Harvard Westlake Debates
2019 — Los Angeles, CA/US
William Berlin Paradigm
I debated for 6 years at Harvard-Westlake, graduating in 2019, and am currently a freshman at USC majoring in Business Administration with expected minors in Risk Management and Photography but do not debate. As a result, my influences in debate include Mike Bietz, Scott Phillips and Jasmine Stidham, as well as the teammates I graduated with whom I feel obligated to shout out, being Vishan Chaudhary, Ari Davidson (Warning: Large stylistic differences), Matthew Gross and Spencer Paul. I was also influenced quite a bit by the outstanding lab leaders I had at Debate.LA, including Jenny Achten, Joel Lemuel and Brian McBride.
I'm well aware that long paradigms are generally useless for before round purposes. I tried to keep it short but debate is complicated and people may want the opportunity to hear more of my thoughts before a tournament. Refer to bolded words for mega abridged, pre-round version.
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I tend to decide debates very quickly/as quickly as possible. This is not because I don't care enough to give you the time and energy you clearly deserve. This is because I don't believe the judge should be doing too much work so if there's a side I feel I should vote for after the speeches, I'm probably just going to check my flows to make sure I didn't ignore something of glaring importance and then vote. Much like how often after a speech a debater can get a vibe for if they've won or not, I generally can feel this as a judge too. What does this mean for you? Be sure you give clear judge directions in your later speeches and tell me the really important issues and arguments you are using to win the round. The more obscured your NR/2AR strategy is to me, the more likely I am to not comprehend the entirety of its nuance or truth value that you feel warrants the ballot.
I try to intervene as little as possible in my decision making, as good judges should, about will possibly take out my frustration through speaker points if I feel I'm voting on something really lame. Throughout my career, the sheer quantity of 2-1 decisions I saw really put into perspective how this activity is at its core subjective, despite our wishes for it to not be. That being said, everything said in Argument Specific Stuff is ways in which the way you argue may agree or disagree with me personally, which may subconsciously affect my decision making, as I am a human being.
I will call clear on you if I'm not getting it. If I have to do this repeatedly I will grow frustrated. Slow down on your tags and your author names, especially if you're going to be referencing cards by author name in the rebuttals. I like to be able to tell when you're moving from card to card, and this, along with numbering, is the best way to do it. I will not flow off the doc unless I feel I didn't catch you because of something outside of your control.
Prep ends when the doc is compiled or you are done prepping. Sending the email is not on prep but if I feel you are taking too long or stealing prep I will be angry.
I will never give a 30, there is no cap on perfection. A 29.9 is received when a speech is so good I don't know how to suggest to improve it, but it could theoretically be better so it doesn't get a 30.
I have been alleged by some to be a pretty funny guy and would appreciate some humor here or there which could possibly be compensated with a slight speaks bump. I never gave extremely robotic technical speeches, so I like to hear some personality in the round. I hate UCLA and Notre Dame. Politically, I lean libertarian so it would be cool to hear some policy arguments leaning in that direction, a rare occurrence in the majority liberal debate community. Please note I do not mean I want to hear the Libertarianism Kant NC. Quite the opposite actually.
I am unwilling to accept the liability of minors disclosing any form of assault or abuse to me. If this occurs I will stop the round immediately and inform real adults who are mandatory reporters. Please just don't make this a part of the round, as it puts everyone in the room in an awkward emotional and legal situation. If you need to talk to someone, although I can theoretically assist you, please just turn to any of the real adults at a debate tournament who I would just direct you towards anyways.
Argument Specific Stuff:
I was relatively flex, reading mostly policy stuff with some Ks.
All the policy args are fine. I think its a freezing cold take that a DA with higher truth value is refreshing, but I as a judge will give any DA full credence and vote on it as such until the Aff tells me why I shouldn't. I think Phillips had this on his paradigm at one time, or maybe he just said it to me or maybe I'm just going crazy, but if an argument from one team is short, blippy and bad, then the other team should not feel obligated to, and will likely lose the round if they, give it the same amount of time as a good argument. If you have just a few strong arguments on a dumb one, and you look up and can tell I'm liking what your saying, don't be afraid to move on.
I like a creative counterplan quite a bit, but don't go too far. The Aff team should not be afraid if theory is the A-strat against weird and abusive counterplans. If a counterplan sounds heinous to you and you don't know how to generate responses, it probably sounds heinous to me too, so articulate that.
On T, I like to see good evidence comparison on the definitions, otherwise it becomes very difficult to resolve. Having been the victim of many *creatively* worded topics throughout my career, I am capable of being persuaded that semantics should not come first. In order to do this you must prove why your model is good not only for the education in the specific round but also good for the topic and distribution of affs as a whole. This isn't to say you should go for reasons why your aff specifically gets to break the rules, rather you should propose reasons about why a strict interpretation of the wording of the topic is bad for the health of the topic as a whole, likely because it is excluding your aff which is a core of the discussion. An example of this is how the community majority believed that arm sales were not topical on the 2019 Jan-Feb topic, but the topic was obviously better with their inclusion.
On theory, I default to drop the argument on everything except conditionality and disclosure* and it will be very difficult to convince me to drop the debater on anything else. *Disclosure is obviously a big term and every case is different, so in some instances where I sense limited foul play I may be able to be persuaded to drop the argument, but this is really dependent on what happened in round. Theory on really mall stuff with near no proven in round abuse will likely be written off by me after the slightest of responses, especially if it's drop the debater.
On framework, I'll obviously listen to both sides of the framework debate but I must warn that I tend to believe that Affs should defend the topic. That being said, my job is to vote for the winning debater, which I fully intend to do, but you may be fighting an uphill battle in convincing me you have won as the Aff team on framework. I do believe procedural fairness is a voter. Aff teams choosing to not defend the topic should make arguments about why their chosen subject matter/style of debate is good/important, while also making arguments about why traditional debate/the topic is bad. Since non-T affs disrupt my standard methods of analyzing rounds, I need the 1AC to provide me with some sort of direction on what counts as offense and how I should evaluate it. I find cheeky I meets from the aff team to be annoying and a waste of their time. If you're obviously not defending the topic, don't try, you're just wasting your time. I'm also a big fan of PICs against non-T affs. If the aff team gets to choose to debate whatever they want then they should be able to defend the entire content of the aff from pics. Ks are also obviously a valid strategy against non-T affs.
On Ks, I'm not very well versed in post-modernism and will be unlikely to vote on it unless I get a clear story. My main issue with pomo is I often feel the impact never gets articulated as something without jargon that a normal person can understand, which as a result makes it very difficult for me to care enough about the arguments to vote on them. I would also very much appreciate an articulation of the alt in plain English and a good link story, those two things holding true for all k debate. I consider myself a pretty practical guy and am definitely not enamored by critical leftist theory like many, so arguments on Ks which take a step back and call into question the actions of an alternative from a more realistic standpoint are persuasive to me.
I'm really not into phil and think utilitarianism is the best model for debate and the only logical model for policy makers. So if you are to defend a non-consequentialist framework, you need to be able to explain why this theory is good for policy makers, not just rational actors, or else you're going to lose to arguments about how debate is about policy. On util, I am very open to listening to debates about what kind of impacts should be prioritized but will default to epistemic modesty if there is no debate about it.
Tricks are for kids. This at the bottom because tricks are the lowest form of argumentation.
Vishan Chaudhary Paradigm
Joe Coffey Paradigm
Kristin Eisner Paradigm
Debbie Fleming Paradigm
Jessa Glassman Paradigm
Andrew Gong Paradigm
Hi! I'm Andrew, a junior at Harvard-Westlake. I've been doing LD for 4 years.
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I'm fine for any argument, don't let my personal style dictate what args you run (except for tricks, don't read tricks). Speed is fine, but obviously be clear.
K affs: I've never read them but I'm sympathetic to them. Just due to how I personally debate, I'm probably about 60% in favor of framework in these debates and 40% for the aff, but obviously the debate is still very winnable for the K aff. I think fairness is an internal link, not an impact, but I'm willing to be persuaded otherwise.
CP/DA: I read them almost every round, I like them. I'll read evidence if you tell me to. I'm honestly still undecided on condo/PICs good/bad, so I'm down for a good theory debate in either direction. I like impact turns.
K: I don't read them as often anymore (I probably read like 1 K a tournament nowawadays, but I used to read them every other round). That being said, I have tons of experience running/answering them in years past, and honestly K debate can be more enjoyable to watch than policy args. I know a decent amount about a wide range of K lit, but I don't have an in-depth understanding of any one K in particular, so you still have to explain concepts well - anything from cap, to afropess, to pomo is fine. Identity debate is cool, but I don't think the ballot should be solely a referendum on identity - debate should be about ideas before people.
T: It's cool and I'll judge it, I don't really have any opinions. My only notable thought on T: I want to clarify what reasonability means to me - if you win reasonability, then I'll ignore any offense connected to either team's interp, and instead just evaluate in-round abuse. If you're going for reasonability then you should debate about why you were reasonable, not your interp. If you want me to evaluate reasonability as the usual "if you win some defense you're good" I can do that too, but it's not my default.
Rachel Jenkins Paradigm
Spencer Klink Paradigm
Jaya Nayar Paradigm
I = debater for Harvard-Westlake. For email chains add me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Theory: sure, whatever, plz no friv theory (major dislike)
Trisha Ngo Paradigm
I prefer no spreading.
Framework- Framework debates are fine, but please understand that I care more about substance. It does not matter what the framework is as long as there is substantial justification.
Impacts are very important to me. Make sure you articulate these well.
Be nice during the round. I do deduct speaker points in the case of rudeness.
Please add me to an email chain before the round starts; my email is email@example.com.
Spencer Paul Paradigm
Nathan Russell Paradigm
Hello my name is Nathan Russell. I am a debater at Harvard-Westlake School.
I will be judging only novice debates, so I don't see a need for any extensive comments about my views on debate.
Please be nice to your opponents and use all of your speech time.
I will decide the round based on the arguments made in the debate that I have written on my flow. My decision can be made much easier by explicit impact calculus and line by line.
I don't think you need a value/value-criterion but feel free to debate in whatever style you like provided you speak in a way that I can understand.
Feel free to ask any other questions before the debate.
If you are going to have an email chain for your round please add me firstname.lastname@example.org
Hope Shinderman Paradigm
Weimin Si Paradigm
I am looking for topical phil or policy on policy debate, so I won't be voting on a Kritik or any high theory argument and expect to listen to moderately paced speeches. However, I have experience judging varsity and junior varsity policy debate having judged for multiple league tournaments.
With that being said, please make your debates about the resolution. That means I will buy topicality arguments on the negative side as long as the interpretations and standards are fleshed out. I will also consider theory arguments such as prep skew if they are within reason. All in all, I will try not to bring any bias into the round, value tech over truth, and would like to judge rounds with clash.