Here, John Cleese has adapted a more serious tone and the repertoire of Carl Popper, than before as he makes a statement. As a result of this, it comments on John Cleese’s intellectual ability, which intimidates the opposition because they cannot argue against a well-established theory. Furthermore, in this transcript Michael Palin disguises his planned speech by adapting his language by using hedges and making his talk have flat intonation so that his points don’t seem so direct and accusative, “I think that, uh…sort of…we’ve done for three series, we’ve done for three films…
Here, it seems as if Michael Palin’s point is quite pointless due to the hedges, however, what he tries to say is quite critical of the opposition as he tries to say that they don’t know what they are talking about. “I think it isn’t entirely about religion…” here, Michael Palin adapts his spoken language by choosing not to use Standard English; he uses contractions and this has the same effect as a hedge because it softens his point, ensuring that no one will take it personally.
It is also quite ironic by denying that not all of the film was about religion when actually, the whole purpose of the film was to ridicule Jesus. The effect of using irony is convergent because it gets the audiences attention and draws their interest to what Michael Palin says, but also, by using hedges, it shows how they understand what their opponent is saying and how they undermine them. To the contrary, the opposition who are attacking ‘Monty Python,’ get out of hand as they begin to take their points the wrong way, “…dredge up this miserable little film.
Here, Malcolm Muggeridge adapts his language from a formal tone and now he takes it personal as he begins to directly insult Monty Python. We can understand that this is a weakness of his as Malcolm’s emotions have gotten the better of him. Moreover, as the second half of the transcript progresses, Malcolm again adapts his language, so that it is similar to John Cleese’s, as he tries to achieve hearer support by getting laughter, “Well, then you must have read very superficially at your school, that’s all,” Malcolm makes a worthless point as he does not achieve anything.
“I sympathise with you” (audience laughter), here, Malcolm makes a snipe comment so that the audience will laugh and not take John Cleese seriously, however, this to an extent, casts Malcolm of being inferior to John Cleese because Malcolm feels as if he cannot match up to the hearer support that John Cleese has and therefore, Malcolm feels that he has to opt for silly snipe comments. Likewise, Mervyn Stockwood has also resorted to milking out laughter by adapting his language from Received Pronunciation, “But they might not want to compare it to Fawlty Towers!
By adapting his repertoire so that he seems like John Cleese, Mervyn Stockwood begs for a response from the audience as he exclaims and looks at the audience as if he is waiting for the audience to start laughing. As we can see, even though both Mervyn Stockwood and Malcolm Muggeridge adapt their spoken language, it does not benefit them because as a result of it, they become quite divergent by making comments, which portrays how they have taken Monty Python’s comments personally.
In addition, in this debate both Monty Python and the Church influence each other and the audience by using various literary devices and by adapting their spoken language. “It’s also about closed systems of thought…” here, simultaneous speech is present as John Cleese takes over from Michael Palin before someone else does. Unlike Michael Palin, John Cleese does not hedge and creates a more assertive tone.
He cuts off Michael Palin through code-switching because he wants to be more offensive and attacking, which is proven by what he says, “Popper’s on about falsifiability…” This shows that John Cleese is very knowledgeable and since this is a statement, which cannot be argued against, John Cleese begins to converge and influence the audience that he is right and that what the opposition is saying is incorrect. Also, John Cleese pauses at times during his small speech, “I was also…they were written in” which shows how John Cleese tries to influence the opposition that they are wrong.
The effect of pausing converges with the audience and the opposition as it indicates where a point has been made and also gives them time to digest it. On the other hand, the Church also tries to influence others with their language. “…much too tenth-rate” here, Malcolm Muggeridge carries on repeating that the film is bad but does not explain why. This is an example of where someone has attempted but failed at influencing the audience. Even though he gets a response from the audience, it is quite divergent because the audience groan as they understand that Malcolm has taken this personally and has begun to stage insults at Monty Python.
Moreover, this is also proven here, “it’s quite possible that they might as a piece of social history” we can understand that Malcolm is failing to influence the audience that he is right because he is socially out-of-touch. At that point in time, Monty Python was very popular and Malcolm is suggesting that someone will just randomly come across it because he does not want to accept the fact that Monty Python has hearer support due to their popularity.
Additionally, throughout the debate, there is a battle for who is the most dominant. John Cleese is most dominant because not only does he speak the most but he also, scores points with the audience as he receives hearer support, “Not a funny building, really…” Moreover, John Cleese’s points also prove to be too much to handle by the opposition as they fail to answer the questions he asks, “Is there anything that would?
Here, Malcolm Muggeridge fails to reply to this question, instead he begins saying that the film is just terrible. Also, he is most dominant because he steps the debate to the next level, questioning the existence of a religion that has been believed by people for over 2000 years, “…Gospels were written in, that they don’t even know who wrote them, and they’re not even sure what cities they were written in. ” This presents dominance because he is questioning a whole religion on whether Christianity is 100% accurate.
It is not only John Cleese’s language but his paralinguistic features also help him not only to influence the opposition and the audience but also Michael Palin; “…an idea that is whirring around so fast that not other…” Normally, John Cleese’s paralinguistic features are inclusive (e. g. clasping of hands), but now he uses paralinguistic features as if teaching Michael Palin and these paralinguistic features help to converge with the audience as John Cleese has now got the full attention of everyone.
On the other hand, even though Malcolm Muggeridge says a lot, he is one of the least dominant as what he says is quite worthless as it does not achieve anything, “…much too tenth-rate for that… ” here, Malcolm says that the film is bad but fails to answer a question posed by John Cleese which shows how he is hesitant, knowing that he has lost the debate but does not want to accept it.
Malcolm makes snipe comments trying to make the audience ignore what John Cleese says, however, this does not work out. All in all, Monty Python won the debate and therefore, to create diffusion, Mervyn Stockwood makes a small comment to end the debate off with a laugh, “I used to go to Clifton College to preach very often when you were there. ” This debate shows how Monty Python target and challenge people with great authority, only so that they, by the end, can cast them in a bad light.