Christopher Vincent Paradigm
Assistant Director of Forensics & Debate Louisiana State University
Additional Conflicts: Holy Cross School, Dulles (TX), Brown School (KY), Success Academy (NY)
This is my 14th year in debate. I competed for 4 years in high school, 5 years at the University of Louisville, and was the graduate assistant for the University of Louisville debate team. I have been actively coaching high school LD and Policy for the past 7 years and was previously the Director at Brown and Fern Creek, prior to becoming the Assistant Director at LSU.
TOC 2015 UPDATE: All ethics challenges will be decided through the infamous RuPaul Paradigm: "The Time Has Come for you to Lip Sync for your life."
I view my role as a judge as an educator. While I believe that debaters should shape this activity, I do not believe that judges are or even can be neutral in this process. I will always try to embrace the teachable moment in debate. I debated for 5 years in what the community deemed "performance debate." If you put me in the back of the room you either know me, read this, or a combo of the two. Long story short: Do what you do, be who you are, and defend your actions in the debate.
I evaluate debates holistically, which means I prefer the debate to tell me a story and it requires more than just winning your argument is true. You MUST WIN WHY THAT ARGUMENT MATTERS. I will attempt to evaluate the debate as objectively as possible. I say "as possible" because I do not believe that judges can truly be objective. We are all humans, and we all think and formulate opinions and thoughts. Failure to do comparative analysis in debate will result in messiness, and inevitably some level of judge interventions (which you don't want).
Here are a few of my predispositions coming into the round:
I WILL NOT VOTE FOR ARGUMENTS THAT ARE RACIST, HOMOPHOBIC, SEXIST, OR ABLEIST IN NATURE!!! Depending on the nature of the offense, this may result in an automatic loss!!!
1) Speed- Slow down on the tag lines and the authors. I will yell clear ONE TIME. After that, I will put my pen down and stop flowing. So, please don't be mad at the end of the debate if I missed some arguments because you were unclear. I make lots of facial expressions, so you can use that as a guide for if I understand you.
2) Dropped Arguments- Dropped arguments are not enough for me to vote someone down. Don't expect me to automatically pull the trigger on a dropped argument without you doing the work necessary and giving me an in depth analysis of why that argument shuts down the entire debate. I evaluate debates holistically. =
3) Theory- Theory is not a substantive response to critical positions and arguments. This is not to say that I won't vote for theory, but you must prove ACTUAL IN-ROUND ABUSE. One of the unique aspects of debate, is that it gives us a chance to explore different positions, and to be critically self-reflexive. Thus, my interpretation of the topic may not be the same as yours, and that is okay. Theory seems to limit the liberating and unique educational opportunity this activity provides us.
-I do not believe in neutral education, neutral conceptions of fairness, or even ground, or limits. If you run theory, be ready to defend it. Actual abuse is not because you don't understand the literature, know how to deal with the argument, or that you didn't have time to read it. You should probably read their literature and engage it. I will still stand by this position. If you are not reading the literature then you probably link to their criticism in the first place. Don't be scared, just engage.
4) Critical Arguments- Don't run them just because I am in the back of the room. While I am familiar with a wide range of literature, and while I have coached students with a wide range of literature, I will not be impressed just because you do it too. There are implications to the things we talk about in debate, and I believe that our social location inevitably shape the beliefs and ideologies we hold. If you do not believe that there is a place for performative/critical arguments in debate, and if you believe that social location and subsequent discussions have no place in this space, I am probably not the judge for you.
5) PAPERLESS DEBATE: Prep time ends when the flash drive leaves your computer.
Finally, make smart arguments and have fun. I promise I will do my best to evaluate the debate you give me.
I debated for 5 years at the University of Louisville and engaged exclusively in what the community deemed “performance debate.” I believe that debate is what you make it and you only get out of it what you want and what you put into it. I expect that if you put me in the back of the room you either know me, read this, or it’s a combination of the two. Be who you are and defend your actions in the round. The most important thing you should know about me is that I love debate and I believe that debate is a place where we should exchange ideas, beliefs, and differences. I view my role as a judge as an educator and while I believe that debaters shape the activity through the rounds, I don’t believe judges are neutral in this process. That means I will always attempt to embrace the teachable moment in the debate round when given the opportunity.
I promise I will flow the round but will probably not use the flow the same way you do. I believe that the debate should tell me a story and so I want to know how the arguments interact with one another and how they function. I will not examine arguments as isolated parts of a speech, but instead holistically.
I don’t believe affirmatives have to be topical. They can be, but they don’t have to be. You should just defend your actions.
I WILL NOT VOTE FOR ARGUMENTS THAT ARE RACIST, SEXIST, HOMOPHOBIC IN THEIR NATURE.
Speed: I don’t really like it and I tend to believe that debate is a communicative activity. I am not a robot. I breath, will speak to you if you speak to me, etc. That means that I am a person and I would like for you to engage me as such. In return I will do the same. If you so choose to spew down in front of me, be comfortable with your decision but also be comfortable with my flow being half empty, and my pen that will suddenly stop writing.
PAPERLESS: Prep time ends when the jump drive leaves your computer and is in your opponent's hand.
Finally, make smart arguments, clash with your opponent, and defend what you say. I will do my best to evaluate the debate I am given. While I ideologically believe that identity shapes how we approach debate, and while I debated exclusively in one style, I was trained in traditional and nontraditional debate and so I will attempt to evaluate the debate I am given. That means if I have two right teams in the back of the room, by all means have your plan focus debate, just know where I am coming from.
If you have any other questions just ask!!!