Jacob Fontana ParadigmLast changed 10/13 12:51A EDT
Homewood Flossmoor High School 2011-2015
Pomona College 2015-2019 (not debating)
The more work you do, the happier you will be with my decision. By this I don’t just mean that I reward smart strategies, research, etc. (I do), but rather that the better you explain and unpack an argument and tell me how to evaluate it, the less likely my own biases and preferences will affect the decision. With this in mind, there are a couple takeaways
- Framing is important. At a certain point, this seems redundant to say (obviously impact calc is important), but all too often debaters fail to “tie up” the debate in a way that is easy to evaluate. What impacts matter? What arguments should I look to first? How should I think about making decisions? Leaving these calls up to my gut may not work out well for you. Do not assume that I will put together the pieces of your argument in the way that is most favorable to you, or the way that you they should be viewed. Your best bet is to do this for me. As a general rule of thumb, your likelihood of picking up my ballot is directly proportional to the number of “even if” statements you make.
- truth and tech are both important and the divisions between them are far more arbitrary and vacuous than it is usually given credit for. That being said, it is up to you to give me a metric for evaluating what claims are true. What types of evidence should I look to? Should I view that evidence through a certain lens? How should I treat dropped/under covered arguments? Obviously I have some personal proclivities that may be harder to overcome than others
o I will always tend to evaluate dropped arguments far less than extended arguments. This does not mean that dropped arguments are automatically “true” or that truth claims made earlier in the debate are suddenly gone (that may well require more work on my part), but it does mean that I am less likely to give these arguments weight.
o Although they can be important parts of a speech, I am not inclined to give as much weight to solipsistic narratives as evidence. This is not a hard or fast preference, and some smart framing arguments about the way I should evaluate narratives will go a long way, but do not assume I will immediately evaluate a narrative as evidence in its own right sans an evidenced claim that I should evaluate them this way.
o Make smart analytic arguments, these can often be better than reading yet another terrible uniqueness card on the politics disad. The more I see you thinking for yourself and making creative and smart arguments in a debate, the better speaks you will get.
I appreciate creative and innovative strategies, maybe more than others. If you want to bust out that weird impact turn or super cheating counterplan or sweet ass new K, you should do that. You will always be better at doing what you do best. Please don’t feel deterred from reading a strategy in front of me because the community has generally frowned on it (spark, death good, etc.), I’m down to hear things outside of the norm. That being said, I included a few notes about how I feel/debated like in high school, you can take these preferences however you want, they are subject to change within a round.
As a caveat, Debate should be a space where everyone feels welcome. Please do not read racist/sexist/anti-queer/ableist/ or otherwise offensive arguments in front of me.
Please add me on the email chain: Jacob.firstname.lastname@example.org.
I debated both sides of this extensively in high school. I will not “penalize” you for reading framework; I think it is a smart and strategic argument. Similarly, do not assume that because you read framework you have my ballot, I am very middle of the road on these issues. You should treat this as any other K/CP strategy you have read. Too often teams miss nuance in these debates and read a bunch of state good/bad evidence while neglecting the smaller moving pieces, I tend to think those are important, and the more you address the internal link level of the debate, the better off you will be.
Affirmatives should find ways to leverage offense against the negatives interpretation. Playing some light defense and reading some reasonability blacks is not going to win you my ballot. I generally tend to default to competing interpretations. Furthermore, teams need to treat this debate more like disad, you should do impact calc, read impact, link, or internal link turns, explain why your interp solves a portion of their offense, etc. I greatly enjoy smart T debates and will reward you handsomely in speaker points if you execute it well.
Absolute defense (or defense to the point where I should cease to evaluate the disad outside of the noise of status quo) is a thing and far too few debaters go for. 90 percent of disads are absolute garbage and you shouldn’t be afraid to point that out. More broadly, Offense defense tends to be a heavily neg biased model of debate and contributes to a lot (in my eyes) to the denigration of the activity towards the most reality-divorced hyperbolic impact claims, and I will not default to it. Obviously this is subject to change in a given round, but you should be conscious of the weight I tend to give to defensive arguments. In general, I think link controls the direction of uniqueness, but I can easily be persuaded otherwise
Please, if you have it, read something different than politics. I don’t hate the politics disad, but it is an often overused strategy and I will reward your innovation with speaker points
Any argument is legitimate until it is not, don’t hesitate to read your cheating counterplans in front of me, but be ready to defend them. Theory debates are good and valuable, but I do not want to listen to you read your blocks at 400 words a minute. Slow down, make smart arguments, and go for what you’re ahead on. Less is often more in these situations. I actually very much enjoy good theory debates and find them quite interesting. You should treat these like any other type of debate, you should do impact calc, flesh out internal links, etc.
I have a reasonable familiarity with most mainstream critiques and greatly enjoy these debates. In high school, I would most often read the security or the cap K, but this should not be interpreted as an exclusionary list. You do you and I’ll likely jive with it. I will reward innovation, reading a tailored critique is far more interesting to me than rereading the same Spanos block your team has had for the last 8 years. The one caveat here is that my familiarity with certain “high theory” authors (Bataille, Deleuze, etc.) is rather passing. I am more than certainly open to hearing these arguments and don’t have any prejudices against them (I debated on the same team as Carter Levinson for 3 years), but this does mean that you may need to take extra time to unpack arguments and contextualize them in terms of the debate.
I have not worked on the China Topic, for you this means you probably want to slow down on, and possibly explain, acronyms the first couple times.
Ethic violations are deliberate, not accidental. Missing a few words or accidentally skipping a line isn’t a big deal, but repeatedly doing that or doing it in a way that is clearly intentional is. If you believe that someone has committed an ethics violation, please start recording the round, I also reserve the right to do this. If I think you are clipping, I may start a recording of my own, I will also try read along in the speech docs whenever possible. If I do determine you’ve committed a violation, you will lose the debate and receive 0 speaks, I will also speak to your coaches. Clipping is a serious offense and I will treat it with the attention it deserves.