become a master orator. We have OO, Extemp, and Interp events for that. The purpose of LD, I believe, is to develop quick-thinking, logic, etc.
Speed enhances the development of these skills is quite a few ways:
First, quick speaking, quite simply, requires debaters to make more arguments. Obviously, if you are speaking almost twice as fast as another person, you are going to make more arguments. Thus, speed, in itself, requires better critical thinking in order to generate more unique responses to an opponent's arguments.
Second, speed improves a debater's capacity to think quickly. Ultimately, there is no way that debaters can memorize rebuttal speeches or something of that nature. Therefore, debaters must learn to think quickly while speaking quickly in order to debate effectively.
Third, speed improves the research and case construction of debaters. With faster speech, debaters can engage more complex and educational positions. This, in turn, improves debate because the depth of breadth of the discussion is increased significantly.
In conclusion, debate is fast. The fact that debate in this form may not mirror what you consider "good communication" should not be a problem, though.
06-23-2008, 12:46 PM
The last poster and rkrboi both make the points I would have brought up. There's really several different types of debaters in LD. There's the Tivani Vohras (Nats last year), philosophical and communcative and in depth, and the DEBATERS, the quick speaking, high-intensity arguementative debaters. Both have merits, and to be a great debater, you have to know how to BECOME both and how to BEAT both.
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