Gordon Kochman ParadigmLast changed 2/11 5:53P CDT
Last update: 2/11/2020
-TLDR: do what you do best, and if you do it well, I’ll try my best to be fair, receptive, and interested
-Add me to the email chain: email@example.com
-I try not to read evidence if I can help it, which means I won’t open your speech docs until the end of the round, and I’ll only do so if needed. I won't follow you in the speech doc, so if you're gonna blaze through your theory block, you might want to reconsider.
-I try to keep a straight face during speeches. If I'm being expressive, then something horrible/funny/important/etc. just happened.
-Please be kind to each other
-My last name is pronounced “coach-man,” but you can refer to me as Gordon. Whatever you do, PLEASE do not call me "judge."
-My debate experience: I debated for four years at New Trier High School (2009-2013) and for two years at Whitman College (2013-2015) while the team existed during my tenure. I’m a former 2N/1A. I’ve been involved in coaching and judging since I graduated high school. I'm a lawyer in my day job.
-Affiliations: New Trier High School, Whitman College, University of Wisconsin, Homestead High School
-Co-founder of the Never Spark Society with Tim Freehan
-I mostly debated policy arguments and soft-left K arguments. I fully understand how these arguments are bad and boring in their own way, so simply because I debated these arguments in the past does not mean that I think they’re the best, most interesting, or correct arguments. I’m open enough to recognize there are multiple ways of debating and engaging with the resolution, both from my time as a debater and later as a judge and coach.
-Disclaimer: What is included in this paradigm is meant to help you decide where to put me on your pref sheets, strike from your strike card, or adjust your strategy before the round. Most of this paradigm includes my predispositions and (unless otherwise noted) NOT my closely-held beliefs that are firm and unshakable.
-Please be kind to each other and don’t be racist, sexist, ableist, or any other variation of rude/intentionally horrible.
-To the extent required, this is a communicative activity that encompasses speech. As a result, I will only flow what you say in your speech (open CX is fine). Unless provided a performative reason, I am not a fan of multiple people participating in a speech or playing a video/audio clip.
-Debate is a game, and I’ve had the pleasure to enjoy it as a game. However, I understand that debate is more than that for some people (it’s how they afford their education, it’s their job, it’s their community, etc.). I try to comport myself such that everyone can have the experience in this activity that is enjoyable. Simply because I have enjoyed debate in one way does not mean that other debaters need to conform to my experience.
-There are obvious formalities in a round that exist no matter what. These include: one team must win, speaker points must be awarded, etc.
GENERAL DEBATE PREDISPOSITIONS:
-Tech over truth in the abstract and to a point. Generally, the more “true” your claim is, the less tech you need to win it (and vice-versa). The same goes for how big of a claim you’re making. The bigger the claim, the more work that’s needed. It’s gonna take more than a one-liner to win a claim that a mindset shift occurs post-economic collapse. Arguments are claims with warrants. One-line conclusory statements aren’t gonna cut it if you don’t provide a warrant.
-Things I likely won’t vote for: I would recommend that you use your common sense here. If your argument is overtly and/or intentionally racist/sexist/homophobic/etc., then you might want to reconsider. Not only do I not want to be in those rounds, but I don’t think the team you’re opposing wants those arguments in the round, either. As a co-founder of the Never Spark Society, this might tip you off to some types of arguments I don't enjoy...
PREDISPOSITIONS REGARDING SPECIFIC AREAS OF DEBATE:
-My thoughts regarding "non-topical" affs are probably what most people want to know up-front. I never read these affs when I debated and would spend a large amount of time planning how to debate these affs, but as a judge, I don’t really harbor any animus towards these affs. I don’t think that my thoughts here should be dispositive one way or another in these rounds. If you win your argument and explain why that means you win the round, then you should win. Despite my following thoughts on topicality versus policy affs, I'm SIGNIFICANTLY less persuaded by procedural arguments on framework than by method-based arguments on framework. In other words, I'm less likely to vote on "fairness" than an argument about how we should engage with the state or try to produce change.
-Topicality (versus policy affs) is about competing interpretations of the topic. This also means that potential abuse is a sufficient reason to vote neg on T. I would extend T into the block in a majority of my rounds and think I have a relatively lower threshold for voting on T against policy affs than most judges.
-I tend to lean neg on most theory and default to rejecting the argument unless provided a reason to reject the team. That doesn’t mean it isn’t a winnable argument, and there are certainly theory arguments that are stronger than others (conditionality is significantly more viable than no neg fiat, for instance). Regardless, this shouldn’t deter you from using these arguments on the aff. As a former 2N I do have a proclivity to protect the 2NR, so be absolutely certain that your 2AR will be an extrapolation of 1AR arguments if this is your ultimate strategy.
-Most CPs are fine, with a few exceptions. Consult CPs, for instance, are probably bad. I'm fine with CPs that have internal net-benefits to generate competition. I can be persuaded by perm do the CP args on the aff.
-Is the politics DA a thing? Eh, probably not (RIP). Will I vote for it anyway? Absolutely.
-Regarding Ks, I would read soft-left Ks with a general policy strategy and go for them on occasion. I’m by no means an expert in any specific K literature. I’m not very familiar with a ton of high-theory or postmodern arguments, so your burden to explain them is relevant. The more “out there” K you plan to read, the more explanation you’ll need. I should be familiar with your argument at a basic level regardless of what you read, but it is unlikely that I understand the nuances of your specific argument unless you can explain them to me. If you’re curious if you should read your K this round or how much work you should put into your explanation/overview, I would recommend reading it with more explanation rather than less. If you can adequately explain why you should win as a result of the K, then you should win.
-I’m a huge proponent of impact turns, which unfortunately aren’t as utilized as I’d like. However, I’m not a fan of some impact turns like spark (lol), wipeout, etc.