[eDebate] Elizabeth Gedmark Judge Philosophy

Elizabeth Gedmark elizabeth.gedmark
Fri Nov 10 21:13:52 CST 2006

Elizabeth Gedmark

Judge Philosophy


Note to debaters:  I know that this is late and I'm sorry you couldn't see
this before filling out pref sheets, but hopefully this will help you adapt
during the debate. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask
me before the debate. I would be happy to explain further anything I have
written here. Although, I do like debates to start on time so come early if
you have questions, or my answers will have to be very brief.

*General:* I debated at Wake Forest for four years and graduated in May '06.
I've been working in Winston-Salem on a psychology grant since then. I am a
young judge, but also a very hardworking one.

I have not done research on this topic. Please keep in mind that I will
probably not know specific authors or acronyms. Especially keep this in mind
for Topicality. Also, most of my debate work over the years was on foreign
policy topics, so it wouldn't hurt to explain advantages and disadvantages
that are new to this year. However, don't let that deter you from topic/case
specific arguments, those are my favorite kind, especially case specific

I try to always read cards through a lens of the way they were presented in
the debate. This means that a great card can become bad if it was poorly
extended. It also means that a card which might not be that great can become
better if it is explained with logic, or supported by qualifications. I
would almost always rather listen to a well thought out, logical analytical
argument than a one-sentence blippy card. Hand me a bunch of cards where the
highlighting doesn't even make grammatical sense and I will hand them back
to you. I would say I have really high standards in what makes a quality
card. I also like to actually listen to cards so don't be unclear during
them. Indicting the other team's evidence will get you everywhere.

I am not a fan of the strategy to throw everything against the wall and see
what sticks. In my eyes, strategies should be specific and logical.

I love tricks, not cheap shots, not anything dirty or cheating- but
interested clever strategic tricks. To be less vague- I always appreciate
when someone looks at every sheet of paper and realizes that a concession on
one page benefits them on another.

Cross-ex is also very important to me and should not be wasted. It is so
important that I would consider accepting a new argument in the rebuttals if
it was asked in CX and never properly answered.

*Theory:* I come from the Ross Smith school that not much is really a voting
issue, its only a reason to reject the argument (excluding Topicality and
true Aff conditionality). Hence, I tend to err negative on most theory
arguments. I always found the most compelling argument against the negative
to be the argument that coherent strategies are very important to debate.

I actually really enjoy good theory debates. What makes them good is when
the arguments are tailored to the current debate topic and to the specific
round. To me, making a generic theory argument like "literature checks" is
as bad as reading a totally generic link to a disadvantage. I never used
theory blocks when I debated for that reason. For example, I really liked
Scott Phillips' argument that the states CP was not legitimate on the energy
topic because the phrase "non-governmental" in the resolution prevented
people from running cases that only dealt with the federal government. On
the education topic people could just fix up DC schools and have a pretty
devastating solvency argument against states, but since Affs were restricted
to non-government on the energy topic, states had an unfair advantage.**

*Kritiks:* I think that some of my psychology work has made me more open to
kritiks than I was during my debating years. Specifically, cognitive
dissonance theory has made me a bit wary of the possible ethical benefits of
switch side debate. However, that being said I am very concerned about
fairness. I lean toward the Aff defending government action and a written

I will definitely listen to various reasons why something may or may not be
predictable (from both sides). I think that something you advocate should be
controversial, this is for many reasons, but fairness being a main one. For
example, I don't think that anyone should have to debate "we should take a
comic interpretation of the apocalypse." This is neither predictable, nor
controversial (if you are confused, then you might not understand the
argument- ask Idaho State or Ken Strange, its really not controversial
though, I promise).

Stylistically speaking, my favorite Kritik debater was Goof Garen. I like it
when complex ideas are presented through slower speaking, analogies, pop
culture references, and lengthy explanations. This applies to other complex
ideas like certain economic theory as well, but that doesn't seem to come up
as much as Agamben. This means I would actually like an explanation of what
bare life is and what it means in the context of the round.

P.S. If you hand me a card that you didn't explain, that uses a ton of
French or made up words, I might just throw it away. That is my pet peeve:
kritik cards cut without context. There is a reason one or two ideas take up
a whole book, it's because usually one paragraph won't sum it up.

*Style:* Be clear!

Do not be mean, especially to your partner. There is a thin line between
being funny or assertive and being mean. If you do not know where that line
is, then err on the side of being nice. I will lower your speaker points.

I will disclose your speaker points if you would like. I take them very
seriously since they were a huge factor in my debate career. I think about
them very hard and for that reason will discuss with you why you were given
what you were. However, many people are not comfortable being told their
speaker points. Therefore, I am leaving the burden on you to ask me
privately what your points were and why. Please don't feel pressured to ask
me, keep in mind: "if I am not happy about what I hear, will it affect my
confidence or my debating?" If the answer is yes, then wait until you get
the packet and I'll be happy to discuss it with you then. I use the scale
that Ross Smith posted to edebate last year: i.e. 28 is average.
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