Sharon RG (Rowan Gray)
Organization and Background
Hi! I'm Rowan. I only joined the circuit my senior year but I wound up being decently successful. I'm making this page because I mostly ran arguments related to east Asian philosophy– which is an extremely under-explored area of philosophical discussion in this event. I was one of very few debaters reading Buddhism-inspired arguments and, to my knowledge, the only person to have ever run Daoism-inspired arguments on the national level.
On this page I will upload the backfiles that I wrote/collaborated with others on. I believe that open access to information is incredibly important– I know it was especially valuable for small school kids like me. This will include basically everything I would go into round with, and represents hundreds of hours of work of compilation, cutting, organizing, and tagging on my part.
Please treat these files with respect and use them responsibly– if you want to run the arguments please recut every card you use to make sure you understand it. East-Asian philosophy has so few reps on the circuit, it's important that people that run it do so responsibly.
If you want to try running these arguments please feel free to take anything here and please get in touch! I'd be happy to help out in any way.
You can reach me by email at [email protected]
I'll break up this wiki chronologically– it should be relatively easy to find anything you're looking for. I'll put all my negatives at the bottom because those files were compiled throughout the course of the year. I’ll also throw in some general files at the very bottom.
The last tournament I competed in was Big Lex– after then I had to quit debate for mental health reasons.
Also for some random reason the wiki warns everyone that the files I uploaded might have viruses in them– I promise you none of them do; they're just very big Word docs.
On this topic I was just getting started in the event– before doing LD I had been a moderately successful PF debater. My partner had to leave debate and so senior year I started doing LD by myself, with the ample help of many of my amazing friends.
LD is an extremely intimidating and difficult event to start, even for someone with a lot of debate experience, because so much of the terminology, norms, and strategies are extremely convoluted and honestly pretty arbitrary. It took a while for me to learn these norms, learn how to spread, learn how to flow trix and other stuff like that. That learning curve, along with a lack of understanding of what kinds of arguments can do well in LD was what made me pretty competitively unsuccessful during this period.
However, I still think my Daoist aff from this topic was extremely cool– I think it's a decent example of an aff that toes the line on topicality where none of the topical disads will link to the plan but it doesn't link cleanly to T (at least in my opinion). It also introduced the theory of power that I would go on to use in every Daoist aff and k I ever ran.
The poem at the top was entirely for aesthetic value– I never went for it as offense. I actually really like the idea of having aesthetic pieces within arguments that don't function as independent offense but rather work to emphasize and validate the main work. I did this mostly as a reference to the ways in which classical east-Asian philosophical texts intermingle philosophy with songs and poetry.
On this topic I also read a Daoist aff– this one is significantly better because I got better at writing affs and I understood how the Daoist theory of power operated in round. Sadly I did not get smart enough to come up with a cool new name.
This is probably my favorite aff that I've ever read in debate. Rounds with this were so fun because they could go in so many different directions– it really made for such a diverse and fulfilling set of tournaments. This was also around the time where my frontlines started getting chonkier.
This is the Daoist aff that I read at College Prep.
I think the theory of power is best executed in this aff but sadly the topic didn't really fit the aff as well as it did on the RTS and WTO topics. I had fun reading it regardless. I also think this poem is my favorite. The frontlines in this document are also pretty extensive and took me a long time to write and think through.
This is the Buddhist aff that I read at Big Lex. I spent a lot of time writing and prepping this aff over winter break as well as throughout January– I'd like to think that it turned out pretty well. This aff is a lot more radical than any of the Daoist affs I read.
This aff being more radical definitely made it more strategic. A lot of ks had a very hard time linking to it and it’s basically built to counter T incredibly well. It was easier having a super solid and easy answer to T than having to defend a no-link with my Daoist affs, even though those could competently answer T standards as well. This aff only ever lost one round and it was to truth testing– I never got extremely competent at answering it and Shrey is a phenomenal debater. I think in the right hands this aff could be much much more successful than it was.
I enjoyed reading this aff a lot but I think that running it and understanding it probably helped convince me that debate is not great for the people that do it. I’ll go deeper into why Buddhism is awesome in debate when I talk about the kritik.
Here's my Daoism backfile– I love this kritik. I think more people should run it. I think it's pretty cool and very true. The trueness of this kritik is definitely my favorite part of it– I've read so many arguments that I do not believe in and running one that you think is true makes you debate so much better and have more fun doing it. I also cut nearly every card in this backfile so a lot of this material is being released for the first time on this page.
This kritik is pretty interesting from a debate perspective– it’s engagement with a lot of metaphysical questions makes it a very interesting and tricky perspective to establish in round. In my opinion, the k links to almost every aff on the circuit except for some Deleuzian affs but those are super uncommon.
If you’ve read/encountered Deleuze before you might notice some similarities between Deleuze’s metaphysical theories and Daoist ‘cosmological’ (not a huge fan of this term but that’s how most people discuss it) ideas. I have two thoughts on these similarities. 1- Deleuze 100% stole a whole bunch of his stuff from Daoism and Buddhism and just never credited them in any meaningful way. 2- DO NOT PRESUME Deleuze=Daoism– people tried this by reading their a2 Deleuze blocks against my Daoist stuff and it usually failed in major ways to understand the arguments I was making.
I think Daoism as a philosophy is also incredibly useful for gaining a better understanding of how the universe and society works. I’d highly encourage anyone who is interested to read the Ames and Hall translation of the Daodejing, you can find it on the internet for free here.
Here's my Buddhism backfile– this file is a lot smaller than my Daoist one because I only got to read it at one tournament– but I think it has an enormous amount of potential.
This file relies a lot more on compiled evidence than my Daoist file did. There are a lot of notable debaters, mostly in college policy, that have run Buddhism on the national level and I've left all their watermarks on the cards including on the ones I've recut. Their disclosure was an invaluable resource to me and inspired me in part to make this page. That said, I did recut every card I ever read in round and did many many hours of my own research and learning to get a better sense of the theory of power before I ever read the k. Any card without the watermark [email protected] is untouched by me.
I never lost a round running this K and I went for it nearly every round I ran it in. I think the best part of the K and the part that makes it so viable competitively it’s the diverse links that you can generate from the K. There are fantastic links on everything from capitalism to communication to democracy to extinction impacts that let me create a nuanced attack on every aff I hit.
My personal favorite part of the K, and the reason why I wrote a K aff based on it, was the alternative. There’s a bunch of different alts that have been read with Buddhism but in my opinion the best one by far is the politics of mindfulness. It’s an alt that’s easy to understand, easy to explain, and incredibly powerful in dismantling most affs on the circuit. I love it. I hope more people run alts like it because I think that would make the debate space better.
Here's my Quakerism backfile. This was a fun little critique that Sean Wallace<3 and I dreamed up one late night. We read one article linking Quakerism to postmodernism and this K was born. The entire K only cites this one article. I read this a few times in practice rounds (I'm sorry Holden) and once in tournament.
This K is pretty much big words go brrr but I still had fun writing it and reading it. It's a decent if fairly standard k of communication and debate that applies to every aff. Arguably links to most k affs, even the anti-debate ones (not my Buddhist aff though haha), and to be honest it's a pretty decent strategy vs k affs, if only because it's so weird that you can respond to their back half bullshit with your own back half bullshit.
Here’s my A2 Kritik metafile. This thing is basically just a compilation of a crap ton of college policy a2k backfiles and as a result is mind blowingly long– over a thousand pages. I did not read everything in this file closely and I don’t know if everything in here is good or worth reading. I used different parts of this file throughout my career, mostly as a repository of cards that I could pull out if I got desperate. This should not be a substitute for writing your own K frontlines– do your own work please. If you only use this file you will get embarrassed and your judge will laugh at you.
Uploading this file didn't work because it's too big. If you want it please email me and I will send it to you.
Here’s my A2 Impact metafile. This thing is pretty similar to my a2k file– it’s very long and I can’t verify the utility or goodness of all of it. I thought it was useful at times to have and I’m sad looking back that I never got a chance to read 6 minutes of ‘US China war good’.