Debates That Are Not Debates


Recently, a series of brawls too place in my English class. Questions were created from the book, All Quiet on the Western Front, which contained many debatable topics related war. There weren’t necessarily debates because each team was able to pick their own stance and side. If both teams that were against each other had the same view on a subject, the team with the better points, evidence, and presentation wins. We kept in mind that listing pros and cons from each point of view was needed in case we had to rebut or counter an attack.

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During the Brawl

What happened was teams kept on agreeing with each other. There wasn’t really anything to add on to what each had to say except rewording and recycling points. One of my group members was an extremely good presenter. She wasn’t afraid to go all out in front of the class. Her demonstrations and examples were on point. I learned a lot from her, but failed to deliver my points clearly when it was my turn to brawl. I was at a lost for words because I get really nervous standing in front of the class. It wasn’t a big problem for me in middle school, but it was in elementary school, weird. Anyway, I do have some regrets and I realized that I still have many things to improve on.

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Being Memorable

One of the key ways to get a point across is to make your presentation memorable. Incorporating a recent international or well known event into your speech is one way to do that. Another way to connect with the audience would be to just speak loudly and confidently. This was a problem for me because I stuttered a lot. Using hand gestures or making eye contact helps draw attention as well. By using ethos, pathos, and logos, people are more likely to remember for longer periods of time what kind of a speech was given.

Connections to Life

Be confident. Be passionate. Be clear. These qualities are essential to succeed and be at the top. No one can can beat you if you know what you’re doing and have support to back you up. I got a lot out of these brawls. I especially took interest in the question: “Is war necessary? ” because I never understood why we had to fight over never  ending conflict. From my point of view, I always believed that instead of war, a series of games could be played such as sports, board games, card duels, and what not. For example in a soccer game, each team can show their nationalism and pride and have the same competition feel at the same time. There’s no need for extreme bloodshed. War repeats itself over and over again which costs millions of lives, but if a rematch had to be held again for these games, no one would die. My teacher mentioned that instead of fighting a war over territory or unnecessary things, it’d be better to have a war over poverty or over something that would benefit us as a whole. I get where he’s coming from and wondered what would happen if instead of war, we had bets on whichever side could achieve the most progress in a year or so. No matter the outcome, both sides will benefit in the end. Nationwide problems including poverty and diseases could be eliminated if instead of fighting a typical war, we fought on whichever side gets rid of these problems faster. It’s just something that’s been bothering me for a while now and I’m glad I’m not the only one that thought war was unnecessary and that there are other things out there that could replace it. There are many solutions to a problem, but war shouldn’t be one of them.

The Ultimate Message

The book, All Quiet on the Western Front, as well as many other works out there about war was written to reveal the pains of war to prevent it from ever happening again. The authors and artists use their works to reveal another side of war that remained buried. Even with people educated about war around, why does war still occur? World War I ended and everyone thought, “We can’t let this happen again,” but what came next? The second world war, and following it, the cold war. If people just took their time to really connect with people and get to know them, lives wouldn’t have been lost, families and friends wouldn’t have become distant, jobs wouldn’t have been lost, and people could have been happy. My point is try to understand others around you and accept them for who they are.





Can You Take It?

It’s easy to be nice, boys
When everything’s O.K.
It’s easy to be cheerful,
When your having things your way.
But can you hold your head up
And take it on the chin.
When your heart is breaking
And you feel like giving in?

It was easy back in England,
Among the friends and folks.
But now you miss the friendly hand,
The joys, and songs, and jokes.
The road ahead is stormy.
And unless you’re strong in mind,
You’ll find it isn’t long before
You’re dragging far behind.

You’ve got to climb the hill, boys;
It’s no use turning back.
There’s only one way home, boys,
And it’s off the beaten track.
Remember you’re American,
And when you reach the crest,
You’ll see a valley cool and green,
Our country at its best.

You know there is a saying
That sunshine follows rain,
And sure enough you’ll realize
That joy will follow pain.
Let courage be your password,
Make fortitude your guide;
And then instead of grousing,
Just remember those who died.

– Anonymous


The Rhyme of the Ancient Bombardier

Come gather round ‘me hearties’,
I’ve a salty tale to tell,
of Gunners sailin’ dinghies,
Thru’ foaming, surging, hell.

Of ‘Ahab’ Mac, and Maori Joe,
old bos’n Bev Culhane,
and Matt Tepou was there as well,
four boats and gentle rain.

“So it’s paddle down the river
and don’t be slow,
we’re gonna take the boats
where a duck won’t go…
Floatsam! Jetsam! Gunners in the tide;
the Whakatane river, is deep and fast, and wide. ”

The river flows, the wind it blows,
the rain comes fast and thunder,
White capped rocks and waterfalls,
the first boat goes asunder.

There’s four men in the river,
“I’m drown’in” what they yell,
then Snow he pulls the others out,
the waters cold as hell.


We can’t give up, we just won’t stop,
for it’s nay been done a’fore,
the first boat she’s a’floundered,
but we’ve still got three boats more.

So on we sail, past ‘Ahabs’ boat,
just twelve men left are we,
there’s ‘Radar’ eating chocolate,
his paddle on his knee.


Young Maori Joe, his boat is next,
it’s sinking by the stern.
Was it the rocks that claimed his craft?
I guess we’ll never learn.

There’s ‘water water everywhere’,
and not a drop to succor,
into the tide went all their gear,
followed by their tucker.


The river rushes onward,
there’s cliffs on either side,
a log, it blocks the way ‘me lads’,
the gorge is ten foot wide.

‘Hey Mita!’ push the bow down,
and Wally raise the stern,
we’ve got to fit her thru’ the gap,
there’s death at every turn.


Well it’s eight bells ringin’,
and it’s two boats still afloat…
Is that a banjo playin’?
or do I hear a goat.

A tearing sound, a boats gone down,
it’s hull is torn wide open,
old bosun’ Bev, his one boat left,
he’ll sail on I’m a’hopin.


There’s Bev and ‘Radar’, Pete and Wally;
in the last canoe.
There’s a waterfall that’s comin’ up…
‘Ye Gods!’ what should I do???

So: Leave the sailin’ to the Navy,
the walking to the Grunts,
get back to Papakura…
and clean those bloody guns!

– Mike Subritzky
161 Battery

Grainy picture of my teammate and I preparing for the debate:

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