Debate Team 101
A peek at the debate team!
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Known for having nerve-struck teens talk about things that they don’t care about for some college resume, Debate is one of the most respected extracurriculars in Stuyvesant. As members of this team for over a year now, we’ve got outstanding accolades, like Victor’s 0-5 at Ridge, and sophomore Will Ma’s 20/30 at a Stuyvesant tournament! With such experience, we are knowledgeable enough to give everyone in this school a detailed description of the team. (Also, we’d write about Speech, but Debate is clearly more important. And if we left you out, we apologize, it was totally not intentional.)
Founded by the legendary Rodda John (‘17), who for some reason is still at Stuyvesant, Parliamentary debate is the newest addition to the overall debate team. With only five years of experience, this team has managed to achieve...well...we’re not really sure ourselves! Having yet to gain national recognition (or even local acknowledgement, for that matter), this format continues to struggle in perfecting its craft. Perhaps one reason they struggle is because of the ludicrousness of their argumentation. By convention, Parliamentary debaters are not allowed to do outside research because of the tournament host’s poor data plan. As a result, each debater has to prepare a case, filled with contentions they would never use normally, 15 minutes before the round. These rules force debaters to use “logic” and “reasoning” instead of actual evidence, resulting in rounds that were originally about the carbon tax turning into rounds about soda taxes (you really don’t want to know, trust us).
Congress debate is an oddball. It’s really just an elite form of Speech; in fact, they even advertise themselves as a mix of Speech AND Debate. Nonetheless, as they have registered as a Debate form (because Debate is obviously better), we’ll enlighten you about them as well. They prepare long speeches at home, and simply read them. No argumentation. No back and forth. So why is it a debate format again? It’s supposed to mimic what actual Congress is like, which, thanks to the government shutdown, is something that they’re finally doing for the first time. Then again, when has anything run smoothly for anyone at Stuy? Most people who join Congress are gullible and naive freshmen who believe they are joining an elite team. At least they do until the first meeting—that’s when most quit.
If you’ve ever been on the sixth floor after school, chances are, you’ve heard a Policy debater. Known for debating by making a capella beats about politics, it is the most incomprehensible format thanks to the number of wannabe Eminems participating. With such speed, whole rounds go by without anyone understanding a single word that was said, not even the debaters themselves. Oftentimes, those in Policy sound smart and are called “scholars” because they speak so fast, but in reality, they are simply too lazy to fully form words and enunciate. They call it spreading, instead of what it really is: SPeed READing, which just shows their laziness even more.
“All you gotta do is make hand gestures and, like, have good rhetoric.” —Christopher Cho, junior
Though most people will treat this quote as irrelevant, it is literally the gist of Public Forum (PF) debate. A rip-off of Policy, PF requires extremely fast speaking and making illogical points. Though comprehensible, they manage to mention nuclear war in every round, regardless of motion. Using evidence and eccentric hand motions, PF debaters appear extremely intelligent to the normies. However, they don’t even use logic or try to explain their arguments; they simply say everything leads to nuclear war without explaining why (and the judge simply accepts that without any reservations). Rounds about the education system have ended in talking about which side would lead to nuclear war faster. No, seriously. The education system. Really wack if you ask us.
Unlike other formats of debate, this is the only one-on-one debate team in Stuyvesant. Their rounds are pretty much only about philosophy, making their “logic” futile, and leaving them without real-world applications for their style. LD debaters become sad when they are made to debate under a logical and pragmatic resolution, as those topics make their moral arguments obsolete. They also spread, so the rounds end up essentially being each side reading chunks of philosophical text as fast as possible. Not sure why anyone would want to do this, really.
Well, we hope that this comprehensive guide has been helpful and cleared any misconceptions you had about Stuy’s debate team, such as us winning, or you know, actually being able to debate. Hopefully, any delusions you had about joining Stuy’s illustrious debate team have also been crushed faster than our reputation as debaters as well as writers. Please make the smart decision and do not join this team. Thank you!