We are back! We really have gotten ourselves into a pickle with this one. At Kentucky we have new coaches and new debaters which really made GSU fly by for me as we learned to work together and had a lot of folks experiencing their first debate tournament ever. But some things did not escape my notice:
1. Could be worse
Democracy is the crown jewel of what a bad topic is. The mechanism on its best day did not generate interesting neg ground. When you combo that with things being so timely that there were no scholarly advocacy articles in general (let alone about democracy assistance) you have a real shitter on your hands.
Space isn’t that! But I don’t think it is going to hold up very well. We did talk for a whole year about Mexican cartels, an old WTO case, how Sweden regulated prostitution and bodily property rights (and cryogenics for one tournament). Maybe it was there and I didn’t hear it, but I didn’t hear nearly as much complaining on that topic. I also found the energy topic to be uninspired. It always gets a pass because energy cards are easy to cut and there was an election and I am pretty sure the TPP DA started around then. But that topic sucked.
2. Gold standard cards
One of the issues with space is that the pool of cards, particularly for the Neg, is pretty narrow. Usually at some point during the year people agree what the best card on something is and everyone reads it. On this topic it seems like there is widespread agreement right out of the gate on several issues. If I judge you and you want to just footnote these gold standard cards that people know by heart to save time, I am all for it:
Juul 19—one of the rare cards that says cooperating with Russia and China on space is bad
Blount 19---STM CP
Andsell 10---Unilateral ADR
Chow 18---RIP all teams that thought this article wasn’t getting read round 1
Agathangelou and Killian 16---IR K card of choice
Green 16---did you know if people know where stuff is, they can ASAT it??
I will say there are some articles that I thought would be staples that are not really in circulation yet. Something to strive for! Possibly coming to a RR doc near you.
3. NSP means no K Affs
I too am worried about K teams’ chances because of how the resolution says national space policy.
4. Debating anti-blackness
When the Aff is answering anti-blackness and you are doing fine on it’s not ontological that doesn’t mean that race/racialization goes from 100% explanatory power to 0% explanatory power. It could very well be the case that the Neg is not allowed to consistently have their cake and eat it too in this context, but you have to explain why that is true. And you generally have to be cognizant of the notion that even if it is not an immutable structure, anti-blackness can heavily influence a wide range of subjects.
5. Doc of the Tournament
Dartmouth ET, quarters, Neg vs Wake EF. This 1NC is so fucking good (how can it not be when you have a bona fide link to the metaphysics of presence). Not getting it over the finish line is gut wrenching. RIP Dartmouth.
Congrats to Pittsburgh and GMU for clearing two teams at a major (was too lazy to go look, I assume it has been a minute since they had two in elims, but maybe I am wrong). Fills my heart with nostalgia for my D7 days. Special shout out to GMU AH, they have been out here scrapping for a minute, they have good looking docs and it’s always exciting to get that first one.
EDIT: Congrats to WVU too! I thought they cleared at Northwestern last spring, but that was incorrect. I am but a cog in a soulless big D6 school, but can still appreciate schools with heart doing well.
7. Impact things
One of the weird things I have been thinking about this topic is how on the one hand things like space war and space debris should be pretty reasonable impacts because important stuff happens in space and these cards draw pretty direct lines (which historically makes for a durable debate argument). On the other hand, the defense and advantage CP’s to all this stuff are really fucking good. Like if this topic happened in 2014 when the agenda DA existed the Aff would be toast in pretty much every debate.
Sorry Aff teams, I guess you had your fun reading single payer and NFU and this topic is karma.
In bullet points:
a. ADR is topical, shut up
b. Don’t think there was high profile Neg win. Gtown got in the ballpark in the octas, but no dice.
c. RPO’s seems suspect, but has biggest Aff on topic crown. Will someone dethrone it?
d. STM seems to have some potential
9. Thank you for being brave
Cal reading planetary defense, Northwestern reading SPS and Kansas reading exploration (kind of). Blessings on you for not being cowards (unclear if the opposite of coward in this case is strategic but the gambit seemed to do ok for at least one tournament).
I am Lincoln, retired debate coach . This site's purpose is to post my ramblings about policy debate.