Your opening feels weak to me. It may be true that the question is ultimately subjective, but then most TDL questions technically are. Having a whole paragraph explaining the subjectivity of the question only to end it with another brief declaration of your stance (which had already been declared in the previous paragraph) was a waste of wordage in my opinion.
It all picks up when you start arguing properly, and highlighting that McCartney has the lion’s share of the best Beatles songs was a great opener. The next point regarding McCartney’s superior musical education was an excellent supporting argument, though perhaps could have done with more direct comparison to what Lennon brought to the table.
Listing off the songs didn’t really work for me, but you hit the gravy with the Yesterday mention. Its status as the most covered song in pop music history is a massive tick in the box for McCartney over Lennon, with regards to their influence on others and the longevity of that influence.
Even though you go a’song-listing again in the next paragraph, you use it to much greater effect in highlighting McCartney’s influence on the ever-expanding musical direction of the band. Following this on with the points about Lennon’s drug use affecting his productivity while McCartney’s work ethic continued driving the band was pretty flawless.
I’m not sure if I can personally agree with the parts about McCartney’s solo career continuing to create interest in the Beatles, as my opinion (which I ain’t changing any time soon) is that Lennon’s death-limited amount of solo work pisses all over everything McCartney did after the Beatles. I suppose he has created more and more exposure by continuing to release new material and generally just being around to remind everybody that they existed, but I think maybe the Beatles would still be as revered even if he had retired after the Frog Chorus (or preferably just before it). You do argue your stance well enough here though so I’m not discounting it.
Again, however, you come back to stating what might be the truth regarding the Beatles’ success being a result of both song-writers’ synergy with each other, but it weakens the effect of your pro-McCartney efforts prior to the final paragraph. This point could have been acknowledged without two whole paragraphs dedicated to it while also book-ending your McCartney arguments with explanations that the answer is either subjective or that there is no answer (as in, they were both equally responsible). I suggested this question to be debated and I kinda had it in mind that it was already accepted that the success was obviously down to both of them, thus the question was to be more about picking at the details to see whose contributions were more important when compared side by side. I don’t think referencing the fact that the success obviously needed both song-writers to achieve the success they did was a great idea. There are, of course, two other judges who didn’t think like that going into this so who knows if it turns out you were right to mention it so much.
All in all though, this was a great read and a very good debate.
The Lady Killer
The opening couple of paragraphs missed their mark with me. I understand defining success and whatnot, but really it has already been defined by the actual success the Beatles had. Their actual success being the barometer is also the conclusion you come to in your opening gambit so I’m left wondering what the point this bit was to be quite honest. It was basically just a very long-winded way of telling me you were going to argue for McCartney.
Your Come Together section has an interesting dismissal of a pro-Lennon argument. That he was the first in the band is definitely the kind of argument the opposite stance might take, so countering it so efficiently was a good idea. Obviously, it would have been ideal had your opponent took the opposite stance and made such an argument, but you still score points for including a good counter.
You continue with a similar point made by your opponent, regarding McCartney’s superior musical education and ability. You make this point a little better though with the direct comparison to what Lennon brought to the table, and ‘best drummer in the Beatles’ quote was a wonderful way of using Lennon himself to argue for McCartney.
While continuing to accentuate McCartney’s superior musicality, you also manage to casually throw in some nice numbers regarding which of the two song-writers contributed to more of their most successful songs. Your opponent made a similar argument but left the details in a linked source, which is never going to have the same amount of impact as laying it all out there for me to read in the debate. His version of this argument was perhaps a little more eloquently presented though, so all in all pretty even on that front.
You have a rather nice use of the influence and success of McCartney’s Yesterday to segue into how he was also the glue that kept the Beatles together when Lennon’s ways threatened to dismantle them from within. Quite spiffing, I tell you.
Interesting that you outright attack Lennon for his ‘bigger than Jesus’ comment. I’m sure it had a negative effect at the time, but in the long run it didn’t turn out so bad. You could even argue that it gave the Beatles a little more edginess. Tying it back into McCartney and how he kept his finger on the pulse of pop music was a nice add-on to this bit, though overall it wasn’t particularly impactful.
I would have liked a source to back-up this statement: ‘Lennon admitted that these efforts were important to the survival of the band’, with regard to McCartney initiating new Beatles projects and becoming their leader. Lennon’s drug use destabilising the band during the recording of Let it Be was a good point to make, but again could have done with a source to back it up. I don’t doubt its truth, but I could do if I wanted to be a cunt. Luckily I’m all about love these days. All you need is love and food and water and oxygen.
Bringing Yoko into it was a good idea. His insistence on her involvement was one of the main, if not THE main, cause of their demise and definitely worthy of bringing up in this debate. You dealt with it quickly though which was wise, as ultimately the band’s legacy, as has been proven by time, was already established by the point of her appearance on the scene.
You have a very, very, very good conclusion which stands in stark contrast to your opponent’s slightly wishy-washy way of ending things. While your opponent admitted the truth of the matter with regards the Beatles’ success needing both of these guys, you ignored all that reality nonsense and went straight for the jugular. You bang McCartney’s drum right to the death and thus your debate ends on a very convincing note.
In all honesty, I sensed a bit of rustiness in both of these debates. While both were awesome pieces of prose to read, Clique suffered from a slight lack of conviction, almost as if he was arguing McCartney for the sake of picking a side rather than from a genuinely held belief that it was the right stance. In contrast, The Lady Killer came across as utterly convinced of its rightness and that makes for a much more persuasive debate. There were some overlapping arguments which were fairly even overall (certainly in terms of quality), but The Lady Killer expanded its scope into areas that didn’t get a mention in Clique. So, because of the more convincing way the arguments were presented and a much wider range of said arguments, The Lady Killer is the winner
I enjoyed your stylistic touches, and the small dose of levity you gave your argument right at the beginning by joking about George Harrison being the most important Beatles artist. I also relished the concession made right there that obviously the Beatles as a group would never have been the same musical entity without the contributions of all of its members, and chiefly the coexistence of Paul McCartney and John Lennon. You follow this by going through your arguments on behalf of McCartney being the more important of the two for the Beatles' success with a fine conjoining of thoroughness and succinctness, each attribute necessary to establish the points you need to while keeping the word-length managed. Your debate also capably straddled the metaphorical fence between being fittingly informal but also treating the subject seriously with the terrific placements of footnotes, all of which I looked over, and they indeed fantastically supported your case.
My only considerable constructive criticism would be, always try to look at your writing with a critical awareness of possible grammatical or spelling errors. Your essay only has two of the former and one of the latter, and I'm not a stickler over such matters, but just as a kind of "policy" for yourself, just when you think you've looked at your writing too many times to count and you cannot spot any problems with it, go away from it for a couple of hours and return to it with fresh eyes. I understand how difficult it is to catch these as typically writers, myself included, see what we've written as we've thought
it should be, and our brains disallow us from seeing the actual little flaws that exist. This has happened to me on innumerable occasions. It is probably occurring to me in my "review" of these very two essays! Such is the way of writing, however.
On the whole, Clique, your debate is outstanding, fresh, well-structured and buttressed by considerable evidence.
The Lady Killer,
Your debate is a stout, potent argument, and you make a solid case for Paul McCartney being the more important of the two musicians for The Beatles' success. The method of utilizing Lennon's own quotes against him is a fascinating approach. The two best quotes from Lennon you used were his statement that Ringo Starr was not even the best drummer in the Beatles, which refers to McCartney's remarkable versatility as a musician; and his embarrassed comments on "Yesterday," which truly does tell quite the tale, and exquisitely summarizes how much more crucial McCartney was to the Beatles' success in the creation of one of the most popular songs of all time.
My one significant piece of constructive criticism for your debate is that upon reading it, I found the assertion concerning Lennon's insecurities as an artist to be slightly weakly relayed by the way you approached it. You write,
It’s well-documented that John struggled greatly with insecurity. The release of Paul’s masterpiece, “Yesterday,” only fueled Lennon’s vice.
I believe that your argument would have been just a little bit stronger if you had somehow reinforced the point of Lennon's insecurity right there, after saying that "[i]t's well-documented that John struggled greatly with insecurity..." Right then and there my mind begged for at least a footnote or a weightier piece of evidence than the statement that John's insecurity is well-documented. To your credit you certainly approach the fallout of Lennon's insecurity as an artist, but this was the one part of your debate that could have used greater documentation.
That said I liked how you broke your debate down into titled chapters. The Helter Skelter
part, for instance, fantastically captures how Lennon's descent, fueled by drugs, could have threatened to capsize the Beatles' singular success, but McCartney was in large part keeping the band's artistic finger on the pulse of popular culture and musical trends. The Yoko Ono
chapter was also excellently informative.
I also liked your summary, pointing to McCartney's continued existence as the living, breathing avatar for the Beatles' enormous and indispensable place in the history of music and popular culture.
You certainly provided ample evidence for your stance.
Ultimately, I must say that while each debate is tremendous, I give the nod to Clique
. It's just a bit more comprehensively balanced, while The Lady Killer's feels a bit more like a quasi-tearing down of John Lennon (not that I disagree with a scintilla of the criticisms--I've levied many deeply critical points against Lennon myself, going beyond even what The Lady Killer covers, haha), but with some definitive support for McCartney as an artist. Each debate is fantastically structured, buoyantly argued, but Clique's was more intrinsically convincing to me.
Thank you both for your wonderful debates!
Points immediately deducted for putting over the overrated George Harrison. Lol.
Firstly, the debate was well put together, and outside of a few grammatical/punctuation errors, there isn’t much to criticize. Thought there may have been an overreliance on quotes from critics, but it served your point well, putting over just how diverse and eclectic Paul’s talents were.
The mentioning of Paul’s post-Beatles’ efforts propelling the continued memory of said group (an ever so slight expansion of the topic) was a nice aside, and could’ve taken this debate over the top if it would’ve been hammered home (though Lennon received a bullet in the head, it would’ve been pretty hard regardless for his work to stand up to McCartney’s considering the directions they were headed.)
The final paragraph brought home my only (and ever-so-slight) complaint about the essay. “They were in effect serving as the other man’s muse. When you have an operation that is clearly multiplicative rather than additive, it becomes near folly to try to tease apart which piece of the puzzle casts the biggest shadow.” While this is obviously accurate, in its context, I feel it hurts the argument by essentially making the first 95% of the less powerful. Don’t back up. “Paul is more important. Period.” Not a deal breaker, but something that took me out of it a bit, especially coming down the home stretch.
But again, the essay, more than did it’s job, as I came out of it wavering on my opinion coming in, which is Lennon > McCartney.
The Lady Killer
Jesus fucking Christ. If I didn’t know any better, I’d assume Lennon was a worthless hack just lucky enough to be in the company of Paul McCartney. It’s an effective tool. Outside of your Michael Jordan analogy (which makes sense from a literal standpoint, but fails practically since in said analogy Lennon = Michael Jordan = best ever > McCartney), the rest of the essay hit all of the points it needed to hit, and hit them all with a sledgehammer.
From the creation of the Beatles to Lennon’s death/McCartney’s continued solo career, McCartney is put over and put over strong.
The addition of Lennon’s insecurity as a backdrop to McCartney’s leadership and ability to keep the greatest band ever together could’ve been a nice touch, but I thought should’ve been either expanded upon, and if there wasn’t enough space just left out all together since it came across as a bit of a fluff (same goes for Paul’s fluency as a supreme musician, something that debate A expanded upon to very good effect.)
That said, everything was in the right place and hit the tone that persuasive writing essays like these need to hit that I felt was lacking in Clique's debate.
Both parties did a great job, but, imo...
Winner – The Lady Killer