School Debates

Anything that doesn't fit anywhere else, but that's still CH related.

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rockfreak
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Re: School Debates

Post by rockfreak » Mon Sep 21, 2015 7:51 pm

rockfreak wrote:Does the school still have a debating society? I still have a vague memory of some of the debates that took place in the 1950s and one that sticks in my mind went thus: "This house would rather be a minor athlete than a major aesthete." Have I got that the right way round??? If so it would be an interesting comment on the philistine attitudes in society in general back then and public schools in particular. Also, there was one in 1956 or thereabouts that recommended banning rock 'n' roll (before Seaman actually went and did it). I believe that Elvis, Little Richard et al carried the day, largely due to all the rockers and rebels at the school turning up in numbers to ensure the victory.
Good to know that debates still roll on at CH. But I'm still wondering whether we decided that we'd rather squeeze into the South Eastern Counties pole vaulting team than be Oscar Wilde.

William
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Re: School Debates

Post by William » Mon Sep 21, 2015 8:30 pm

One meeting of the Debating Society around 1955 was an address by Bryan Magee, on debating techniques. He was then President of the Oxford University Union (ie the prestigious debating society). I recall him saying that the secret to effective debating was frequently the converse of the structure of a piece of written work. For public speaking he said don’t make your communication gently lead up to an impressive conclusion, as is often done in writing. It is better to start a verbal address with a bang, then develop it and finally conclude with another bang. But on reflection that too can be a good way to write. Any comments?

sejintenej
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Re: School Debates

Post by sejintenej » Tue Sep 22, 2015 9:48 am

William wrote: It is better to start a verbal address with a bang, then develop it and finally conclude with another bang. But on reflection that too can be a good way to write. Any comments?
That has served me well.
In one competition piece I started off by stating that none of Jesus Christ, Mohammed, Gautama Bhudda, Ghandi could be the most influential person who ever lived because their influence extended for no more than 2000 years and probably less than half of people who live or had lived had never heard of them or their teachings. If that, presented to an international, mainly Christian audience is not a bang then what is?
I then went on and on about the person being accorded the respectful pluralisation, being nearly worshiped from the yurts of the Siberian shamen to the ethereal palaces of Alpha Centauri and all that blurb. The name of the most influential person who ever lived was finally disclosed in a suffix - going out with another bang.
“When you arise in the morning think of what a privilege it is to be alive, to think, to enjoy, to love ...”

Marcus Aurelius, Meditations 167AD

michael scuffil
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Re: School Debates

Post by michael scuffil » Tue Sep 22, 2015 10:04 am

How to destroy a debating society: hold debates in the summer.

This happened to Emmanuel College Debating Society. It was very distinguished, and very old. One day the president decided to find out how old by ploughing through back copies of the college magazine. When he came to the first issue, he found that the magazine had been set up on the initiative of the Debating Society. It also had some very distinguished members, not least the judge Norman Birkett (Lord Birkett), who, about a week before his death, saved Ullswater from the ravages of Manchester City Council by making a powerful speech in the House of Lords, which then rejected the Manchester Corporation Bill.

Anyway, one year, the officials of the ECDS decided to hold debates in the summer term. As some had predicted, no one came, no new officials were elected for the following year, and consequently no debates took place. (It was revived later, but revivals are never quite the same.)
Th.B. 27 1955-63

Kit Bartlett
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Re: School Debates

Post by Kit Bartlett » Sat Sep 26, 2015 11:50 am

One subject at a debate in the early nineteen fifties was the motion "that this House would rather be married to Mrs. Beeton than Ava Gardner". I forget the result.
I suppose one could adapt this to present day celebrities . Any suggestions as to suitable contrasts ?

Richard
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Re: School Debates

Post by Richard » Sat Sep 26, 2015 12:39 pm

I recollect that debate. I think the motion was carried. If so it perhaps reflects the relatively poor food at CH and the (conventional) morality of those days, for one argument certainly made was that Ava Gardner at that time was Mrs Frank Sinatra.

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J.R.
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Re: School Debates

Post by J.R. » Sat Sep 26, 2015 4:17 pm

Richard wrote:I recollect that debate. I think the motion was carried. If so it perhaps reflects the relatively poor food at CH and the (conventional) morality of those days, for one argument certainly made was that Ava Gardner at that time was Mrs Frank Sinatra.

How about, "That this House would rather be married to Nigella Lawson than Katie Price".

That might pose a bit of a problem for a red-blooded school-boy !
John Rutley. Prep B & Coleridge B. 1958-1963.

keibat
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Re: School Debates

Post by keibat » Tue Sep 29, 2015 8:35 pm

To clutter a good thread about School Debates with personal chat:
Incidentally, your surname [Battarbee] does ring a bell with me. Were you conected with the band, perchance ?


Alas, No. I was too lazy to practise an instrument properly – had to give up even the piano for this reason, and still can't play it, which I nowadays regret. (Try leading a small choir when you can't demonstrate the point and/or accompany on the keyboard!) But I sang in every choir I could get into – Chapel, Madrigal, Big School.
Keith Battarbee, remind me, was it you who appeared on University Challenge in the early 60s, answering the key question at the last gasp and winning the thing for your college, or have I got someone else?


Yes, I was on University Challenge – and gosh, it's still running, a sort of distant cousin of The Archers! – though after all this time I don't remember anything about the questions or who won. I do remember being surprised and amused at the rickety carpentry of the set at Granada Television – it all looked so well-finished on screen, but actually was quite flimsy.

And I too am glad that Debating is still alive and well at CH. It makes engagement with serious (and trivial) ideas into a public sport, and thus turns Thinking – and Arguing – into something with a similar kind of audience appeal as scoring tries / goals / runs / or, these days, baking (I have just very recently been persuaded to watch The Great British Bake-Off – and loved it :P

rockfreak
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Re: School Debates

Post by rockfreak » Fri Oct 02, 2015 9:39 pm

William wrote:One meeting of the Debating Society around 1955 was an address by Bryan Magee, on debating techniques. He was then President of the Oxford University Union (ie the prestigious debating society). I recall him saying that the secret to effective debating was frequently the converse of the structure of a piece of written work. For public speaking he said don’t make your communication gently lead up to an impressive conclusion, as is often done in writing. It is better to start a verbal address with a bang, then develop it and finally conclude with another bang. But on reflection that too can be a good way to write. Any comments?
In my days in music journalism in the 1970s I wrote for the NME and we were encouraged to put in as many bangs as possible. This was taken very much to heart by writers like Nick Kent who always considered that his views were at least as important as the rock stars he was interviewing (his drug intake was certainly as impressive as theirs) and never shrank from causing fuss, aggro and controversy at every turn. And he was banging Chrissie Hynde of The Pretenders for a while, so yes, the more bangs the merrier.

Straz
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Re: School Debates

Post by Straz » Wed Oct 07, 2015 12:43 am

Hilarious comment Rockfreak. Hopefully it won't be moderated...
I wasn't much cop at this debating lark, but I do recall Rex Sweeney being rather fine in the early 70s.
Paul Strange
Leigh Hunt A 1969-71
Peele A 71-75

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J.R.
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Re: School Debates

Post by J.R. » Wed Oct 07, 2015 11:47 am

Straz wrote:Hilarious comment Rockfreak. Hopefully it won't be moderated...
I wasn't much cop at this debating lark, but I do recall Rex Sweeney being rather fine in the early 70s.

I can see no reason for moderation. A clever post by 'Freaky' !!
John Rutley. Prep B & Coleridge B. 1958-1963.

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