James Taylor ParadigmLast changed 3/28 1:35P CDT
Taylor, W. James “JT” Kansas State University, ADOD
# of years coaching/judging: 20+
Voting record: Aff: 12 Neg: 21
Most succinctly, I begin the round as a critic of argument. Depending on how the debaters posit my decision, I go from there...
-ENGAGE THE 1AC: I think teams should always engage the 1AC. Even if you are a one-off K team or you mostly take a more performative approach, there is no reason you can’t address the issues, logic, and general claims of the 1AC. Even if you don’t have evidence, you should still make smart arguments. Some of this could be approaches like contextualizing your one-off K to the specific claims made. Be smart and make logical arguments against the Aff. I think being educated on the issues of the topic is the true "education" we get out of "topic education". In the end, there should probably be a detailed engagement in the link debate.
-SPEECH DOCS: Debating speech docs instead of paying attention to speeches is unacceptable. So is the excessive inclusion of extra cards in a speech doc and/or not noting which cards you skip. I realize the value & utility of the docs but they should not be a substitute for flowing or paying attention to the other team. If you ask about things that would have been apparent if you had been flowing, you'll lose points. You debate the other team, not their speech docs! Otherwise, I would prefer to judge this debate via Skype from my house. Beyond this, just debating off of speech docs is disrespectful to your competitors and antithetical to productive communication. I will collect the docs and open them only as needed.
-EVIDENCE: I think a lot of teams read bad evidence. Debate the EVIDENCE! Studies? Quals? History/Empirics? I do not tend to read a ton of evidence unless contested or otherwise sparks my interest.
-TOPICALITY: I really like smart T debates with good contextual evidence. “Good” does not mean some random use from a totally unrelated case, unless you can prove that usage necessarily sets the standard. I am receptive to critiques of T/Framework, especially if external to the Aff, but there needs to be a clear argument for why it should stay if they kick out.
-FRAMEWORK: Although I think most framework arguments are a little silly—I vote on them often due to execution problems by the other team. I think the Aff. Should get to “weigh” the case as offense, unless it begs the question(s) of epistemology/methodology. In that case, the epistemology/methodology should be directly applied to the case debate. If it is a reps debate, then 1AC reps vs. Neg reps OR advantages vs. disads. But if Aff. should always get to weigh the case, then they should have to defend it…all of it. Neanderthal frameworks such as “absolutely nothing but a literal defense of USFG and only the utilitarian consequences matter” should be easy to beat. There are a lot of nuanced framework arguments that can be effective. Also, this type of strategy does nothing to engage the Aff. I think there can be real value in policy debate, but not necessarily through its imposition. What rarely gets discussed are the "portable skills" that are fostered through non-policy debates...
“KRITIKS”: Although I would say I am a fan of “the K”, I'm kind of a snob when it comes to these issues. Here are a few tips:
1. Engage the case. “Specific” links are a must—at least specific application of generic links with developed and warranted explanations.
2. Not really a fan of: Spanos, Baudrillard, Lacan, Bataille, Heidegger, D&G, Ayn Rand. If you're in a constant state of becoming then call me when your illusions are shattered. I'd say I'm pretty familiar with Foucault, Zizek (cap/film), Nuclear Ks, Giroux/Pedagogy, race/racism Ks, various & random gender & Environment Ks, etc.
3. Role of the Ballot – The vast majority of these claims are self-referential and add nothing to debate: “Whoever best does what we said.” Just like policy framework claims, these function with the same intent to exclude. However, some truly act not as a veiled framework but as truly instructional in terms of judging and the meaning of the ballot and the function of my decision. I do not think the ballot inherently means anything beyond a recording of data. Humans infuse meaning to things like the ballot and that should be a subject of debate and discussion. It just depends on how the debaters construct that value. IT IS VERY IMPORTANT THAT I KNOW WHAT STANDARD OR MEANS OF EVALUATING YOUR ARGUMENTS!
4. Perm Sloppiness: I think a lot of block debates get sloppy/lazy on the perm. I think the Aff. should have to explain how the perm resolves the links. I also think the Neg. should have to explain why the perm does not resolve those links. Sometimes its just that the K links to the plan and the perm includes the plan...OK, so that's obvious. This largely becomes an issue in K debates.
5. Method Debates: You need to actually do your method, not just prove it WOULD/COULD be a good idea. Historical Materialism comes to mind...Very few teams actually advance that alternate version of history. Instead, teams usually just read links to how the Aff doesn't fit in their paradigm or somehow masks or trades-off with HM. The same dynamic happens in many other debates.
CASE, CPs, & DISADS: Although I strongly believe that policy debate has developed at the exclusion of other styles, arguments, and peoples, I see genuine value in policy debates. This value collapses in on itself with the strict imposition of policy debate. I love a deep case debate or a smart CP. I think the detailed research skills are the truely valuable part of policy debate, yet not exclusive to policy debate. If both teams want to have a policy throwdown, then let's roll! Above all, I do not think any one style should dominate debate, nor be excluded. I do a decent amount of policy research for HS and college on a regular basis, but get labelled a "K/performance judge" because I've coached and voted for a lot of K & "performance" teams. However, I am a fan of all styles of debate, including policy. Engage the 1AC!