College Policy Debate Forums
December 09, 2018, 05:32:54 PM *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?

Login with username, password and session length
News: IF YOU EXPERIENCE PROBLEMS WITH THE SITE, INCLUDING LOGGING IN, PLEASE LET ME KNOW IMMEDIATELY.  EMAIL ME DIRECTLY OR USE THE CONTACT US LINK AT THE TOP.
 
   Home   Help Search Login Register  
Pages: [1]
  Print  
Author Topic: Miami vs The Coast  (Read 3556 times)
Jim Schultz
Newbie
*
Posts: 18


« on: October 30, 2014, 09:59:07 AM »

There has been little public discussion of the Miami vs. the Coast occurring, at least on the internet. My understanding is that there have been some quasi-public discussions in meetings at the tournaments. That is good, but inadequate to have an informed public deliberation about the tournaments.  Jonah Feldman put forward his own proposal for how to deal with the white flight move to Miami. That is great, but inadequate to curb the growing move to bifurcate the community. The silence is deafening.
I can only use third party discussions (rumors) and conjecture to formulate the rationale for going to Miami. I can think of three reasons; regionalization, budgetary concerns, and segregation motivated by anti-black racism and hetero-patriarchy.  I am hopeful this is not an exclusive list and I am missing something. I am full of shortcomings, and this could be just one more in a laundry list of my life’s faults. Here is hoping to me wearing the dunce cap once more.

Regionalization:
The motivation of fostering further regionalization rings hollow. There are no teams currently entered at Miami from the state of Florida. I realize that Miami is geographically isolated; I grew up in South Florida and had to go on very long car rides to tournaments or get expensive flights to places. There are few solutions to this dilemma, and that is unfortunate. I also debated at Florida State where we toiled through even longer car rides to D.C., Lawrence, and Cedar Falls. The geographic isolation on the peninsula is a dilemma. The Miami tournament, however, does not resolve this geographic isolation. It doesn’t make it less costly for the Hurricanes to get to Harvard, Texas, or the opposite coast.
District six already hosts three majors; I know it is costly for Miami to get to GSU, UK, and WFU, and that is unfortunate. It costs a lot for a number of programs to get to these three tournaments in the southeast. Adding a fourth tournament to the region seems to amplify this cost issue to everyone outside of the southeast. This is particularly true to those folks in District one and two. If promoting regional debate is a motivating factor, why are you not going to the coast to promote D1? Where were you when The Jesuit folded shop? Did you go to Weber? I’m not being pithy; I think these questions draw appropriate skepticism towards your motivation. I am unable to wrap my head around how adding a tournament to the district with the most majors promotes regionalization. The folks out west should have every motivation to be skeptical of these claims too. If the Midwest is really interested in promoting regional debate, why aren’t you hosting a tournament?

Budget:
Given how expensive it is to get from south Florida to the rest of the country, I cannot imagine the reverse is cost competitive. The hotel costs were prohibitively expensive for my high school team to travel to Miami with any frequency. Are the costs suddenly and dramatically lower?
The Coast is expensive. I thought that was why we strung together two tournaments; to get the most value out of those squeezed dollars. Having two tournaments in California was a way to flatten those costs. Yes, it is expensive to fly to California for one tournament, but the high plane ticket costs are not as prohibitive when spread over two tournaments. I know Miami has increased the number of prelims to offset the disparity in total rounds participated in, but this is not the same. Getting to debate in elimination rounds is essential for those folks making a jump from going 3-3 or 4-4 to being able to hang with those racing for first rounds. Getting to debate in a different set of prelims is helpful for those still trying to hit the .500 mark. I find it difficult to think the 0-6 through 0-9 debates (or 1-5, or 2-4, and so on) are as useful as a second tournament to those that are still finding competitive success difficult to attain. The quality of the opponents, and likely the judges, will diminish in a 10 round format. The dollars are being invested poorly.
If the budgets of the perennial powerhouses are suddenly so threatened that they need to make major adjustments to their schedule, where are the other effects to this? Is this really a solution? Is pushing for more D6 tournaments really the way to remedy budgetary constraints in programs from the Midwest? If there is a budgetary crisis, shouldn’t there be more collective forbearance in dealing with this crisis than just trading out CA for a weekend to FL?

Segregation:
The enormous elephant in the tiny room may occlude my ability to see the full weight of other justifications. I don’t think many, if any, are conscience in the retreat from black, female, and queer success. I also don’t think the timing of this move can avoid being read in a way that promotes segregated tournaments from blackened, gendered, and queered success. Sometimes the truth hurts. It is uncomfortable to have your failings, faults, and deficiencies called out. It stings to be told you are being racist. It should sting. It should sit with you uncomfortably. Not because it is an unfounded attack on your character, but, because your actions are deficiencies that harm others.
“I don’t want to have to debate those teams.” This is the mantra that resonates the most with me. I understand that many folks think their way of debate is the best model and that some of those folks would prefer most (if not all) of their debates operate in the same model. I always thought this was best resolved through deliberation; the best argument wins. That is ultimately what I thought was the foundation for what it is we do here. We are a persuasive activity, a community that requires a level of commonality in participation, but a level of agonistic disagreement in the participation itself.  Is the fear and/or frustration of men and women of color, and women without color, so heightened that the only solution is pick up your ball and go home? We are a better activity and community when we come together and argue things out than we can ever be if we take our differences and retreat to likeminded corners.
It is also a bit absurd to me that such a little crack in the armor would cause such a reaction. “New debate” has won the NDT exactly one time. “New debate” has one the Copeland exactly zero times. Harvard is a good demonstration that the old guard isn’t going anywhere. There was exactly one team that doesn’t engage in the topic from a traditional standpoint (all apologies for Mimi and Michael if you prefer to identify as a “new debate” team, but I read you as a flex team that defaults to policy). The old guard dominated the top 10 speakers. Kentucky and GSU were mostly segregated, but the teams that can be coded as “new debate” were all gone by the semis there as well. Old debate is still winning when we come together. How insecure are you? You aren’t satisfied with all of the semis teams, 7/8 quarters teams,  8/10 top speakers? You are unwilling to “settle it on the field?” That’s a shame. It’s a damn shame. It’s a shame because debate is doing so well right now. Twenty years ago there was not a better depth of understanding policy. I have seen the cards, and watched the tape. But it has added in the value of being able to speak to a more diverse set of arguments than previously. Your opponents have been making you better. They always have, and they should continue to do so. Running from an argument does not make you better.

“Thank you competitors. Every one of you, coach and debater, who face our teams and push our teams to think harder, research deeper, get outside of our narrower confines. You pose questions to our coaching, without which questions we could not learn and improve.
On occasion, hopefully rare, we do not reciprocate or we fail to appreciate. When we (being human) are at our worst we might denigrate. I hope and trust not, but know that we mean not.
We can’t do it without you.
What are the best debates you have judged or debated in? They are closely contested. They reflect a commitment to excellence. That attribute can never be one sided.
We are at our worst and best when we put everything we have into a debate and come up on the short end. But who gave us the opportunity to be triumphant and feel that the win was meaningful in the first place?
Our competitors.” - RKS

One last thought, where are those that dissent? Can we do no better than Jonah’s one plea? Where is our collective conscience? Have we stood so long on the shoulders of the giants that came before us that they are over burdened? It shouldn’t be hard to stand up to white flight; it shouldn’t be hard to find the ethics necessary to refuse segregation.

If you disagree with any of this, then please let me know. I think the most effective response would be to find me in California and talk to me about it. I look forward to seeing you all in California.

With love,

Jim

Logged
Paul Elliott Johnson
Full Member
***
Posts: 134


« Reply #1 on: November 03, 2014, 10:12:49 AM »

Debate is a community. Any community living involves bargaining and trade-offs, what Aristotle called "being ruled and ruling in turn." Some of this is, sometimes you get the judges you like, sometimes, someone else gets the judges they like. Sometimes you all get judges that none of you like so that some of the other citizens in your polity do get judges they both like. Citizenship is not--or shouldn't be--a regular experience of gathering up all the goods that come from collective living without giving back in some form. Sometimes its uncomfortable, unfamiliar, and even worrisome. Which, you know, are basically the prime elements of education if you are doing it right.

I don't know about you, but I'm tired. I'm tired of flinching when I click on Facebook (so tired I quit it). I'm tired of spending 30% of my time talking to debate people about the perpetual apocalypse we are apparently all living. I'm tired of the virtual, discursive life of debate being a serious disconnect from the more or less pleasurable, entertaining, and stimulating experience that debate tournaments remain. I'm tired of seeing people across the quad at a tournament having a conversation--people I love, respect, and value-- and worrying about whether or not they're going to be at tournaments in the coming year. I'm tired of feeling bad about being tired because there are people who, everyday, have to go through so much more than me BEFORE they wade through some of the garbanzo beans of zany that is debate right now. I'm tired of conversations with people that end with "I really don't agree with you, but I cannot argue with how you are feeling right now." One difficulty, of course, is you don't have a right to feel a particular way in a democracy, either.

But I can tell you what I'm not tired of: I'm not tired of talking strategy with my debaters. I'm not tired of looking at people's arguments on the caselist. I'm not tired of judging debates. I'm not tired of hoping that debate will be--hell, is--great. I'm not tired of knowing that we are all better than this. I'm not tired of sharing time and thoughts with my friends at tournaments late into the night. And I'm definitely not tired of all of you, who are colleagues in work, life, and education.

I get that the internet has basically been chilled as a site of deliberation. And even game efforts, like Wake's decision to hold a forum last year the night before the tournament, can only work insofar as people want to participate. And, flatly, I can see, in ways, the merit in disconnecting from a deliberative environment where one feels that one's arguments will be met with pre-judging invective. The whole thing is draining, and I say that as someone who doesn't get personally attacked all that much. But, to pull an old person trick, "thats above." I mean of course its difficult, and draining, and tough. Community isn't easy. But if we're all a little bit tired, maybe thats the point where our community comes together again. The writers and thinkers in the space of deliberative politics who defend antagonism almost never defend it as the SOLE persuasive strategy that should be deployed by a movement: antagonistics, polemics, bravura performances of pathos: they all have a place in a rich argumentative environment, one marked not only by these kinds of speeches but also strategic essentialisms, pleas for common sense, and, yes, charitable interpretation.

We can only stop being so tired if we communicate. I hate to be that cheesy person, but its the damn truth. If we treat one another's arguments as potentially possessing merit, we might be more tired today but less tired tomorrow. And I use the collective pronoun, we, here to emphasize: it is a togetherness the debate community has. Even for those who seek (quite rightly) to unsettle the proposition that togetherness is an uncritically accepted good are still attending the same tournaments. At least, right now. Sometimes. Are you tired? Speak up. Speak up now. The thing that terrifies me the most is the silence. Maybe you want an apology. Probably, you deserve an apology.

I'm sorry. On the behalf of the world, at large, I am sorry. Its really been a rough year and a half or so. Its also been necessary, in ways: thats the bit about change, about community. And so if you've thought about things in a different way and you're a different person, maybe not so sorry. Usually its process not outcome but, here...

If you are a coach or competitor, give some thoughts. Nothing is weirder than a Silent Majority (Minority?). When you stare into the abyss, the abyss doesn't go to the Coast, or however that old chestnut goes. I cannot guarantee you won't receive criticism, but I can guarantee that I will do my best to read, parse, and pushback against unfair readings.







Logged
kevin kuswa
Sr. Member
****
Posts: 346


« Reply #2 on: November 03, 2014, 10:35:07 AM »

Great post, Paul.  You all should read this if you haven't.  Being involved in a community and working hard on education is hard--and tiring--but it is also a sign that learning is taking place, that people are thinking, and people care.  That's the element that I keep returning to, whether things are hard on the team, at tournaments, or otherwise--people really do care a great deal.  That means there is something wonderful and important happening, even if it is happening differently for different people.  What Paul's post really hits is that all of the controversy and clash can be frustrating and exhausting, but it is also indicative of signs of life.  Silence is far worse.  Thanks for putting that in writing.  Looking forward to more.  Kevin

Debate is a community. Any community living involves bargaining and trade-offs, what Aristotle called "being ruled and ruling in turn." Some of this is, sometimes you get the judges you like, sometimes, someone else gets the judges they like. Sometimes you all get judges that none of you like so that some of the other citizens in your polity do get judges they both like. Citizenship is not--or shouldn't be--a regular experience of gathering up all the goods that come from collective living without giving back in some form. Sometimes its uncomfortable, unfamiliar, and even worrisome. Which, you know, are basically the prime elements of education if you are doing it right.

I don't know about you, but I'm tired. I'm tired of flinching when I click on Facebook (so tired I quit it). I'm tired of spending 30% of my time talking to debate people about the perpetual apocalypse we are apparently all living. I'm tired of the virtual, discursive life of debate being a serious disconnect from the more or less pleasurable, entertaining, and stimulating experience that debate tournaments remain. I'm tired of seeing people across the quad at a tournament having a conversation--people I love, respect, and value-- and worrying about whether or not they're going to be at tournaments in the coming year. I'm tired of feeling bad about being tired because there are people who, everyday, have to go through so much more than me BEFORE they wade through some of the garbanzo beans of zany that is debate right now. I'm tired of conversations with people that end with "I really don't agree with you, but I cannot argue with how you are feeling right now." One difficulty, of course, is you don't have a right to feel a particular way in a democracy, either.

But I can tell you what I'm not tired of: I'm not tired of talking strategy with my debaters. I'm not tired of looking at people's arguments on the caselist. I'm not tired of judging debates. I'm not tired of hoping that debate will be--hell, is--great. I'm not tired of knowing that we are all better than this. I'm not tired of sharing time and thoughts with my friends at tournaments late into the night. And I'm definitely not tired of all of you, who are colleagues in work, life, and education.

I get that the internet has basically been chilled as a site of deliberation. And even game efforts, like Wake's decision to hold a forum last year the night before the tournament, can only work insofar as people want to participate. And, flatly, I can see, in ways, the merit in disconnecting from a deliberative environment where one feels that one's arguments will be met with pre-judging invective. The whole thing is draining, and I say that as someone who doesn't get personally attacked all that much. But, to pull an old person trick, "thats above." I mean of course its difficult, and draining, and tough. Community isn't easy. But if we're all a little bit tired, maybe thats the point where our community comes together again. The writers and thinkers in the space of deliberative politics who defend antagonism almost never defend it as the SOLE persuasive strategy that should be deployed by a movement: antagonistics, polemics, bravura performances of pathos: they all have a place in a rich argumentative environment, one marked not only by these kinds of speeches but also strategic essentialisms, pleas for common sense, and, yes, charitable interpretation.

We can only stop being so tired if we communicate. I hate to be that cheesy person, but its the damn truth. If we treat one another's arguments as potentially possessing merit, we might be more tired today but less tired tomorrow. And I use the collective pronoun, we, here to emphasize: it is a togetherness the debate community has. Even for those who seek (quite rightly) to unsettle the proposition that togetherness is an uncritically accepted good are still attending the same tournaments. At least, right now. Sometimes. Are you tired? Speak up. Speak up now. The thing that terrifies me the most is the silence. Maybe you want an apology. Probably, you deserve an apology.

I'm sorry. On the behalf of the world, at large, I am sorry. Its really been a rough year and a half or so. Its also been necessary, in ways: thats the bit about change, about community. And so if you've thought about things in a different way and you're a different person, maybe not so sorry. Usually its process not outcome but, here...

If you are a coach or competitor, give some thoughts. Nothing is weirder than a Silent Majority (Minority?). When you stare into the abyss, the abyss doesn't go to the Coast, or however that old chestnut goes. I cannot guarantee you won't receive criticism, but I can guarantee that I will do my best to read, parse, and pushback against unfair readings.








Logged
antonucci23
Full Member
***
Posts: 138


« Reply #3 on: November 03, 2014, 12:37:50 PM »

Great post, Paul.  I agree with every word, I think.  It's honestly one of the few things that could convince me to say much of anything on these topics at this point, for reasons you explained better than I could.

I know that community problems are far greater than any one particular forum choice.  I remain convinced, however, that the collective decision to migrate deliberation to Facebook was disastrously ill-considered.  The correlation between that move and a shift to antagonistic, fatuous, and self-serving posturing is just too stark to dismiss.

I'm comfortable with democratic and transparent discourse.  I'm comfortable with public discussion.  I'm completely uncomfortable with real-time mobile-enabled forums that seem to revolve around appealing to the lowest common intellectual denominator.  It seems to embody the worst features of democratic discourse.  Somewhere around the one hundred mark of bilious invective, I just gave up on that stuff and figured someone would call me if I should care.

I think a lot of debate coaches.  I think we're collectively smarter than our online personas would lead any academic observer to believe.  I'm traditionally long on obnoxiously prescriptive recommendations, but I'm at a loss.

As a side note, I don't think that many teams are attending Miami.  I look forward to seeing people at the Coast.
« Last Edit: November 03, 2014, 12:41:11 PM by antonucci23 » Logged
Pages: [1]
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.21 | SMF © 2015, Simple Machines Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!