Virginia Craig Invitational MoState
2018 — Springfield, MO/US
Joseph Cross Paradigm
Alex McVey Paradigm
Alex McVey -
Yes Email chain - j.alexander.mcvey at gmail
I flow on paper. I need pen time. Clarity is really important to me. I'll always say "clear" if I think you're not being clear, at least 1-2 times. If you don't respond accordingly, the debate probably won't end well for you.
I find myself increasingly making decisions on the basis of the quality of rebuttal warrant explanation and impact comparison. It's really important to me that you're not just extending your evidence, but explaining the internal warrants of your evidence, telling a clear and compelling story, and telling me why these things matter. I find that the more I judge debates, I'm reading less and less evidence, and relying more and more on 2nr vs 2ar explanation and impact calculus. If there are cards that you want me to pay attention to in particular, you should call the card out by name in the last rebuttal, and explain some of its internal warrants. Debaters who make lots of "even if" statements, who tell me what matters and why, who condense the debate down to the most important issues, and who do in depth impact calculus seem to be winning my ballots more often than not.
I have always leaned toward the K side of things, and almost exclusively cut K cards, but have also coached very policy oriented teams, again, mostly helping them to answer K stuff.
Run what you're good at. Despite my K leaning tendencies, I’m comfortable watching a good straight up debate. I’ve seen a number of debates where the block focused on a kritik that the aff thoroughly covered and left behind what seemed to be a good undercovered disad/cp strat in order to adapt to me as a judge. Didn't think it was necessary.
Theoretical issues: Blippy, scatter-shot theory means little, well-developed, well-impacted theory means a lot. Again, pen time good.
I have no hard and set rules about whether affs do or don't have to have plans, and am open to hearing all types of affs and all types of framework arguments for/against these affs. Against planless/non-topical affs, I tend to think topicality arguments are generally more persuasive than framework arguments. Or rather, I think a framework argument without a topicality argument probably doesn't have a link. I'm not sure what the link is to most "policy/political action good" type framework arguments if you don't win a T argument that says the focus of the resolution has to be USFG policy. I think all of these debates are ultimately just a question of link, impact, and solvency comparison.
I tend to be expressive when I judge debates. I don't really try to have a poker face. Nodding = I'm getting it, into your flow, not necessarily that it's a winner. Frowny/frustrated face = maybe not getting it, could be a better way to say it, maybe don't like what you're doing. But please, don't let that deter you from your strat because I vote for plenty things that frustrate me while I'm hearing them executed, and vote down plenty of things that excite me when first executed. All about how it unfolds.
I tend to err on truth over tech, with a few exceptions. Dropping round-winners/game-changers like the permutation, entire theoretical issues, the floating PIC, T version of the aff/do it on the neg, etc... will be much harder (but not impossible) to overcome with embedded clash. That being said, if you DO find yourself having dropped one of these, I'm open to explanations for why you should get new arguments, why something else that was said was actually responsive, etc... It just makes your burden for work on these issues much much more difficult.
Be wary of conflating impacts, especially in K debates. For example, If their impact is antiblackness, and your impact is racism, and you debate as if those impacts are the same and you're just trying to win a better internal link, you're gonna have a bad time.
I intuitively don't agree with "No perms in a method debate" and "No Plan = No Perm" arguments. My thinking on this is that these arguments are usually enthymematic with framework; there is usually an unstated premise that the aff did something which skews competition to such a degree that it justifies a change in competitive framework. It makes more sense for me for the neg to just win a framework argument. That being said, I vote for things that don't make intuitive sense to me all the time. I'm interested in hearing arguments about how competition shifts in response to various conditions of aff and neg argumentation, I just tend to think those are arguments about the permutation rather than reasons the aff doesn't get one.
I like debate arguments that involve metaphors, fiction, stories, and thought experiments. What I don't understand is teams on either side pretending as if a metaphor or thought experiment is literal and defending or attacking it as such. I think there's value to recognizing the rhetorical and philosophical work of a metaphor, story, or fictional thought experiment and its capacities to affect us in round, and treating it as such. I feel like the perceived need to externalize debate politics pushes people to literalize metaphors which takes away from the powerful intervention into thought that those metaphors otherwise could perform.
A nested concern with that above - I don't really understand a lot of these "we meets" on Framework that obviously non-topical affs make. I/E - "We're a discursive/affective/symbolic/psychoanalytic restriction on Presidential Power" - Nope. You're really not. You aren't restricting pres powers, and I'm cool with it, just be honest about what the research and academic labor in the 1ac actually does. I think Neg teams give affs too much leeway on this, and K Affs waste too much time on making these nonsensical (and ultimately defensive) arguments. If you don't have a plan, just impact turn T. You can make other args about why you solve topic education and why you discuss core topic controversies while still being honest about the fact that you aren't topical and impact turn the neg's attempt to require you to be such.
RIP impact calculus. I'd love to see it make a comeback.
I think affs are a little shy about going for condo bad in front of me. I generally think Condo is OK but negatives have gotten a bit out of control with it. I don't think condo is an all or nothing debate - i/e I disagree intuitively with the claim that "If any condo is good, all condo is good." I think the more specific the aff's condo bad story is, the more likely I am to vote for it - I/E I could easily see myself being persuaded by arguments like contradictory condo uniquely bad, multiple plank condo uniquely bad, condo consult/conditions CP's uniquely bad, neg gets 1 CP, 1 K, and the squo, etc... I do think there's a difference between 5 conditional CP's and one conditional CP, even if it's an arbitrary one. I guess I know it when I see it? Or rather, I know it when affs highlight specific abuse scenarios. Not like any of these are auto winners - I'm happy to vote for flagrant condo proliferation if the neg justifies it. I just don't think affs are making negs work hard enough on these debates.
I think negs are a little shy about making fun of 1ac construction in front of me. I saw a few truly bad affirmatives last year. Examples I had in mind are kritik affirmatives that are a random smattering of cards that have little to do with one another. I tend to think kritik affirmatives, even if not topical/blatantly planless, should have some sort of inherency, harms, solvency structure, where they identify a problem with a mode of thinking/structure of power/squo ideology, offer an alternative method of thinking / acting in the world, and claim why that alternative method is good. If your kritik affirmative has no logical argumentative through line, I'm unlikely to find it very persuasive. However, I feel like negative's rarely ever press on this, and allow affirmatives to get away with ludicrous 2AC explanations that are nearly impossible to trace back to the cards and story presented in the 1ac. More 1nc analytical arguments about why the aff just doesn't make sense would be welcome from this judge.
Be kind to one another. We're all in this together.