Lizzie Prete ParadigmLast changed 12/15 11:55A EDT
Niles West '14
I coach for Niles West debate and have for the past 4 years.
I debated for three years for Niles West and one year at Michigan State University on the legalization topic – so the bulk of my debate experience has been very policy-oriented.
Yes, I would like to be on the email chain but I will not be flowing off the speech doc --- email@example.com
First and foremost: I try my absolute best not to allow my preconceived notions about certain types of arguments affect my decision making. I view debate primarily as an activity that develops critical thinking and advocacy skills, so do that in whatever way you think is best suited for your situation (granted that it is respectful and not offensive). I won’t tell you to run or not run any particular argument in front of me. That being said, I’ll briefly go through some smaller-scale preferences that I have pertaining to certain arguments.
1. Clarity - I would rather not have to work too hard to decipher what you are saying. I am bad at multitasking, and if I’m doing that I’ll probably miss an argument or two. Please enunciate tag lines especially. If I can’t decipher your answer to an argument, I will consider it dropped.
2. Be respectful – yes, debate is a competitive activity, but before anything else it is an academic thought exercise. I encourage assertiveness and confidence in round, but if you are rude, I will reduce your speaker points. Rudeness includes excessively cutting your opponent off or talking over them in cross-ex, excessively interrupting your partner's speech to prompt them, being unnecessarily snarky towards your opponents, etc. Please just be nice :)
3. Logic - a lot of times, debaters get wrapped up in the technicality of their debates. While tech is important, it shouldn’t come at the expense of doing things like explaining your arguments, pointing out logical flaws in your opponents’ arguments, and telling me how I should evaluate a particular flow in the context of the whole debate. I tend to reward teams that provide consistent, clear, and smart meta-level framing issues – it makes my job 100 times easier, and it minimizes the extent to which I have to intervene to decide the debate. I will not do work for you on an argument even if I am familiar with it – I judge off of my flow exclusively.
4. DO NOT assume that I am following along on the speech doc as you are giving a speech, because I am probably not.
T – I like a good T debate, if both teams compare their interpretations and evidence adequately. The impact level is the most important to me in T debates, and if you don’t do a good job comparing the standards/impacts being gone for in the round, do not be mad if I intervene and weigh them myself.
DAs – are essential to a good debate I think. If you don’t start your speeches with impact overviews, however, I will be less inclined to vote for you and more inclined to look at the aff’s impacts first.
Ks and Framework – I love kritiks, I went for them a lot in high school. They are good for debate *if they answer the affirmative*. Please engage the affirmative. This entails making specific link arguments as well as thorough turns case analysis. I am probably familiar with your literature, however, I will not weigh your buzzwords more than logical aff arguments against your K. If you want my ballot, you need to first and foremost TALK ABOUT THE AFF. If you don’t say a word about the aff in the debate I will probably not vote for you. Read specific links to the aff’s representations and impacts, not just to the topic in general. The link debate is crucial – and the aff should recognize if the neg is not doing an adequately specific job explaining their link story. Additionally, you need to make turns case arguments. I will not be compelled by a mere floating pik in the 2NR – that’s cheating. Give me analysis about why the aff reifies its own impacts. Absent this, I usually default to weighing the 1AC heavily against the K. Relating to framework, I have a high threshold for interpretations that limit out critiques entirely. I would rather see debaters interact with the substance of the criticism than talk shallowly about fairness and predictability (especially if it is a common argument). A lot of the times, framework debates are lazy. If you are going to read high theory in front of me (i.e. Baudrillard or Bataille) please be even more thorough. Your attempt to confuse your opponent so that they incorrectly answer your argument(s) will most likely just make me grumpy.
Lastly, K affs - I've been doing a lot of thinking about K affs lately, especially planless K affs. It seems that K affs are becoming farther and farther removed from the topic/resolution. I think that most planless K affs could be read on the neg, but that does not mean that they should not be read on the aff. This is good news if you are negative going for framework because switch side debate probably solves a lot of aff offense if there is a topical version of the aff. This is also good news for the aff because I can just as likely be persuaded that the reading of your aff in the debate space creates something unique (i.e., whatever you are solving for). However, my threshold for considering your aff as being relevant or engaging the topic/resolution is extremely high, as most teams do not even attempt to do this anymore. Plan texts are important, unless you have good offensive reasons why you don’t have to read one. Expecting the negative to predict every possible advocacy statement or hypothetical argument the aff can defend is a little ridiculous. A policy action, whether or not it's done by the federal government, should be a priority for the aff to defend. Please just do something that gives the negative a role in the debate. If you do not or cannot, I will be grumpy. SLOW DOWN on taglines if they are paragraphs; I think it kills your ethos to spread your tags, and more importantly, I probably will not flow them very well.