Mythbusters take on English Composition Theories
I decided to do this paper using the third prompt. The characters I'm doing are from the Discover Channel show Mythbusters where Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman, along with Build Team members Kari Byron, Tory Belleci, and Grant Imahara try to bust urban myths, legends, and folk sayings. On the show, there are 3 different ways a myth can end: Busted, Plausible, or Confirmed. On the Discovery Channel fan site for the show, fans can actually post myths and things to hopefully go on the show. I am typing this out as a whole episode, so that includes the intro. Also, Jamie runs M5 Industries, a movie special effects workshop.
Adam: Please don't try anything you're about to see at home.
Jamie: That's right. We're what you call experts.
Adam: We do this for a living.
(Voiceover-Intro and all voiceovers done here by Bob Lee, US Narrator) Lee: On this episode of Mythbusters, Adam and Jamie solve the myths of the English Composition theories. Who are the Mythbusters? Adam Savage-
(Cut to shot of Adam) Adam: I reject your reality and substitute my own
Lee: ...Jamie Hyneman.
(Cut to shot of Jamie) Jamie: Aren't tracer rounds illegal?
Lee: Between them, more then 30 years of special effects experience.
(Cut to: car crashes into jersey barriers...cut to Adam cheering)
Adam: THAT'S what I'm talkin' about!
Lee: Joining them: Kari Byron
(Cut to shot of Kari mostly in chicken suit) Kari: Don't try this at home
Lee: Tory Belleci
(Cut to shot of Tory carrying a long black box) Tory: Did someone order some exploding pants?
Lee: and Grant Imahara
(Cut to shot of Grant pumping what looks like a bicycle pump in a twisting pool of water, in which is he about knee deep) Grant: I'm pumping as fast as I can!
Lee: They don't just tell the myths, they put them to the test!
(Cut to the drawing board table, with a view of the blue paper that the words: English Composition theories written on it. Pan up to see Adam and Jamie there. There are English Composition books around them, one of which Adam has his nose into.)
Jamie: Adam, why do we have English Composition books around? Neither of us is in college and none of the build team is either.
Adam: (closes book) Well, Jamie, this one actually came from the fan site. A couple of fans have wondered which modern composition theory works the best out of Current Traditionalism Rhetoric, Expressionism, and Social Constructivist Rhetoric.
Jamie: No explosions? This should be easy.
Adam: I have a feeling that this will end up harder then it looks.
Jamie: From prior experience?
Adam: Of course. This is Mythbusters. With just the three, should we let the Build Team do this?
Jamie: We could. One of us should probably stay as a neutral party.
Adam: You'd be good at that. I could probably see how well the three work together.
Jamie: Sounds good.
(Scene break with pic of Adam and Jamie against blue background with the word 'Mythbusters' across the bottom. Return to drawing board table, only this time the Build Team-Tory, Kari, and Grant-are with Adam and Jamie.)
Grant: Let me get this straight. We're doing English Composition Theories?
Jamie: Yes. The myth that each of the theories have been bouncing around is that each works best by itself. The three that were suggested to us are: Current Traditionalist Rhetoric
Kari (moving hands around): That's the real formal stuff that they try to get you to use in grade school, isn't it?
Adam: Yes. Then there is Expressionism.
Grant: No restrictions, right?
Jamie: Exactly. The third is Social Constructivist Rhetoric.
Tory: What's that? Never mind. That's our job.
Grant: This should be interesting.
Adam: So, how do you guys want to split this up?
Kari: I could take the Social Constructivist Rhetoric.
Adam: Sounds good.
Grant: I'll take the Expressionism.
Tory: That leaves the Current Traditionalist Rhetoric for me. (shrugs) Sounds like a plan.
Jamie: Good luck.
Lee: While Adam goes off to do research on his own and Jamie doing something for M5 Industries, Grant, Tory, and Kari head to the Library to see what they can find on their own.
(Cut to the San Francisco Public Library. Grant, Tory, and Kari are referencing books. Adam comes up.)
Adam: How's it going?
Kari: It's driving me crazy! I can understand Zebroski a bit at first, but Foucault's Discourse on Language is kinda hard to understand. They both seem to be driving at the same thing, which is that self is very important to writing, but Zebroski has more of a simplistic way of writing it. They seem to be focused on writing for the audience.
Grant: That's interesting that you say that, Kari. Expressionism is about self as well, but it seems that the Expressionists feel that we, as adults, do not have a "real voice" when we write, but we did as children. This is most prominent in Elbow. He also felt that we should practice letting our "real voice" come out when we write. To quote Elbow's How To Get Power Through Voice, as he says in his opening paragraph, "People often lack any voice at all in their writing, even fake voice, because they stop so often in the act of writing a sentence and worry and change their minds about which words to use."
Tory: With Current Traditional Rhetoric, it takes me back to grade school and high school English, where the teachers would make you follow those rules or else. Interestingly enough, this movement started back in the mid-1800's, during the time of the Transcendental movement. It started as a way of updating rules of writing that hadn't really been updated since the time of the Ancient Greeks-like Plato and Aristotle. They seem to think that if you can't write like the Shakespeare and the other great authors and playwrights, then they would teach you how to appreciate them. They also seem the most focused on the actual writing part of it.
Grant: Funny you should bring up the Transcendental movement, Tory. While most people would consider Expressionism as coming later then the Current Traditional movement, it actually pre-dates it as a part of the Transcendental movement. They were all about being yourself, much like the Expressionists.
Adam: So, research done?
Grant: Research done!
Lee: With all their research done, Adam and the Build Team report back to M5, where Jamie is awaiting the results.
(Cut back to drawing board room.)
Jamie: So, Tory. Current Traditional Rhetoric: Busted, Plausible, or Confirmed?
Tory: I would defiantly say busted for standing alone. The reason is this: it has too many rules and regulations on how to write that it would discourage writers before they even start. By the time kids get to high school and college, they don't really like writing papers in that style.
Kari: I don't know if I would say the same for Social Constructivist Rhetoric. It's a toss-up between busted and plausible. I say busted for the same reasons that Tory gave. While I understand that there are writers out there who can write for the social world, it's defiantly not something I think would be easy to write either. That's my reason for plausible.
Grant: Expressionism is plausible. It seems to me that the Expressionist movement is what more and more colleges seem to be pushing, which is a good thing for college students. The biggest problem that I found was there weren't enough rules. Elbow suggested that writers write in their real voice first, then go back and edit if they want to-or toss it in the trash can.
Jamie: Sounds like your kind of writing style, Adam.
Adam: Sure does.
Jamie: Interesting. So the count is 1 busted, 1 both busted and plausible and one plausible?
Adam: Interestingly enough, while these three theories may not be able to stand up on their own all that well, they could work very well together. I would say that the myth of the theories being able to stand on their own is totally busted.
Jamie: Well, what about working together?
Adam: Completely confirmed. In my opinion, the best kinds of writers combine all three theories.
(Cut to a view of a floor. 2 rectangular pieces of metal are tossed down on the floor. One has "Busted" on it, the other "Confirmed". Cut back to drawing room.)
Grant: Think someone should warn the Discovery board leaders?
Jamie: Sure. Just in case English Composition purists flood the board.
(End Credits start rolling.)