I think this is generally a pretty lame discussion. Every year at end of the year tournaments a lot of stupid affs are broken. During the year a lot of dumb affs are broken just as a lot of dumb disads, counterplans etc etc. Not really a big deal. A few points not directly addressed in these other posts:
1. The negative strategies that most people come up with against stock affs that people read all year generally one of 4 things
2. ridic. abusive
3. not rooted in the literature about the affirmative
These are ranked in order of occurence- i.e. what happens most often. If the negative frequently employs 1-3, then what is the point of a new aff? Zero. So in most instances reading a new aff is pretty stupid. Only when you are debating a team that could actually use 4 do you need to worry about whether or not you should read a new aff. 99/100 times this isn’t a factor. I tried to think about when I was in highschool if there were any aff’s that were big/heart of the topic that I frequently changed my strategy against and had specific args or if I was (like Roy) just blowing smoke. The best I could come up with was DADT. I think I debated GBN runnign DADT like 8 times that year and did the following:
1. Went for K
2. Pump faked the K and went for T
3. Politics and case
4. The K again
5. Courts/Politics + Deference net benefit
6. Politics case
7. case /readiness disad
8. the k
While the K had “specific links”, I wouldn’t really count that as a specific strategy sine I maybe cut like 5-10 cards max about the aff and just plugged that into various other arguments. So really the only case specific strategies were the case arguments (which were similar in all debates except readiness) and maybe courts/deference although that was more of a military generic than a specific DADT strat. This was vs for sure my biggest rival team and the team I debated most often, and still I didn’t really prepare a killer case specific strat. So I think holding hsers today to a really high standard in that regard would be somewhat hypocritical of me.
So what is teh value of new affs?
1. Psych out factor- people get worried for whatever reason
2. Less coaching- coaches won’t be able to discuss as much with kids before the debate what they should be reading/the arguments that will be involved and how they should be handled.
3. To avoid 4.
So most of the time 1-2 is what you are going for, since most teams are never ready with 4. Are there any other reasons you would want a new aff?
1. Your current aff sucks- this probably applies a lot. It could be it just sucks generically or it could be you have already been owned by the other team on that aff before and think a repeat is likely.
2. You think new affs are the thign to do because all the cool kids are doing it.
Pretty stupid reasons. So if the aff is doign something stupid, why do we need to be concerned with this? I don’t think new affs are anymore of a problem then new spending tradeoff disads. Both are generally stupid, that doesnt mean that you should be runnign your current spending tradeoff disad and “defending your house” because you are a tough guy. You should just be making intelligent decisions, making smart arguments.
My gut reaction to Roy’s post was “oh yea, stupid new affs, those are lame”. But in thinking about it a bit more I think its not a big deal. If the neg is ready with their house it shouldn’t matter much. Odds are the neg wasn’t ready with a 4 strat to the other teams old aff anyway.