An incoherent day. Narrative yet to emerge. So many teams on two - ANU 1, 2, 3, 7, 8 for example. ANU 4, 5, 6 on one. For a minute the projector stopped showing the draw and started showing something that looked like the Stars, or the Draw of Life as they are sometimes known.
Yesterday began muggy - became cold, the wind rose, the skies clouded - today it is wet. To me this suggested that the world was getting ready for some ~event~ - but then I remembered to stop my brain from making unjustified causal connections, which then suggested to me that the event was a debating tournament, like Easters!
Last night there was dancing. Dawn - hot cross buns and apples. Then Abigail McCarthy brutally indicting Jessy and Callum for their prioritisation of love above strict punctuality, and Dave telling us about the human brain. Then Round 1 (we'll collate ANU's results at the end of the day, but ANU 1, 2, 3, 6, 8 got up, 4 went down). Then sandwiches. Now Women's forum, in which everyone is being very polite and collaborative. Good discussion of equity. Good point Clyde ("preferred pronouns" aren't just "preferred").
Silent rounds can be unsettling - and not cos you don't know how you did, cos goo.gl/HMpi17 exists. You miss having the arguments you gave given back, tied up with string - tied up with what everyone else said. It kinda feels like you're just saying words, just talking - in fact adjudications are the only substantive, non-ritual things that separate debating from talking. They contain the promise of debating: that when people argue they really are all thinking and talking about the same thing, really communicating, really living in the same world. "Engagement" is a little, hypothetical, bridge over solipsism
Hypothetical being the operative word: all systems of communication are reductive, though you forget that because, within a system, it is useful to forget. Silent rounds prepare your departure, they push you out of the cage you've come to love (as they say). That way, when the break's announced, hopefully you don't care - you've remembered the vast swathes of yourself that neither debating nor anything else can see.
Then, if you break (as ANU A and Vincent did! aww yes!), you get back in the cage and it all starts again!!
Usually, the rule is: the first act's wonder collapses into the second act's drama. So it was today: tougher topics (at least, I thought so - my only reaction to the Syrian internet motion was "but but sir, Syria is a whole country") with more moving parts, closer and closer top rooms, successes compromised and failures recovered from. More rounds in the past and fewer in the future - the story of your team's or institution's tournament solidifying and trying to write the rest itself. Hopefully it's written in ANU's favour - with A on 14 and on the way to breaking, and B and C on 11 with the time to recover, and our adjudicators all in good rooms - but dramas and struggles make you see more than that. Even stalking the tab - banality of banalities - should impress that on you. So many people making their contorted way through the same system - such a sea of unsung desires beneath the couple of rooms you see on Youtube. It should be more humbling to win debates than to lose them.
Sitting there and having these thoughts, it seemed fitting that when ANU A got to one of those rooms (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MXZFZNAkCa8), against some of the best teams in the competition, the spirits of the universe intervened and defused all drama by flooding the whole room with water, and replacing the speakers' voices with the music of those speakers' innermost natures. Goldie became a series of cute cosmic beeps and boops, at once bouncy and starlike. At 46:36 in MDG's speech there was a brief flute duet, suggesting that deep - very deep - in his soul he is a shy and innocent wood sprite. Only Callum was audible.
The sincerest good luck to everyone tomorrow!
The motion for round 6 is This house believes that developing countries should adopt economic development policies that heavily disincentivise urbanisation. These are the positions and teams that ANU drew:
Particularly excitingly, ANU A are in the top room! As Goldie's three pet interests are economics, urban planning, and Africa - we trust they will hold their own. Their debate is live-streamed here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MXZFZNAkCa8&feature=youtu.be (However the audio-quality leaves much to be desired).
Vincent and Tristan continue to chair, and Holly and Grace are panelling like champs!
The motion for Round 5 is This house believes that the international community should cut off internet access in Syria. These are the teams and positions ANU drew:
Vincent is continuing to chair and Tristan has been promoted to a chair! Grace and Holly are continuing to panel.
Results: ANU A win their debate and are on 13 points, ANU B come second and are on 11, ANU C take a fourth and remain on 8.
The topic for this round is This House would prohibit the media from reporting on the mental illness of those accused of crimes. ANU has drawn as follows:
Vincent is continuing to chair. Grace, Holly, and Tristan are panellists on important rooms. Good luck all!
Suddenly the first three rounds of Worlds wrenched themselves from the future to the past. And, in the moments we glimpsed them passing through, they were great! All the topics were super interesting and original and, it seems to me, rigorously balanced (except the liberal arts one, obviously opp-weighted, says the privileged philosophy major) - and the streamed debates did them justice (especially those third debates - Ashish's breadth! Emma's stunning introduction!). And ANU did super well, which is particularly great if you're from ANU or of ANU inclination, A and B on 8 and C on 7 - congrats to them all and good luck tomorrow! And the official social media coverage has been so thorough - even up to accidentally posting, then taking down, a ranking after Round 3 that took speaker scores into account, which only sad people like me saw, and quickly unsaw - that there's almost nothing left for me to say. But I have noticed a few interesting things, like
- Political will, as a concept, slowly becomes meaningless before contemplation, like a snowman before sun
- The colour "beige" has become such a resonant insult in the debating world because it is true of debating itself, which means it hurts
- Since Sydney Mini, violent thunderclaps follow Tyrone Connell around everywhere
- You can't fight tribal instincts - I swell with embarrassing pride at the successes of my friends from ANU
The motion for Round 3 is This House believes that in areas of socio-economic deprivation, schools should train students in vocational skills to the exclusion of the liberal arts. Following is the draw for Round 3:
ANU B is facing some familiar faces in an all Australia room. UWA B is Theo Stapleton and Max Riley, UNSW C Pippa Reeves and Julian Vertoudakis, Monash C is Keefe Chan and Tom Stansfield.
Vincent is continuing to chair. Grace, Holly, and Tristan are all second panellists. Go team!
The topic for Round 2 is This House believes that environmental movements should support climate engineering that fundamentally alters the environment in an attempt to combat global warming.
All ANU teams are on 3 points, and face some challenging competition:
Vincent continuing to chair. Holly, Grace, and Tristan are panelling on good rooms. Best of luck!
Harvard A comprises Bo Seo and Fanelesibonge Mashwama. Not only do they win the award for most dramatically contrasting number of syllables in their respective names, they were also on Team Australia and Team Swaziland respectively on the year they faced off at the WSDC final.