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Wednesday, October 12, 2005

APDA Guide to Debate: Part III

It’s been a while since Part I and Part II of my APDA Guide to Debate™, but judging from what I have seen so far this year, my lessons have (thankfully!) not been lost on the league. When we left off, we’d just examined the first two speeches of the round, so now on to the two easiest speeches ever given by anyone, anywhere, except possibly the flight attendant safety speech: the Member of Government (MG) and Member of Opposition (MO) speeches.

Member of Government

If you’re giving the member of government speech, one of two things is true. Either you’re also giving Leader of Opposition speeches at the tournament where you are competing, or you are an incompetent idiot whose partner is only with you as a consequence of community service or sexual bribery. In either case, the MG is the hardest speech to give, so hopefully you are up to the task! The basic purpose of this ‘eight’ minute diatribe is to give the PM things to say in their rebuttal. The problem is – if you say things that are real or rational, then the member of opposition and leader of opposition will gang up on you, tease you, and probably induce an eating disorder and/or drug addiction that will land you someplace horrible, like sucking dick for crack in Philadelphia, or, worse yet, at Harvard. So there are a number of strategies to circumvent this terrible fate:

• Speak very, very fast. Pause occasionally to say, “and pay attention” before saying something that, if it were in context, might make sense. If you need help finding one of these, just ask the PM “What would be awesome to talk about in PMR?” and then say something about human rights or Hitler. The rest of the time, you should probably focus on reciting Prince lyrics or possibly Beowulf, in middle English.
• Speak a foreign language? This is a great time to practice. Especially Latin, so that your partner can claim you are just smart and are using legal terminology.
• Since the opposition invariably complained about your case (if they are following this guide, which they should be if they ever want to win – ever.) you should also pause at some point during your speech to insult the opposing team’s institution of learning, financial status, sense of style and significant other (who is probably made up anyway.) Beware of insulting sexuality or race, as these are horribly taboo on APDA, since “gay bashing” is much more damaging and insulting than intimating that a pack of wild dogs engaged in forceful intercourse with the other team’s family members.
• Stating “We don’t have to do this the ‘dumb way’” is tantamount to winning automatically. Obviously, you are going to do whatever you are doing in an intelligent manner – and as such, there can be no drawback. As an example, if you ran “People should drive cars off cliffs.” And the opposition callously presumed that this would entail “mass deaths when the cars hit the ground,” you use this rejoinder and remind them of the delightful cult classic “Back to the Future” wherein that lovable scamp Dr. Emmit Smith (who may have been a running back for the Cowboys) made a time machine out of his car, and as such allowed it to fly.

Pro Tip #5: While no MG should ever actually say anything, certain MGs in China during the Ling Dynasty perfected the Zen MG, where you literally stay silent for nine minutes. This prevents anyone from asking questions, and will make the other team look silly when they stand on you for time. It also gives the judge time to count the bribe you handed them prior to attending the tournament. You DID bribe him, didn’t you?

The Member of Opposition

This is the biggest, most important speech of the round since it’s where opposition reveals the actual opposition to the case. This is why opposition wins almost every round, just follow these simple steps:

Step 1: Claim you are about to “observe” something about the round. People began doing this in 1344 in Holland when “debate rounds” were carved into giant stone tablets, and whoever had the most beautiful statue at the end won, and this was done to critique the symmetry of the other side’s piece. Now, an ‘observation’ is slightly different: it’s the entire MO speech.
Step 2: After you state you are about to ‘observe’ something about the round, give a six minute speech on something rhetorically powerful. It doesn’t need to relate even vaguely to what has happened before you stood up, it just needs to sound good. Having a round about Japanese fiscal policy? Virtue Ethics. Bam. How are they going to refute that shit? With their goddamn Nikki index? Come on. Plato: 1, Dow LOSER: 0.
Step 3: “Cross apply” everything you said to the MG. This way, the PMR sounds hopelessly defensive as they try to figure out what the fuck just happened. The common response to this is that the judge, not wanting to appear stupid, will side with you over Inspector Stupid, Prime Minister.

Some less enlightened minds call this practice “knifing” as in “you just knifed your partner like a fine Italian filet by patently ignoring all of his arguments and completely failing to talk about anything.” This is to miss the point of being on a team. The reason you are on a two-person debate team is so that you can beat your partner. Either by out speaking them or looking better, remember that the only person you can normalize your results against is your partner. Everyone else, you can (and will) always make excuses about. Your partner, however, you have to beat – plus, this gives you a built in excuse when you fail to win the tournament and several small border skirmishes. Your partner was holding you down! This also vindicates you if you do well – you dragged your partner! So really it’s either him or you, and he’s probably sleeping with your sister anyway.

Pro Tip #6: Some people have begun catching on to the ‘observation’ trick and are actually treating them as ‘pseudo-points’. In order to skirt this, just put the entire observation as a response to the first point on case. Same effect, plus, them you can deride the other team for recognizing the brazen newness of your arguments by saying ‘but it was a response!’


This is actually a very short section. For the LOR, openly repeat your LOC ignoring the MO entirely. Knife that, you limey bastard! For the PMR, repeat your PMC, but use the key phrases your MG gave you. End with a point about minority children in a poor part of Africa. Then sigh, and wipe an imaginary tear from your eye. You compassionate person, you!

cranked out at 9:08 AM | |

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