I debated four years at Emporia High School and Washburn Rural High School (Kansas)—class of 1991. I went on to debate at the University of Texas for three years. I suppose I should be considered a traditionalist, but I don’t have any predisposition against more progressive styles of debate.
My judging experience is mainly from policy debate. I expect my approach to public forum debate will be similar. You tell me how I should view the round. I will default to a utilitarian calculus, but it is up to you to define how I should rank competing impacts and values. I view the competing teams as authors of their own worlds, and I must choose which world I prefer.
Debates that demonstrate substantial interaction with the positions of the other side are more interesting than debates that operate in independent universes. Strategically, conceding too much of the case debate leaves you fighting an uphill battle.
I was around during the early days of the kritik, but I don’t have a lot of knowledge of most of today’s kritiks. If you abandon the case debate to focus on a generic kritik with only tangential links to the affirmative you potentially relieve the affirmative of their burden of proof.
Tactics that will help you win my ballot:
Be intelligible. I’m not going to flow the emailed text of your speech. I’m going to flow what I hear you say in the round. Go as fast as you want as long as you are not sacrificing comprehensibility. The goal is to deliver an efficient speech that maximizes word economy.
Explain the implications of the arguments that you are winning. It’s not enough to win the argument. Explain how the argument fits into how you want me to evaluate the overall round.
Specifically counter your opponents’ arguments. Highlight the weakness of their sources, or of the logic of their sources’ assertions. I’m looking for a demonstration of your ability to think independently of your front-line blocks.
Evidence is a tool to support your arguments and analysis. I’ll give more weight to a logical, original analytic than a piece of evidence with thin reasoning.
It’s an honor to participate in this activity with you. Have a great weekend!