The Great Debaters critique
Last night I watched The Great Debaters and I have a few problems with the movie.
For me the skill and fun in debating is to:
- not prepare speeches (more than say 10 minutes in advance)
- to analyse the key arguments from both sides
Some of the most satisfying debates is when I would have to argue for something I loathe, like patents. In the movie, besides the “welfare” speech, I didn’t see the emphasis on the great debating skill of playing devil’s advocate.
The movie didn’t really detail how debating works. I recall there being just one reference to a fallacy in the film. This could have been explored far better by the writers, instead of a dull love triangle.
The affirmative = proposition and the negative = opposition. Grrr…
There was too much emphasis on dates, fact & figures, references and statistics. Any good debater knows to stay clear of that. Quotes (just one for me) are OK, but not to base a speech around!
The movie actually raises the age old classic example of Ghandi and his peaceful protest. I love to rip that argument to pieces, as a good counter-argument was the British Empire was too weak from the World War to hold onto India.
The big speeches in the movie were sadly generally emotive ones and played to their parts or rather to the the colour of their skin.