David Gobberdiel -- Oak Park River Forest

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Judging philosophy:

Current school affiliation: Oak Park River Forest (Oak Park, IL) -- 2007-Current

Debated at: Valley High School (West Des Moines, IA) -- 2003-2007

Rounds judged this year (2010-2011/Military Presence): About 30

I debated for four years in high school and now coach the Oak Park-River Forest program while at the University of Chicago. I take a very active role in coaching and try to keep as up to date as possible with what is very current on the topic itself, politics surrounding the topic, the world at large, and, of course, the latest publications in critical theory (yes, critiques can be new, contextual, and pertinent).

This is my fourth year judging high school debate. I enjoyed a considerable amount of critical debate when I was debating in high school. That said, except for being marginally better read in critical theory than some, this shouldn't impact your debate style. I learn something new in debate every day, which is why I love it and hope that it will always be a forum of disparate views and opinions on whatever the topic may be. Debate is a game which, when well played, allows you the pedagogical space to articulate just about anything within reason. Like any valuable judge, my goal is to approach the round without any predisposition to one argument philosophy over another.

I encourage questions before the debate about specific argument interaction, intricacies of how I evaluate various positions, and anything else.

Topicality: I tend to default to a framework of competing interpretations and like to see strongly contextual evidential support for whatever interpretation you are trying to articulate. While interesting, cards that define substantial in the context of payments to cab drivers are vague and a simple reasonability argument becomes compelling… That said, if you are fundamentally and technically winning a T debate, the quality of your evidence does not necessarily interest me. That the community seems to be heading in a particular direction with viable affirmatives or that the "core of the topic" has already been established has always seemed counter-intuitive to me. Stick to your interpretation, defend it as educational, and treat T as contextual to the round like any other issue. The purpose of varying takes on the resolution is to explore even those segments and sections of the literature which the community may have arbitrarily limited.

CP/DA: The specific counter-plan, be it a PIC or advantage specific, coupled with a specific DA that the CP clearly avoids is an underrated and compelling strategy which gets to the core of what policy debate is fundamentally about. I am not adverse to more generic debates; specificity will be rewarded, absurdity will not. I do not think it is beneficial to read arguments because you "needed something more to say" in the 1NC or are looking for a quick time trade-off. Smart teams can and should write-off dis-ads that are shaky on the link level to the point that they are clearly intended to be positions "they won't have blocks to." Smart block debaters will be making both intelligible impact comparisons in the context of their 1NC and will be utilizing additional external impact scenarios to deal with specific advantages or to garner external offense against the case.

Critiques: Perfectly acceptable. That said, I like getting a sense that you have some idea of what you’re talking about—convoluted K debate is outright painful to watch. I find that most framework debates become a tedious, roundabout way of getting to the conclusion that “we get our impacts too.” So, save everyone some time, and, if you’re getting where you need to be with your impact debate, leave the framework debate alone. Unless you have a particular, offensive reason that the other team shouldn’t get any of their impacts, I don’t usually see framework debates as a round-deciding issue. Again, specificity will be rewarded; I am talking about link work and alternative work. If you don't understand why the framework and alternative should fundamentally be the same thing, then you had best better understand your argument. The 1AC is a great place to garner specific rhetorical and representational link examples--these should be integral to any effective critique strategy. The affirmative, in my opinion, is generally best served by focus on specific offense against the alternative and being smart about what a perm would actually look like--this is where the literature that most people read garners meaningful commentary which the affirmative should be able to leverage. The best perms should have well articulated net-benefits which fundamentally interact with offense on the alternative and a pragmatic defense of the 1AC.

Theory generally: Make it clear and make it mean something. I hate nothing more than an incomprehensible block-spewing war. Specific, in-round abuse should be articulated if it's a reason to reject the team. If you want me to vote on theory then, excepting for an outright concession of theoretical objections, I’d best hear mostly theory in your last rebuttal. Ten seconds at the bottom of the 2NR will not win you the round. Conditionality and neg flex are generally good things in my book, but don't take it too far.

Last update: December 14, 2010

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