Debating in Durham

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It didn’t seem to care of clothes, or skin, or flesh, it went right through to the bones: the cold. That wicked, damnable cold. It might have been a combination of exhaustion and hunger, as we had decided to take the overnight bus from London. Maybe it was because it was so unexpected, but it made me shook and all I could think is how to find methods to heat myself. I even went as low as going to toilets to use the hand drier that blew that lovely, caressing warm air.

Once I managed to ignore the cold by drawing out my Eastern European insensitivity to weather, I realised it was a very lovely place. For a moment, it even made me feel like in Downton Abbey.

The moment of bliss soon fell apart. Debating, once more, managed to ruin my life.

So this will be more of a rant post than a travel post – especially since I was basically in Durham only for one day and I don’t really think there’s much to see anyway (incredibly cheap burgers tho).

Why do I think debating is frustrating? It’s quite easy – because at times (too often lately), you never understood why you lost. You see, in martial arts, or sports, it’s fairly easy to know when you won or lost. If you get KO, if the other person is faster, or stronger than you, you can physically see the difference. This doesn’t happen in debating, and I find it is something very alienating to others and frustrating to me.

Just for the record – I do not dislike losing to people who are better than me. If anything, I found it to be extremely motivating. Understanding why you lost helps you be able to improve and gives you a boost. It makes sense. Yet too often have I heard judges lately make their decision based on “well, I think this is what should have been discussed in this motion” and totally disregard what happens in the actual debate.

I fully understand people have different views. I, for example, find pragmatic arguments (real effects in the world) much more persuasive than moral arguments which bore me to no end. And I know many judges who would be simply horrified by any sort of utilitarian argument (which I think is cool). There is a fine line though between what we think is important and how we should judge a debate. It is not up to the judge to interpret the motion however he sees fit. The government has a semi-divine right to do that. If left unchallenged by the other side, it remains so. If it is challenged, the judge is supposed to decide what is what based on who argues better.

I even have a solution to this problem: education. Ladies and gentlemen, I am on a mission to civilize. Join me! Seriously though, the fact that different judges would have different standards to judge the same debate is problematic and shows how much of a russian roulette debating actually is. A team breaking can boil down to which judges you had and which side you landed with a certain judge.

So many times I wonder why I keep debating considering it is so frustrating at times. Am I a masochist? Am I?

Posted in Nonsense, Travel and tagged , , , , , .

One Comment

  1. Nice rant there 😉 fully agree. I hate judges that essentially go: “you said _____ which is good BUT you didn’t say _______ AND the other team said ______ which I think is spot on. Therefore they win” with disregard for the argumentation within.

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