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xanaphia
2009-05-28, 04:36 AM
Hi everyone. I've managed to win a few debates this year, in the APEX competition (in Australia). As it happens, I'm going down to Brisbane tomorrow for the finals. So all I have to do is win about three or four debates in a row, and I'll be the best third speaker in Queensland (the bogan little state in which I live)!!!

My first topic is that J K Rowling is better than Shakespeare. My team is affirmative. I don't know who'll win; I strikes me that I have the weaker side. Oh well.

Anyway, what are your thoughts on my topic? What should I argue? What rebuts should I have ready?

Ichneumon
2009-05-28, 04:39 AM
You could try to argue that literature is relative or something.

Nameless
2009-05-28, 04:40 AM
What side are you on? :smallconfused:

Ghastly Epigram
2009-05-28, 06:10 AM
What side are you on? :smallconfused:

Since he says that his team is "affirmative," I can only assume this means he is on the side of that statement being true.

Nameless
2009-05-28, 06:22 AM
Since he says that his team is "affirmative," I can only assume this means he is on the side of that statement being true.

...
*leaves*

Kantur
2009-05-28, 06:41 AM
The first thing that springs to my mind would be to emphasise how Rowling's managed to get children intersted in reading and actually reading.

Shakespeare may well be fantastic when you're an accomplished reader, but if you never start you can never appreachiate other literature. The most important thing is to get people reading. Personally, I've never read Shakespeare, though I'm a good reader. I learned to read years before Happy Potter was published, but those first books I did read are far more important to me that any play or sonet of Shakespeare - Reading with my parents is still a memory I cherish, and it's down to those books that I can understand letters I get about elections, or from the bank telling me about my account or services I get from them. Things that I need to understand, I do. And I've never read Shakespeare.

V'icternus
2009-05-28, 07:23 AM
Also, it might be useful to note that Rowling uses real English when writing a book in English... just a thought. (Shakespeare had like four ways to spell his own name... guh...)

And of course, the comparative popularity. (Remembering that Shakespeare's also had years to accumulate a fanbase, whereas Rowling's gotten more in less time.)

And remember, always use what the opposition says against them. ^^

Serpentine
2009-05-28, 08:06 AM
Hmmm... Lets see.
For starters, probably put them on common ground. Nowadays, Shakespear is considered fancy-pants poshness, but it was originally very much the pleb's entertainment - like Harry Potter.
There's the argument (for one citation, Roald Dahl in the introduction to Roald Dahl's Book of Ghost Stories) that good children's literature is much more difficult than adult.
Originality? There's plenty of evidence that Shakespear just plain copied a whole lot of stories and poems and the like from other people or traditions.
You could bring the argument about authorship into it - that we know that J.K.Rowling wrote Harry Potter, but there's people who think Shakespear didn't write any of his stuff. Which would straight away make Rowling the better author :smallwink: Furthermore, there isn't much (or any) of the original scripts. What we have was mostly copied from audience-scribbled transcripts.

reorith
2009-05-28, 08:16 AM
just remember, the best arguments are ad hominem. don't be afraid to snort derisively, scoff and make remarks like "oh yeah?" and "whatever." a secret rule of debating is the first person to mention hitler gets +150 points, sorta like catching the snitch in quidditch.

Canadian
2009-05-28, 08:19 AM
Trash talk and intimidate the other team before the debate. Plus don't take it too seriously. The debate topic is silly anyways.

Serpentine
2009-05-28, 08:25 AM
I corrected one of my opponents for calling one of his teammates "lovely" <.<

DamnedIrishman
2009-05-28, 09:22 AM
Who else read the title of this thread and thought that there was going to be a debate competition in the playground?

:smallfrown:

V'icternus
2009-05-28, 09:24 AM
I corrected one of my opponents for calling one of his teammates "lovely" <.<

Hilarious. ^^

Evil, yet hilarious.

I award you +2 awesome points for hilarity.

Serpentine
2009-05-28, 09:24 AM
Who else read the title of this thread and thought that there was going to be a debate competition in the playground?

:smallfrown:The philosophy discussions aren't enough for you?! :eek:

^ Yay grade 6 humour! :smallbiggrin:

DamnedIrishman
2009-05-28, 09:26 AM
The philosophy discussions aren't enough for you?! :eek:

^ Yay grade 6 humour! :smallbiggrin:

Easy for you to say, you've already got a bajillion trophies.

Nyer nyer nyer.


Fighting grade six fire with fire.

V'icternus
2009-05-28, 09:27 AM
Who else read the title of this thread and thought that there was going to be a debate competition in the playground?

:smallfrown:

Actually, that's exactly what I thought... :P

Oh well, at least I got to point out how poncy and overrated Shakespeare was...

The only thing his style of language should really be used for is bad role-playing. :smallbiggrin:

Artemician
2009-05-28, 09:28 AM
Oh well, at least I got to point out how poncy and overrated Shakespeare was...

The only thing his style of language should really be used for is bad role-playing. :smallbiggrin:
It was the language of his time... and some of it is still quite good really. But to call him the pinnacle of literature... nah.

Serpentine
2009-05-28, 09:29 AM
Poncy? :smallconfused: They're full of [phallus] jokes, innuendo and violence, and his language was (more or less) that of his time.

I just thought of something! My dad was recently in a performance of... blow me, I can't remember what it was called. One of the comedies, anyway. Wait... No, I don't think it was The Taming of the Shrew... The one where this guy and this girl hate each other's guts, and their friends arrange to have them fall in love. That one. Much Ado About Nothing! Anyway, he was talking about some of the changes his director made to it, and how one in particular only served to point out a gapingly huge plothole - that is, Male Love Interest #2 (forget his name) should have been able to recognise the woman dallying with the deadbeat dude (played by my father, incidentally) as not his beloved Hero, and so should have realised that it was all a dastardly plot to split them up. He then went on to explain that all of Shakespear is full of these silly plot-holes.
So, how's Harry Potter for internal consistency?

V'icternus
2009-05-28, 09:33 AM
Language of his time that he used incorrectly... I can't stand the popularisation of poor language... but, that's just me. People like the guys work, and I suppose he couldn't help the frilly clothes...

Serpentine
2009-05-28, 09:34 AM
Used incorrectly how?

V'icternus
2009-05-28, 09:47 AM
Used incorrectly how?

Well, for one thing, he made up his own words... (Some say over a thousand of them)
Not exactly the best way to use the language of your time, if you ask me.

Serpentine
2009-05-28, 09:50 AM
I'm suspicious of that claim. If he made up all those words, his audience wouldn't have understood what the bajeebus was going on. I think it's more likely that he was just the first one to write down these common-folk terms. Might wiki it, though...

V'icternus
2009-05-28, 09:52 AM
Well, a lot of them, yes, he was merely the first to put into permanent form. But some he coined up on his own, and I assume merely used the context of the rest of the writing to make it "clear" what they mean.

Also, apperantly he missused some word or another in one of his more famous quote... (I'll look it up sometime, when it isn't 12:53AM...)

Kantur
2009-05-28, 09:57 AM
I'm suspicious of that claim. If he made up all those words, his audience wouldn't have understood what the bajeebus was going on. I think it's more likely that he was just the first one to write down these common-folk terms. Might wiki it, though...

For my first thought to that: A Clockwork Orange (Anthony Burgess). Also, Jabberwocky (Lewis Carroll).

(V It probaly is different with A Clockwork Orange, and admittedly, it's something else I haven't read. I really should make an effort someday to go from being a good reader to being well read...)

Serpentine
2009-05-28, 09:59 AM
I think Clockwork Orange is different (though I haven't read the book), but I see what you mean by Jabberwocky. Point taken, but still... And anyway, in that case, if he really did make up all those words, then, well, Jabberwocky's my favourite poem ever, so it's not really all that much of a negative for me :smalltongue:

I can't find anything about that claim on Shakespeare's wiki, by the way.

V'icternus
2009-05-28, 10:00 AM
It just seems that he acted very phlatuently with language...

V'icternus
2009-05-28, 10:02 AM
I can't find anything about that claim on Shakespeare's wiki, by the way.

Try this. Link (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shakespeare's_influence)

Serpentine
2009-05-28, 10:05 AM
Try this. Link (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shakespeare's_influence)Yep, that's pretty much exactly what I was saying.

V'icternus
2009-05-28, 10:08 AM
Of course, it doesn't help that by now, everything he's ever done is either cliche, boring, old, two of the above, all of the above, or just plain uninteresting.

Also, the poofy, frilly clothes... :smalltongue:

Yarram
2009-05-28, 10:25 AM
Well first I guess you'd have to define what "better" means, in an advantageous manner. What will likely happen though, is the debate will turn into a debate over the definition of the word "better", so have arguments ready.
They will argue that Shakespeare is better quality, and that it has lasted longer than JK Rowling likely will (If this is said, DEFINATELY point out this is a hypothetical situation, as JK Rowling hasn't existed long enough to disprove that yet.)
I wouldn't argue that Shakespeare is archaic, because it only furthers their case. It has lasted longer so it's better. You can't be hypocritical by denying their argument that "Shakespeare has lasted longer" by declaiming it as too old.
I would define "better" to mean, more beneficial for a larger majority than Shakespeare is, and argue that JK is accessible, backing it up with the number of people that have read it worldwide.



Trash talk and intimidate the other team before the debate. Plus don't take it too seriously. The debate topic is silly anyways.

Lol


just remember, the best arguments are ad hominem. don't be afraid to snort derisively, scoff and make remarks like "oh yeah?" and "whatever." a secret rule of debating is the first person to mention hitler gets +150 points, sorta like catching the snitch in quidditch.

Double lol.

Serpentine
2009-05-28, 10:26 AM
Ugh. That's like accusing Monty Python of being cliche, boring, and/or old just because they've been imitated over and over since. Sure, he stole stuff, but so far as I know he was still at least one of the greatest playwrites ever to exist. And while I understand that the language can be a pain now - but only because language has changed over time - I really don't understand how people can accuse him of being boring or uninteresting :smallconfused: He had penis jokes. Penis jokes! He was hilarious, and touching, and incredibly violent, and he wove a damn good story.

V'icternus
2009-05-28, 10:34 AM
Well, forgive me for not being as interested in the incredibly intellectual humour source that is the penis as you are...

Also, Monty Python would take Shakespeare, rap him up in a carpet, drop him off a bridge, only to have gravity revert and have him fall upwards to be smacked back down by God into a cesspool full of pirahna's.

thubby
2009-05-28, 11:58 AM
you could argue the relevance of their respective works in the world today.

most people don't know shakespeare beyond reputation.

V'icternus
2009-05-28, 12:21 PM
That's true.

Telonius
2009-05-28, 12:31 PM
The key to winning is in controlling the definitions. JK Rowling is a novelist. Shakespeare was a playwright and a minor poet. Skew the discussion to quality of description. Rowling is strong here, Shakespeare is weakest.

If you can find the figures, try to get the worldwide sales of Shakespeare's works. Compare them to sales of the seven Harry Potters. If Shakespeare's collected works still beat them, point out that Rowling's career is not yet finished, and extrapolate popularity based on previous performance.

Point out that the works of "Shakespeare" are not all by the same person; it's unfair to compare one person's work to the works of several people.

Ichneumon
2009-05-28, 12:35 PM
Also, Shakespeare didn't have to raise 2 children all by him self.

Tirian
2009-05-28, 01:25 PM
Poncy? :smallconfused: They're full of [phallus] jokes, innuendo and violence, and his language was (more or less) that of his time.

[...]

So, how's Harry Potter for internal consistency?

Not particularly good. I would say that it's the same problem: you want to throw around a lot of red herrings to add to the suspense, and there isn't a lot of payoff in closing all of those plot holes in the denouement. Rowling is even weaker across works in this regard, but it should be noted that Shakespeare never tried anything as daring as a heptology, and I would be willing to suspect off the top of my head that his entire Folio isn't as long as what she has written up to this point.

I would also be reticent about mentioning that Shakespeare is all about the phallus jokes, as the first two HP books were not much more than flimsy vehicles for booger and vomit humor. (Not that Serpentine was arguing that that was a point you should make.)

If it were me (and I'm glad it isn't), I would press on the vagueness of the word "better" and focus on all of the arenas in which Rowling was quantitatively better. She was infinitely richer, more charitable, and inducted into the Order of the British Empire. In her life up to this point, her works have been translated into countless languages and enjoyed by hundreds of millions, while Shakespeare's influence remained far more provincial for centuries. It would be laughable to compare the opening night of Hamlet to the release date of The Deathly Hallows. To be certain, posterity has afforded Shakespeare much credit in the standardization of the English language and the art of playwriting, but we really can't speculate fairly on whether Rowling might achieve similar prominence out of her own lowbrow popular entertainment four hundred years after her death.

If you want to be really cheeky, you can make your opening argument passively assuming that William Shakespeare was an actor and businessman and reply upon rebuttal that the opposition hasn't proven that he was actually a playwright.

Serpentine
2009-05-28, 01:45 PM
Oo, another way of tackling it is to insist on having them set in comparable timeframes. "J.K.Rowling's books have only been out for a relatively short time", you could say, "and it would be speculative at best to try to project their significance into the future for an equivalent amount of time to that in which Shakespeare has been known. Therefore, it is only fair to compare the first (x) years of Rowling's work to the first (x) years of Shakespeare's".
I have little doubt that Shakespeare would come off the worse in that comparison...

thubby
2009-05-28, 02:55 PM
Oo, another way of tackling it is to insist on having them set in comparable timeframes. "J.K.Rowling's books have only been out for a relatively short time", you could say, "and it would be speculative at best to try to project their significance into the future for an equivalent amount of time to that in which Shakespeare has been known. Therefore, it is only fair to compare the first (x) years of Rowling's work to the first (x) years of Shakespeare's".
I have little doubt that Shakespeare would come off the worse in that comparison...

the obvious counter is that shakespeare had next to 0 distribution in comparison to a modern publishing.

Yarram
2009-05-29, 05:44 AM
Make it more than just about literature. Consider pointing out the huge amounts of money JK has donated to charity.

xanaphia
2009-05-31, 06:08 AM
OK people. I just got back from the competition. It was really fun.

To start with, you were all entirely correct with your arguments. We thought of most of them.

There were two categories, junior and senior. I am in junior, being in grade 10. Four teams showed up to each category.

Junior Debate 1: That J. K. Rowling should have more literary merit than Shakespeare. (affirmative team written first)

TGS (my team) vs Xavier Catholic College
Other Team A vs Other Team B

To start with, it's a stupid topic. "Should have more merit" means nothing. It should be "has more merit" or "should have more recognition."

Here is my speech. It includes a summary of my team's argument. I would spoiler it, but I can't remember how.


I will open with a quote from Romeo and Juliet, act 1, scene 4, lines 57-60.

"Drawn with a team of little atomi,
Over men's noses as they lay asleep,
Her chariot is an empty hazelnut."

I did an assignment on that and I still don't know what it means.

Good evening adjudicator, chairperson, members of the opposition. My name is Buck and I am the third and final speaker of the affirmative team. By now I am sure you are all convinced that Shakey is good, but JK is better.

As third speaker, I will sum up our argument, summarise the opposition's view, draw your attention to their errors and also give one final argument to prove to you once and for all that Shakey is good, but JK is better.

But before I give my final argument and summarise my teammates' excellent arguments, I would like to draw your attention to errors in the opposition's view. Rebut.

Before I summarise my teammates' excellent arguments, I would like to state one final argument. J. k. Rowling did a far better job than Shakespeare in making interesting, powerful female characters. Look at Hermione Granger, Luna Lovegood, Bellatrix Lestrange, and Professor Trelawney. Four entirely varied female characters. Bellatrix Lestrange, an insane sadistic witch, is probably even creepier than Voldemort. Hermione Granger is a protagonist, an extremely intelligent student who ends up as one of Harry's most important allies. Luna Lovegood: insane but in a good way. Her strange mix of weirdness and bravery is fascinating. And Professor McGonagall, who reminds us all of teachers we may have had at one time or another.

Compare that to Shakespeare's work. Look at Juliet: falls in love then kills herself. Lady Macbeth: kills herself. Ophelia: kills herself. Cleopatra: kills herself. Cordelia: is killed. Desdemona: is killed. How uninteresting and unvaried is this?

Lewis, our first speaker, showed that J. K. Rowling has sold more books and earned more money than Shakespeare. He pointed out that she encouraged children to read for fun. Lewis also noted that Shakespeare did not have to compete against many other authors, and that J. K. Rowling wrote far more quickly. By also proving that the Harry Potter series has for more realistic characters and more character development, Lewis has proven that Shakey is good, but JK is better.

Our second speaker, Adi, continued to prove that Shakey is good, but JK is better. He pointed to the way that J. K. Rowling appealed to the masses, and pointed out that the Happy Potter series is the best selling fiction of all time. His final point was that Shakespeare provided entertainment in a time with few other entertainment options, wheras J. K. Rowling has had to compete against computer games and TV. Shakey is good, but JK is better.

Ladies and gentlemen, imagine a world without J K Rowling. Think of all the kids who, to this day, may never have read a book. Ladies and gentlemen, J K Rowling has saved the youth of today, and so is far better than Shakespeare. Shakey is good, but JK is undeniably better.

So yeah. We were all staying in this big building in some town near Brisbane. We all got up at 6:45 to have breakfast. All the junior debates were simultaneous. My team was against this all girl team. Before the debate, they came over and shook hands with us; we were at our table. That was kind of dodgy; we sort of hid our speeches as they came over.

Anyway, the debate. The debate structure in Australia is this. The first speaker of the affirmative team speaks (in this competition all speakers speak for 6 minutes). Then the first speaker of the negative team speaks. The second speaker of the negative team goes next, and so on. After all speakers, there is a short break while the adjudicators confer outside.

Highlights:

1st Speaker Affirmative:
None particularly. Lewis spoke very well. He had memorized his first few palmcards. He began by talking about how much students hate learning about Shakespeare. That's sort of funny, because for the past few days at school he's been walking around at lunchtime with a wooden sword, pretending to be Tybalt. I thought we were winning at this point.

1st Speaker Negative:
Hilarious. Fantastic rebutter. She started out talking about how Shakespeare is famous and great. We were losing now.

2nd Speaker Affirmative:
Adi stuffed up rebuttal.

His points were good though. We were losing.

2nd Speaker Negative:
She started out talking about movies, like Ten Things I Hate About You, which were based off Shakespeare. She also claimed that Harry Potter has already been forgotten in favor of Twilight.

3rd Speaker Affirmative:
I tried to rebut them, but they were kind of hot so I was finding it hard to concentrate on calling them idiots. Got lots of laughs from the long list of female suicides in Shakespeare plays.

3rd Speaker Negative:
She starts off singing.

"Bubble bubble, toil and trouble, cauldron boil and cauldron bubble."

She pointed out that this is from Shakespeare, and appears in the Harry Potter films.

She owned us entirely. We immediately knew we had lost.

And we did. But we got to see all the other debates, and chat up the public speakers and other debaters for the rest of the weekend.

Senior Debate: That the government should have a DNA database of all citizens to help with criminal investigations.

I saw the debate that was done by the team who comes from the same town as me.

High points: Affirmative third speaker. He owned them so friggin much.

"Your entire debate is based on ifs and buts, maybes and possibilities. No wonder you're called the negative team."

"LAdies and gentlemen do not let them pull the wool over your eyes.

"The opposition's arguments have as many flaws [floors] as the Empire State Building. [In Australia, floor is a homonym of flaw.] In contrast, our arguments are concrete and while the opposition tries to poke them with a stick, every time we hear the satisfying sound of the stick breaking."

He won.

Finals of juniors: That our health is the government's responsibility.

The team that steamrolled us (who were now negative) steamrolled their competitors.

High points: The first affirmative speaker talked about free hearing aids provided by the government. Later, the third negative speaker spoke.

"The opposition appear to not want a national DNA database. Perhaps they have something to hide..."

"The opposition appears to have not been listening to our arguments at all. Perhaps they should avail themselves of the free hearing aids they tell us are provided by the government."

I nearly fell off my chair. The poor affirmative team never knew what hit them.

Finals of seniors: That the government should not use prisoner labor to help the community.

The big thing was the difference in definitions.

Affirmative claimed that the labor was:

not voluntary
unskilled manual labor
disliked by the prisoners.


The negative team said the opposites.

This debate was slightly tamer. It was still fun, but the negative team won.

So that's the end of that debating outing. I got to steal loads of earphones from the plane company, so that's all good.

I wrote my second speaker, my first speaker, and a random public speaker love songs.

Anyway, my new project is a GITP debating competition. I'll make a new thread for it in the morning.

Bye.

billtodamax
2009-05-31, 06:29 AM
Bad luck there. It seems that the other team were incredibly good. I assume your first speaker defined everything he could get his hands on?

xanaphia
2009-06-01, 01:05 AM
Yeah, he did. With hindsight, we should have defined merit as "all good things about a person or thing" and then pointed out that there's nothing about literary merit at all in the topic.

Yarram
2009-06-03, 07:40 AM
I won't give any more advice on what you should or shouldn't have argued, as that seems to be a moot point. Hindsight is all well and good, but I havn't met your opponents who were clearly competent.
As a tip who's done this before. What you immediately did wrong is you brought personal stories into the debate. We were warned against this by so many different parties, and saying "I" at any time immediately gets you written off in a competent judges eyes. I guess this is a little thing, but it was immediately apparent to me upon reading your quote.
I'd also like to point out hypotheticals. At any time a hypothetical situation is raised by your opponent's, next rebuttal you need to immediately state that said situation is hypothetical and should be discounted.


"The opposition appears to have not been listening to our arguments at all. Perhaps they should avail themselves of the free hearing aids they tell us are provided by the government."

This was a roundabout way of pointing out that the other team was using hypotheticals and therefore they had no case. What was said instead though was a massive risk, for whilst it was funny, it had the potential to be considered as "contempt of the other side" which is another nono that can result in immediate loss on your side, so I wouldn't risk it.

"The opposition appear to not want a national DNA database. Perhaps they have something to hide..."
This should have also been picked up by the adjudicator. What the third speaker did was deny his opponents of their case, by saying that if they're arguing, then they are "bad people". Denial of case usually resulted in immediate loss to the denying party. That this wasn't picked up on either meant the adjudicator was biased, or just smarted than me, and the other team was so clearly outmatched and outclassed that victory was given to your team despite.