Marna Weston ParadigmLast changed 4/22 6:37P EDT
Marna Weston (coached by Dale McCall at Twin Lakes High, WPB, FL)
State Champion, Lincoln Douglas Debate & NFL District Champion, Policy Debate (Florida)
Condo is probably bad. I don't like tricks and rude stuff. I don't like people beating their opponents down in a disrespectful manner. True champions find a way to win with style, finesse, and some measure of grace. Basically, "say what you mean, and mean what you say" in front of me. Kick outs and shifts are not received well. I am comfortable with crystal clear debaters and crystal clear rebuttals. I've been focused on my policy teams this year, so I'm not familiar with the LD topic. I think there is still such a thing as an LD topic, although I keep hearing the same positions regardless of the topic a lot, and I guess that's ok. I am open to a lot of different types of discussions, and I'm excited to listen to what you bring to the debate space.
Sacred space except
The room where we exchange thoughts
is not for condo
Lincoln Douglas Paradigm (Scroll down to see my policy paradigm):
I guess the best statement I can make about typing a philosophy for a mutual judge preference list in Lincoln Douglas Debate is “I do not understand why this is needed.” My high school coach, Mrs. Dale McCall of Twin Lakes High in West Palm Beach, Florida and others contributed their ideas toward a new style of debate in the early 80’s where “superior speaking to lay audiences on a proposition of value” was envisioned. Any reasonable person without specialized knowledge of any kind would be a fitting judge or audience member in such a forum. That event was called Lincoln Douglas Debate. As a participant when LD was still an experimental event and the topics were chosen through individual tournament invitation, I debated in the final round of the Inaugural Lincoln Douglas Debate at the Barkley Forum in March 1983. In October 1981 a fellow teammate and I closed out the New York City Invitational at the Bronx High School of Science. My paradigm is and always has been, “be a high school Lincoln Douglas Debater”. Offer reasonable definitions (required), a value (required), and criteria as appropriate (probably optional, definitely debatable). Debate as if before a community group, and do not perform in such a way that would alienate reasonably intelligent people who have come to be both informed and entertained.
A good standard would be the “my principal” paradigm. If the principal of my school watched you debate and from your performance came to me on the Monday after your performance and said, “Mr. Weston, I am concerned that debate is confusing, exclusionary, and not an activity that is building critical thinking or communication skills for our students based on what I saw last weekend”, then you can be sure that you will have lost my ballot. Such a performance could endanger the existence of my program. My ballot acts as a defense from such examples gaining popularity. I believe enough loses might cause such practices to cease.
The “role of the ballot” and RFD when I am the critic will ideally be to honor the historic intent of the Lincoln Douglas event and those who worked so hard to bridge the debate world for general audiences, and not to exclude such persons. A rude debater can expect to lose “on face” absent any consideration of arguments withstanding in the round. The activity is about life and how one carries oneself.
Additionally, I shall not reward debaters with high speakers for “rolling over” opponents. One to six big ideas is probably the most I should hear in constructive speeches and these then boiled down to one to four critical voters at the end of the debate. “Drops” in LD are evaluated qualitatively, not quantitatively. It is certainly possible that “one big idea” could make many more ideas irrelevant to a decision, if argued effectively. A superior debater should be able to win the round with class while respecting the dignity of the opposition, in every instance. In short, any person coming into the round should be able to evaluate the round, and every person in the round must be treated in a dignified manner, either as a participant, observer, or critic.
Thank you for your interest in my thoughts.
Overview: I firmly believe that policy debate is first and foremost a communication activity. Consequently, oral presentation plays a larger factor in my adjudication process than in most decisions in recent years. I focus on the “story” of the debate, but line-byline refutation can be a component of that. Know your order before you announce it. Don't change the order after you announce it. Clearly articulated arguments at any speed can be evaluated. Inarticulate utterings that cannot be understood cannot be evaluated. Be quick, but don't hurry. I will not tolerate rudeness. Cross X is binding.
My paradigm is one of few dispositions; the rest is up to the debaters. They are as follows:
1. I agree that conditionality is "probably" bad. So its "probably" not a bad idea to speak to this and support reasons why I might or might not vote on this.
2. Topical Counterplans are not OK. If at the end of the round I haave been effectiely persuaded there are two Affirmative teams, I'll probably vote Affirmative.
3. I prefer not to judge topicality debates. If you're ahead on it, explain to me why its important to care about this, or I might not understand why to vote on it.
4. I enjoy case debates. Solidly clear and irrefuably presented and reasonably current inherency evidence could really win a debate. No, really.
5. Kritikal arguments on both AFF and NEG are fine, but pay close attention to the way you communicate your position (clear and concise!).
6. The topic should be debated, but how you approach the resolution, and how you approach debate generally (content, style, etc.), should be left up to the debaters.
7. If you're Negative, show me how your approach is specific to this Affirmative. Be thoughtful in explaining what a vote for your side means and why I should endorse it.Ask meto vote for your side. Dont complete on-face grant the 1AC in favor of pre-set tangentially related points and expect me to get why that means the Negaative wins the debate. Be paricularly clear on fairness and why ground is or isnt lost and warrants a decision.These are usually not presented clearly and powerfully.
8. I will appreciate teams who competently deploy arguments from the earlier days of CEDA, such as Justification, Hasty G, etc. I also appreciate when the AFF and NEG teams sit on the correct sides of the room with respect to the judge. Otherwise, I might vote for someone but accidentally vote for the wrong team. "Sort of kidding" but I know this has happened to teams and that in my career in the activity, more than one judge thought they voted for a team, when they hadn't. If you're not on the proper side of the room, at least say in your speech which team you represent and why you think your side should win the debate. That is taken for granted a lot.:)
Public Forum Paradigm
To be truthful, it all goes by a little quickly for me in a PF round. I never competed in PF. The speeches are really short. I do appreciate the skills developed through the practice of concisely presenting so many arguments in a limited space of time. On a personal note, I thought the whole idea of yet another "policy is too fast and there is too much research" debate event, was that PF would remain slow for lay audiences. I have observed this is not the case, but good debates are still where you find them in PF--- as in Congress, Policy, LD, and Worlds. As such, please watch me closely and clearly indicate why as a judge I should prefer your way of evaluating the round over your opponents. I'm always pretty much up to speed on current events through working on Policy & Extemp each week of the season, so I'll probably be up to date on your issue. The key will be to express reasons to prefer your interpretation of what is important-------over what your opponent is saying. Whoever does that most effectively will likely win my ballot.