Thursday, July 1, 2010

Debater's Rorschach

Given that debating is not an exact sport and performance is judged by humans, it was only a matter of time until psychoanalytic methods make their way into debating. Psychologists and psychotics at BDU have now turned their analytic minds to the question of how to assess the fundamental attitude of judges, so as to calibrate their speeches to perfectly suit their adjudicator's taste. After stunning initial results with the scientifically sound method of free association to random smudges of ink, we have arrived at a handy version of the Rorschach test which is perfectly adjusted to debaters' needs.

Simply ask your judge the following question:

"You're judging a debate in which every speaker takes the floor when it is his turn, doesn't open his mouth for 7 minutes, and then sits back down. How do you call the debate?"

The adjudicator's answer gives insight into her judging attitude. Here's a couple of answers you might hear:

  • "I put them all on joint last."/ "I just run away."/ "I yell at them until my voice fades."
    This judge is into the fun of hearing great speaches. Make her happy by cracking jokes, use cunny metaphors and pack your speech with pathos.
  • "I judge by looks."/ "Let's see who I like best as a person."
    This judge is taking the debate the way it is, and is then trying to find the right criteria by which to discriminate between the teams. Make sure you always explain why your team line beats the crap out of the other teams.
  • The judge actually gives you a ranking.
    This judge has a fixed set of criteria and ranks the teams by this. Try to dig deeper what these criteria may be: team consistency, micro-rebuttal to each and every one of your opponents' points, role fulfilment, constructing standard arguments well. You won't be able to sway her to your view of the debate! She'll listen to you though and be very analytical on her set of criteria. Our favourite answer actually: "Closing prop is last cause they didn't have an extension. Third comes opening opp cause they didn't deal appropriately with gov's policy. Second comes opening prop for screwing up the definition of the debate, and the winner is closing opp for perfectly hitting the tone of the debate".

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