Philosophers on a 21st Century Podcast
"Now, Holden, is that how we sustain effective dialogue?"
Over four days, Holden Caulfield (the main character in the book Catcher in the Rye), Socrates (a Greek philosopher), Paulo Freire (a Brazilian philosopher), and Young Jamie (personnel from the Joe Rogan Podcast) got together via Zoom and put together a play for my writing course. Here's how it worked out:
Day 1: Receiving the assignment
It's a regular afternoon; the sun is shining, and my Zoom is updating. I'm ready to join my afternoon writing class focused on the philosophy of education. We finished all of the assigned Plato and Paulo Freire readings, so I assumed we would only have to finish our oral presentations. As all of the students finished speaking, and we were ready to log off, our professor halts us with a grin on her face. "What is going on…" I thought to myself.
"Now it's time for a surprise," the professor says with glee. As you may have guessed, the surprise was the group play assignment. We were split into groups of four and tasked to create a thesis and a play that would prove our argument. We were required to have at least three characters, use evidence from the texts, and convey a unique sense of humor.
Day 2: Brainstorming
How does one incorporate different philosophers and characters from Catcher in the Rye into a dialogue? That sounded like complete dysfunction to the rest of our group! We were researching quotes from Nietzche to Freire to Mr. Spencer (teacher in Catcher in the Rye). After feeling lost for a while, we all gravitated towards the idea of Holden hosting a podcast where we would have the philosophers Socrates and Freire engage in argumentative dialogue. Don't worry! I promise it's cool!
Day 3: Writing the Script
"Okay, team, how do we have characters who are from different centuries converse on a podcast set in the 21st century?"
We spent the whole day taking turns to write parts of the script on Google Docs. Whenever inspiration struck, we went to the doc and outlined some dialogue. From writing in the dining hall to the middle of the green, we all made sure to complete that 12-page paper filled with controversial philosophical topics and enough jokes to make it a comedy. By the end of the day, we were ready. It's showtime.
Day 4: Presentation Day
"Okay, my name is Holden, and you are listening to the Cliffhanger podcast."
With virtual backgrounds, sunglasses, pink blazers, and cowboy hats, we put on one phenomenal performance! After a 15-minute presentation of us cracking jokes, we were greeted by zoom applauses and laughs from our professor. Success!
Never would I have thought I would be completing such a unique assignment such as this one!
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