Adam R. Lee Paradigm
I debated at the University of Texas and graduated in 2002. I coached in various and sundry locations thereafter. I am now an attorney in Maine. I have judged sporadically over the last decade, but have done much more judging this year. I flow pretty well and on paper. I initially was against being on your email chain, but have now realized that as a matter of efficiency it's easier for me to aggregate the necessary evidence to make a decision at the end of the round. That it exists in a document and on my laptop, however, does not mean anything. Your evidence will only be given weight if it was sufficiently explained and debated in the round. I enjoy debates that focus on evidentiary distinctions, author quality, and demonstrate to me that you are actually thinking rather than rotely reading your evidence or blocks. Please don't take this as an endorsment of one substantive type of debate over another. I have seen T debates, theory debates, K debates, C/P D/A Debates, and case debates I have loved. I have seen T debates, theory debates, K debates, C/P D/A debates, and case debates I have hated.
Accordingly, my preference is that you make no adjustments to your preferred method or choice of argument and that I adjudicate the round based on you justifying why that it is preferable to any other proposed by the other team. The key to this is that YOU MUST WIN, which is best done through impact analysis. Absent impact analysis, I will unfortunately be forced to see things my way. If your 2NR or 2AR lacks a moment (or many) in which you talk about why you win, you will likely lose. So, the remainder of this is my way of informing you about my defaults, all of which only come into play if you have not effectively done the above.
Topicality: Competing interpretations as a starting point makes the most sense to me. However, interpretations that are not meaningfully grounded in the words of the resolution are not, to me, very good T interpretations. Your interpretation should have net benefits; I feel that the limits debate (either way) usually makes a pretty good one. My senior year (now 14 years ago, I am old) I went for T in about 50% of my 2NR's. I think that “kritikal affs” that say you don’t have to be topical are being lazy. (preface: this next sentence may come off with a certain “back in my day tone" because as we have established, I am old) My partner and I ran an ironic affirmative on the Africa Topic, of course many people went for T, we beat the vast majority of those teams because we had a smart counter-interpretation. The topic does not constrain creativity, being topical doesn’t either. If the neg’s interpretation precludes creativity, doesn’t that seem like an argument against their interpretation rather than the notion that one should be topical? To presume that your aff is already excluded by the resolution is silly. The resolution is a meaningless text only given meaning by being debated. Topicality debates are the opportunity to do that. Consider the rant over, but what you should take away is I love good T debates as rare as they are.
Theory: I’ll vote on it (see Topicality above to see how best to frame it), but would prefer not to. I tend to err negative on counterplan theory.
"Framework": I understand the strategic convenience of calling these arguments framework and dealing with them on one flow. Nevertheless, I find it remarkably sad that we are not (after several decades now) capable of reconginizing that there is value in the discussion of what happens in the hypothetical circumstances that the Federal Goverment passes plan and value in the discussion that there are problematic presuppositions that may inform the formation of that plan. I can understand that there is no such thing as fiat, neither I nor anyone else is mistaking you for the President or Congress; however, that does not mean that there is no reason to evaluate the consequences of what happens if the Federal Government does something. Conversely, this does not mean that the ethical ramifications of ideas or words should not also be discussed. In essence, these are Extra-Topicality arguments and/or a reason why your impacts outweigh the other team's.
Disads: Love em, Uniqueness is important, but not determinative. Yes, it’s hard to win zero risk of the disad, but propensity is as important (your job to debate this) if not more important (again, I’ll leave that to you all in the debate) than magnitude.
Counterplans: The most effective tools in the negative arsenal. Why don't you use them?
Kritiks: Great, this was the other 50% of my senior year 2nrs. I love it when you make your links specific to the aff (sometimes well done by making arguments on the case debate) and articulate more than just some ethereal concept as the alternative (however i will vote negative for a well articulated reason that the kritik argument turns case). When you do not do this, the Permutation often looks very attractive to me. In addition, it pays to read “disads” to the permutation and for the aff to read “disads” to the alt that do not link to the permutation.
Performance: Sure, but as with anything tell me why your ideas are better than the other team's. I'm not really cool with, I read a poem…it was about potato bugs of the East Antilles…poems are good…I win. I think that diversity of both people and argument is good, but I do not think that because you read something before the other team does, you win. Debate is about debating ideas; I do not care HOW you debate those ideas so long as you do so and do so better than the other team.
Case Debate: If I had my way, this is all that there would be, but I understand that it would put you as the negative at a great disadvantage. At this point in the season, there’s absolutely no excuse for not at least having something specific to case.
Do not be a jerk to the other team or your partner, I love a little well placed trash talk especially if it's funny, but don't be a jerk (it's your job to figure out where the line between these two is). Do not steal prep time. I'm pretty nice, so if you have any questions ask me.