SATIRE: A Guide on Argumentation, by a Speech and Debate Champion


Richard Park

Here are 5 ways you can blow someone out of the water in a heated debate:

  • Use the question “Are you stupid?” When you are losing the upper hand and your opponent’s points actually make sense, gently state “are you stupid?” before you offer your response. (“Are you an idiot? / Are you dumb?” work just as well). A time-tested strategy taught in both AP Capstone and Speech & Debate, this comeback will shock your opponent with your bravery and superior knowledge.
  • Breathe heavily and sigh when your opponent speaks. If you raise your chest and pull in your back as you loudly sigh, you effectively prove that whatever your opponent said was irrelevant, invalid, and comparable to a toddler’s tantrum. Cracking your neck and knuckles also greatly compliments this strategy.
  • Use the statement “Chill bro.” Emotions will often get involved in your argument. When you find yourself becoming angry, do not apologize nor back down – doing so shows others that even someone like you has flaws. Instead, when your opponent begins to become upset in response, interject a swift “Yoooo… chill bro” while raising up both hands open wide. By showing that you have recognized his anger, the audience sees concretely that you are unquestionably right, and that weak-kneed tree branch needs to go back to preschool.
  • Occasionally glance at your watch. Humbly lift up your watch and stare at it for 3 seconds whenever your opponent speaks. He will stumble over his words every time, bewildered that someone has the courage to do something so respectful and kind. By signalling that he is not worth your time, you politely remind him that you can walk away at a moment’s notice, and that he should be thankful for your presence. After all, you are very humble. (This trick also works wonders with first dates)
  • Smile and shake your head disapprovingly. With practice, this technique can prove to be your trump card – my secret to winning the Nevada Speech & Debate State Tournament 7 years ago. A little snicker or, if you can execute it, chuckle is best used when your opponent nears his conclusion. He will understand that whatever he says is so unimaginably stupid, he needs you to rescue him from his cave; finally, he is enlightened! Your audience will fall in love (and so shall the ladies); when have they witnessed such a humble, down-to-earth debater?