Debating about ‘Mean Girls’

We all have some motions we find very easy to debate about. For some people it’s ethics, for others politics and for some international relations. However, something that everyone loves and everyone would want to argue about are TV series.

Last month, 3 EDS members participated in the Netflix Open in Leiden, a cute little tournament with all the motions based on movies or TV shows. Sounds cool, doesn’t it? We’ll let the participants tell us what they thought.

Lena Martinović – Chief Adjudicator

‘Hey Lena, how was it to be a CA of this tournament?’
‘It was an interesting experience, being a CA. It was nice to be on the other side, and see how the motions were decided, picked and created.’

‘How did you decide on the motions and what movies or TV shows to take them from?’
‘Motions were decided by having us all put in motions in a file ourselves and it could be from anything. There were suggestions for High School Musical, Lord of the Rings, The Godfather, West Wing, Mean Girls, etc. When we decided on the motions we really liked, we made sure that the motions were balanced by coming up with arguments, clashes, etc.
In general, it was really fun and I was very excited that so many people showed up. The biggest difficulty was that our tabbing software broke, and in the end we had to tab by hand.’

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Fenna ten Haaf – Judge

‘Fenna, what was judging at this tournament like compared to other tournaments you have been to?’
‘It was mostly just a lot of fun! The judging process itself was like any other tournament, but the debates were a bit less serious compared to what we normally see, and people made a lot more jokes. Normally when I judge I try to put a lot of focus on feedback as well, but in this case, there was nobody who asked me for feedback. They were there more to have fun than to learn, which is of course also nice!’

‘Have you been a judge in any debate with a motion from a movie or TV show you didn’t see?’
‘Not in this case: the motions were about Mean Girls and How I Met Your Mother, both of which I love! However, as a judge it usually does not matter anyway if you don’t know much about a motion because you are supposed to just listen to the speakers and judge if what they say sounds believable. It did make me able to appreciate the references that people made though, I am sure that I would have been quite confused otherwise.’

Emma van der Horst – Debater

‘Hello Emma, how was your overall experience at the Netflix Open?’
‘It was a lot of fun! I got to debate with Kyra, a high school student from Rotterdam. We had some really enjoyable and high-level debates and I was surprised to see so many teams on a Tuesday evening and also from all over the country.’

‘What did you think of the motions?’

‘The motions were very good, they were balanced and interesting! It was challenging though to debate people and scenario’s that are fictional, so you have to debate a little different than usual.’

giphy‘Did you come across any motion from a movie or TV show you hadn’t seen? How did you tackle this problem?’
‘Luckily I had seen How I Met Your Mother and Mean Girls, so it was not a problem for me. It had been though a while since I had seen Mean Girls so it was difficult to recall everything from the movie. However the CA team worded the motions and infoslide in a way that you didn’t need to have seen the series or movies to debate them. Of course it helped to know more, like with every motion, but all debates were doable even for a layman.’