Monday, September 20, 2010

Grapevine Results

Congratulations to distinguished UTNIF alumni...

Speaker Awards:
3.Cooper Shear (Heritage Hall HS) - UTNIF '9
4.Humza Tariq (Dulles TR) - UTNIF '10
11. Tanweer Rajwani (Dulles TR) - UTNIF '10

4. Dulles TR (Humza Tariq & Tanweer Rajwani)- UTNIF '10
5. Heritage Hall HS (Philip Holsted & Cooper Shear) - - UTNIF '9
11. Dulles HK (Faraz Hemani & Saad Khalid)- UTNIF '10
30. Westlake PD (Kevin Presley & Alexander Dzeda)- UTNIF '9/'10
32. Heritage Hall KH (Mac Kennedy & Ryan Haygood)- UTNIF '10

4. Dulles TR (Humza Tariq & Tanweer Rajwani)- UTNIF '10
11. Dulles HK (Faraz Hemani & Saad Khalid)- UTNIF '10
30. Westlake PD (Kevin Presley & Alexander Dzeda)- UTNIF '9/'10
32. Heritage Hall KH (Mac Kennedy & Ryan Haygood)- UTNIF '10

I don't know who was in finals... Joy of Tournaments results end w/ the Semi's debates.

Semifinalists/Finalists: ???
32. Heritage Hall KH (Mac Kennedy & Ryan Haygood)- UTNIF '10

Hope for the 2AR - How to win when the 1AR undercovers

I recently judged a debate that went down like this:

The 1NC consists of : 2 T arguments, an Agamben K, PTX, Executive Agency CP, Case. The negative has primarily gone for the DA/CP strategy in earlier prelims, but aren't so pinned down that going for the K would be impossible. Plus, since I am judging the debate, there was probably some sense by the Aff that they at least have to take the K somewhat seriously. The 2AC answers the arguments with appropriate division of time, seriousness of response, etc. The 2NC is PTX and the Executive agency CP. The 1nr is case and the K. Based on the depth of argument in the block, it seems pretty clear that the K is not the intended 2nr choice. Nothing is developed beyond very elementary/tag line extension of the 1nc argument. Even though quite a few cards are read by the 1nr, virtually nothing is said that demonstrates that the negative has tried to think about their argument in relation to this specific Aff. The 1AR, rightly, reads this as good reason to invest a substantial amount of time dealing with PTX and the CP. The 1AR gets a little bogged down though and ends up getting to the Agamben K with 30 seconds. She blazes through her extension of the 2ac arguments including the extension of a couple of 2ac cards that were read, a perm, an extinction outweighs because it is irreversible and is a prereq to value of life arg, and... TIME.

The 2NR recognizing the 1ARs weakness goes for the K, calls for strictness on the part of the judge in 2ar extrapolations of 1ar arguments etc. The 2AR gives their speech. Much/most of it is new. Some of it is not.

I spend much of my decision trying to figure out what I can allow of the 2ar and what should be axed from the get-go. After doing that, I determine that the aff has a single argument that was not new, that could win them the debate. The "extinction outweighs" argument is the aff's only hope. I then proceed to read the Neg's impact cards looking for any kind of ethics argument, pre-req arguments, or any other sort of argument that explains to me why I ought to prioritize the alt or the neg's impact. No such evidence exists. The 1NC impact card had been tagged as such, but, in the rush to diversify the 1NC (and to shorten the amount of time spent in the 1NC on the "B" strat) the negative had never actually read an impact card that let them make the "we o/w extinction" claim. No warrant exists for why the K impact comes first, other than the extension of the tag line and the 1NC evidence that supposedly makes the claim. I voted aff.

A couple of lessons here:

1. the 1nc shell matters. complete (even if short) arguments in the 1nc can make decisions for the 2nr much easier. When you don't know which arguments were constructed as throwaways, it can result in 2nr choices like this one. Probably the right thing to do when assessing the debate tactically, but it was the wrong thing to do when assessing the debate realistically/holistically.

2. Sometimes, even if the 1AR is really really undercovering an argument, you are BETTER OFF sticking with the A strat in the 2NR. Its hard to win when there just ain't nothin' to win with. If there's no "there" there, you will be hard pressed to get any judge to decide in your favor. (That's probably not true, I'm sure there are a lot of judges who are just looking at the debate almost exclusively in terms of their perception of tactical acumen. I am not one of those judges...)

After the debate, the 2ar recognized that this was a close one and that the Aff had barely eked it out. 2AR asks me: "what should a 2ar do when there is very little to go on from the 1ar? How can the 2ar recover and counter the perception that the entirety of the speech is new?"

Here were my suggestions:

The 2ar needs to counter the impression that the 2ar is new (even though inevitably it will be somewhat new.) There is always a disconnect in EVERY debate between what is said by a debater in a given speech and what was comprehensible by a judge during that speech. This is especially true for theory arguments, CP texts, etc. But it is also true, often, for the text of the cards themselves, which were read at a faster rate, w/o pauses, etc. than the Tags were read. Due to this disconnect, there is always some degree of reconstruction of the arguments after a debate. The moments where the judge finally figures out what was said/what was being contested between the debaters vs. what the judge originally heard to be said. (These moments of disconnect, in which the 4 debaters know more clearly what is being contested than the judge, have increased in frequency (I think) with the rise of paperless debate. The debaters have a record in front of their faces of what their opponents said, while the judge still relates to the debate with their ears.) In any case, my point is that in every debate there is an internal dialogue that the judge has with herself about what was said, what is a new nuance, what was appropriately emphasized, what arguments/nuance it is reasonable to expect a burden of rejoinder from the other team on, etc. The 2ar's job -always, but especially when the 1ar was slight- is to color the judges assessment of the arguments in the debate in such a way, that the arguments the Aff needs to win can sneak back into the judge's consideration. This IS NOT the same as making blatantly new arguments in the 2ar. You may not be able to go for "the K is non-unique" in an explicit way in the 2ar if the 1ar dropped this argument. But you may be able to use another argument to get the judge to consider, in some way shape or form, whether or not the aff causes anything bad to happen that isn't already happening. This is kinda sorta a UQ question and kinda sorta a question of specificity/linearity of impact. In this case, kinda sorta is better than nothing for an aff that is searching for any way to make a comparison of impacts that is favorable to the 1ac impact over the Neg's impact. Working in the realm of smuggling in these kinda sorta considerations is the real art of the 2ar.

Specific tips on how to succeed when the 1ar is slight are:

1. begin the 2ar overview w/whatever argument was covered the best by the 1ar. pretend that it is the central question of the debate. the categories of link, impact, uq, alt, etc in someways are made artificially distinct by debaters, when in reality, they all implicate one another. Use the area of contestation that you have covered the best to emphasize the strengths in the 1AR and to begin to beg the questions of the other categories of argument by innuendo.

2. blame the negative for the 1AR's undercoverage. Make it clear that the Negative's evidence, specificity of explanation was so poor that the 1ar lightness was justified.

3. Use any hint of a new-ish explanation in the 2nr to justify new-ish answers on your own part. Listen closely for any phrase, nuance, subtle example or explanation by the 2nr that hasn't been used in the debate before. Answer that argument directly. Use the phrasing of the 2nr exactly in referencing the argument so that there is no doubt in the judges mind that you are answering the new nuance. Make comparisons that are favorable to the aff that you might have been restrained from making if you were trying to tie your speech to 1ar arguments exclusively.

4. After the overview, stick to the 1ar order exactly. Any phrases or words that the 1ar said should be repeated by the 2ar and inserted into the arguments you need to make. Even if it was just a few simple words, the repetition and connection to the words of the 2ar can make the 2ar feel like a more organic out growth of 1ar arguments.

5.Use the language of the 2ac word for word. It reminds the judge of the "substance" of the 1ar extensions. Especially if the neg block was bad about answering the specifics of the 2ac arguments, use that as a reason to justify the 1ar time allocation. Your job here is to revive 2ac answers by repeating the warrants and making it clear that even though the 1ar didn't repeat those warrants textually in the 1ar, the warrants from the 2ac should still be considered because they were present in the 1ar "by extension."

6. Any and all evidence extended by the 1AR should be gone over with a fine tooth comb by the Aff during 2AR prep. Look for words/phrases/sentences that were read in the 2AC but maybe weren't really emphasized. Look for sentences in that evidence that reintroduce into the debate "dropped" arguments. Or, at least introduce into the debate arguments that are in the same category as the dropped arguments (e.g. link answers, arguments that suggest the alt and the plan don't really compete, etc.).

7. In the 2ar read slowly and comprehensibly portions of 2ac evidence (if the ev was extended by the 1ar) that help you reintroduce comparisons that give the aff a leg up. Reading evidence in a debate comprehensibly can really change the way that a judge assesses a piece of evidence when they read it after the round. If a specific argument is in a card and everyone heard it and flowed it and it is then referred to specifically in the last rebuttal, most judges will not say "that argument wasn't the tag of the card, so i'm not going to consider it." However, if you read a piece of evidence incomprehensibly and then "extend" it by saying, "Jones 08 answers this", most judges will not try to figure out which part of Jones answers this. That said, if you've read a piece of evidence in the 2ac, the 1ar extends it, the 2nr says the 1ar didn't warrant the extension, and the 2ar says "the block never answered the warrants in the original 2ac evidence and here's what they were...and then proceeds to read the evidence slowly and clearly" The 2ar may have just succeeded in resurrecting enough argumentation to win themselves a debate that looked lost because of 1ar tactical mishaps.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Greenhill/Wake Forest congratulations

Congratulations to all of those who did well last weekend at Greenhill and Wake Forest.

Special congratulations to these UTNIF alumni:

-Dulles KR (Saad Khalid UTNIF 10 & Tanweer Rajwani UTNIF 10) Doubles
-Kinkaid bb (nikhil bontha & robert Baldwin UTNIF 08) Quarters
-Kinkaid dR (vivek datla & Zach Rosenthal UTNIF 09) Doubles
-Saint Francis High Sc AP (Ish Arora & Sanjana Parikh UTNIF 10) Doubles

Wake Forest
-Georgetown Day KL (Joe Krakoff UTNIF 09 & Ben Levy) Closed out Finals
-Beacon SO (Evan Sweet UTNIF 10 and Henry Osman UTNIF 10) Doubles
-Beacon GG (Eli Gold and Jonah Garnick UTNIF 10) Doubles
-Mountain Brook DS (Russell Day and Philippa Straus UTNIF 10)Doubles

Congratulations also to UTNIF teaching staff John Hines and Daniel Sharp, whose teams College Prep PT and PY advanced to the Doubles and Octafinals respectively.

Also, congratulations to UTNIF lab leader Nick Fiori for coaching Damien GF to the semifinals!