Gordie Miller Paradigm
Update for 14-15 legalization topic
On June 24, 2011 My brother Vinny committed suicide. I miss him every second of every day. Sometimes those feelings overwhelm me, It happens less today but it still happens. I encourage you to continue making your arguments about physician assisted suicide, Please realize that my tears (should they appear) are for my brother not for /against your arguments. I may need a moment to gather myself, but i will be very clear with you if that is necessary. Obviously if this occurs i won't be in position to "police" whether you are prepping , I will leave this up to the debaters to decide wether to use this moment or two as mutual prep time or as time to get to know each other as comrades instead of competitors. I hope it rarely happens, but simply put, I cant control/predict when it does.
Everything Below I feel is still an accurate statement of my judging thoughts.
The recent discussions about judging (mpj, paradigms, and philosophies) have encouraged me to (re)think about the way I judge debates. I am very conflicted about MPJ. When I debated we didn’t have it but I sure wanted it. It was very frustrating to get assigned a judge that I knew didn’t like my arguments or was ideologically opposed to my arguments (or my coach or my team). But I also knew that it forced (encouraged?) me to be adaptable. We had to have multiple Affs ready and several different neg strategies. Of course sometimes we went with the “Damn the torpedo’s, full speed ahead!” strategy. It was like eating cooked spinach, hated it but probably made me stronger. Over the next few years, as MPJ was being implemented, I found myself judging lots of debates. I judged policy debates, K debates, “clash” debates, you name it I judged it. I always filled my commitment and usually judged multiple elim rounds. One year at Towson JV/Novice Nationals, I was top rated on both the pref sheet and the debaters vote after the tournament. (Yes, me, Gordie Miller, Top Judge! Unbelievable but true.) I was living the MPJ high life (Miller, get it?). I was bragging about my awesomeness to some of my debaters when one asked me, “Do you think maybe that has more to do with you being a pleasant, unthreatening, white male than it does you being an awesome judge?” I immediately denied any link to white male privilege and continued to bask in my awesomeness. As the years turned, I found myself judging fewer teams, not filling my commitment at national tournaments, and no longer (or rarely) judging out rounds. I saw my debater (now graduated) and told her, “See, I’m lower on pref sheets now, clearly white male privilege is not an issue.” She smiled, shook her head and asked “How about those judges that never were at the top of the pref sheet and never got a chance to be ‘evaluated’ on the rounds they actually judged but only on who they appeared to be?” I started to really think about white male privilege. Some of you know I had rather long hair for many years (I’m growing it back; I miss the feeling of wind in my hair.) I would go up to Canada quite often to watch the Expos. I always got waived through at the Canadian border, until my hair was long. There was a direct correlation short hair “Welcome to Canada, Enjoy!” long hair “ Please pull over and talk to the Immigration officer.” I thought I was beginning to understand discrimination. I was but I understood that I could simply cut my hair and shave my beard and all the benefits of white male privilege were back. Nice story Frosty but what does that have to do with your judging? You ask. Well…
I don’t think conditionality is fair or even ethical. In my opinion it is not “real world.” Well it is for white people (especially men.) We can go back and forth, be allies or enemies, stand in solidarity or in opposition and not be judged for it. I feel conditionality is similar if not directly white male privilege, even when “used” by people of color or women. I am open to the idea that maybe conditionality in debate is the one time (or one a few times) when people are not locked in a stable identity and that is good and even necessary. As my coach Tuna says, “It’s debate, not agree.”
I really enjoy debates about the affirmative or as we called it in the olden days, case debate. The caselist is there, most tournaments and teams request, no demand, that everyone disclose their arguments, (I think it’s a good idea, open honest communication is a good goal.) You know (for the most part) what the Aff is, engage it. Sure a counterplan is a good way to engage, yep disads and K’s can engage the case and sure good ole’ fashioned case turns work. I prefer that these strategies engage the case. I don’t always feel that PIC’s do that when the net benefit is some process DA or a Kritik with a generic topic (read not the aff) link. Even when using the one-off strategy, I think it is a bad idea to spot the aff the case. Their Miller card proves the link isn’t persuasive. Their Miller card that says conditionality is unethical and white male priviledge is the link is more persuasive.
I love and hate the permutation. I find myself voting aff on the perm a lot this year. I feel that many debaters just assume “the perm is another link” without any evidence to support it. I love when the negative reads evidence that says your attempted combination of the aff and neg dooms both to failure. I love the perm because it is an argument that says yes I’ve thought about that and here is my defense of my ontology/epistemology/language/being/existence. I hate the perm because it is coded language. 1. Perm do both 2. Perm all the noncompetitive parts of the plan 3. Perm do the aff in all other instances 4. Perm do the counterplan . These are not arguments. These are claims that invite the judge to fill in the warrants and reasons they like best. I call it the wink wink nudge nudge approach. If the neg gets up and says 1. Don’t do both 2. There are no noncompetitive parts 3. The aff is the only instance 4. Vote neg, you would argue they haven’t made an argument or provided warrants, and you would be right. I think one perm with warrants and evidence is preferable. But see Tuna quote above.
I love and hate framework debates. I love framework debates because I still have yet to see a rulebook for debate (well I guess I have seen the ADA rules, but they seem incomplete, and haven’t been invoked in any debate I’ve seen in over 10 years.) I hate framework debates because they often are simply appeals to debate authority. Debate coach 1 says you need a plan and can’t have critiques. Debate coach 2 says that view excludes needed viewpoints. Debate coach 3 says just do it on the neg. Debate coach 4 says you there aren’t 2 sides because you say heg good or anthro bad on both aff and neg.
I don’t like Topicality or theory debates. I have voted neg on Topicality more than I have decided a debate on theory. I like topicality debates that are based in evidence about the words and phrases in the resolution/plan. Those debates change based on the topic. But often these debates seem to me to be “I CHOOSE not to research your argument because I don’t want to/don’t think its relevant/don’t think you can beat me so why waste my time on your argument. I suggest spend one fewer hour a week watching TV, movies or on facebook, and spend it reading the articles of 2 cases you think aren’t topical. My main problem with theory debates is they are usually about future unfairness, some other debate than the one I am judging, or the slippery slope of “potential abuse”. I am more than willing to vote for an argument that says this argument the other team made is unfair or makes this a bad debate. Does that mean I think theory args in the 2NC are legit? Yes it does.
Some other things about my way of judging debates
Paperless Debate. I think it is fair to assume that if you are paperless you have a viewing computer available. I don’t think the other team has to use it just that it be there if they want to. I prefer, when the internet is available that we email speeches. My email is email@example.com. When I judge debates Prep time stops when the speaker hits send or save. I don’t think it is fair to say, “ I’m done prepping I just have to save it.” If you are paperless you are not done prepping until you have saved it or sent it. I will stop prep and wait to start speech time until everyone has the speech and the order (if you have one) is given and the speaker starts speaking. I use this method because I believe that in a competitive activity trust is not enough. I believe you when you say you are saving the speech ( I am pretty trusting in general), but I can’t be sure that you are not typing an arg instead of a file name. I think when you are done typing/entering commands is the best way to avoid doubt and mistrust.
I can’t transcribe your speech, my ability to flow is not that good. Your typed out overview is a good thing but if you read it at top speed as if it were “merely” text I won’t get it all down and the parts I do hear and write down may not be what you feel are the most important parts. I will say slower once if I am not getting it.
Please ask me (in person or email) if you have questions about my paradigm or my decision. I will listen and answer your questions. I will try not to yell at you please try not to yell at me. If you think I was/am unfair/biased/lazy/inattentive call me out.