If any of my awesome readers were wondering why there was no new content over the past three days, it was because I was participating in the 2012 ISAC debate tournament. Yes, it is policy debate, but it’s done in an odd way.
Our topic was similar to the one used in the States this year, regarding infrastructure. However, while in the states specific terms such as “US Federal Government” and “Transportation Infrastructure” were used, our topic, resolved, was: An international organization should be formed to substantially increase infrastructure in Africa.
Instead of choosing an individual component of infrastructure, my partner and I went for a broad plan, and we felt it was done really well. It was a shorter plan, but there are reasons for that. Mainly being that, instead of eight speeches, we only get six. And, instead of the 1AC, 1NC, 2AC, and 2NC being twelve minutes, they’re only six. Which sucks, as it just isn’t enough time to create sufficient arguments. The second reason is that the judges, and other participants, simply do not understand debate.
Put simply, the second you start speed reading, you pretty much automatically lose. Now, at the debate camp I attended this summer, I was told that, at my fastest speed, I was extremely clear. I guess that’s just because my opponents there are trained for it, but it still didn’t allow my partner and I to create an elaborate enough plan.
We ran three advantages; Economy, Education, and Health. All of them were great advantages. And, never once were they attacked. Because the other debaters don’t understand debate. The only two things that they ever attacked were our sources and our plan’s “specifics”.
Source arguments, are, quite possibly, the most annoying things ever. Because the negative teams are so desperate that they’ll go after any sources. I mean, we lost a debate because apparently articles from news sources (MSNBC, The Economist, the Atlantic, etc.) were “opinions and not actual facts.” I’m gonna call BS on that. However, apparently, that was enough to convince the judges to vote negative, despite the fact that we clearly refuted those arguments.
And then there was the specifics. And that was a really weird argument. I have some experience debating in the States, and I’ve never seen that argument before. They claimed that because we didn’t have exact funding or an exact time frame, our plan was somehow bad. And no matter how many times my partner and I asked about that in Cross X, they never gave us a clear answer. So that argument is one I simply don’t understand, especially since it’s completely irrelevant within the parameters of the debate.
And, not once was a Kritik or Disadvantage run against us. We saw a few weird Counter Plans, but that was the only actual argument they made. And the Counter Plan’s were weird. It wasn’t like a China CP, or something I’d be used to. The counter plan was, essentially, to not do the plan. And that was the extent of the Counter Plan.
Now, this was because my partner and I were the only people at the tournament who understood those arguments. We put together an awesome US hegemony disadvantage, along with Capitalism and Industrialization disadvantages. Our impact turns (for all three) outweighed their’s. Actually, they had no impacts. At all. The only argument they made against our Disads was that they never mentioned US hegemony in their plan. They just had no idea how it was connected to the plan, even after we explained to them why it was connected over and over.
And then there were our Kritiks. We ran Feminism and Science Fiction Kritiks, and, again, the other teams didn’t at all understand how those works. And neither did the judges. There were – maybe – two competent judges at the entire tournament. The others had no clue what debate was, or how it was supposed to run. And it made me mad. Because my partner and I clearly won every debate we were in. Our opponents made weak arguments that were, for the most part, completely irrelevant. The only team that actually understood how debate was supposed to go was my partner and I.
Furthermore, no one actually read any evidence. They just read tags and sources. There was no evidence read, and when we asked to see it, they couldn’t give it to us. By the end, I was so mad that I just decided to be a jerk to the aff team, taking their plan in the Cross X and asking them to describe it. Unsurprisingly, they couldn’t at all restate it. And my partner and I attacked them on that IN ADDITION to all three of our disads and both of our Kritiks. And still, the other team somehow won.
Also, I didn’t think that the affirmative could win on topicality. Actually, I still don’t. We didn’t really run any Topicality, because we shouldn’t have needed it. The judging was extremely incompetent, especially since they made it painfully clear they had no idea how debate even works. Halfway through my 1AC, the judge asked me to stop and restart because I was going too fast. I was going at maybe a quarter of my normal speed. He didn’t restart the timer, and just made me restart. So, naturally, I didn’t have time to finish my plan, and we lost because of that.
And that wasn’t the only incident that pissed my partner and I off. The other teams had no idea what they were even doing, and nor did the judges. Teams having no clue what’s going on I can deal with, I mean, it’s an easy victory. But when the judges are incompetent, and, for the most part, stupid, it gets on my nerves a little bit. But oh well. My partner and I will do the same next year, and hopefully the judges are more competent.
Sadly, this is the only debate tournament that we actually do. And it sucks, because there’s probably one somewhere where the judges actually understand how debate works and the other teams actually get it.