#4: Censorship Unit Assignments


With this assignment I want to both get them thinking about the idea of censorship and what it means to the and also help to develop critical thinking skills or skills in formulating an argument.

First, introduce the topic of censorship. Start from the vantage point of government censorship. What is censorship (various ways of looking at the topic)? Where have we seen it used in the past and for what purpose?

Next, students should write 2-3 pages for the following class discussing what censorship is and if there are ever and times where censorship is permissible.

For the next class period I would like to bring up the topic of censorship in terms of the private sector. Have students read "Crash into me, baby: America's implicit
music censorship since 11 September" by Eric Nuzum and "Musical responses to September 11th: The list of allegedly 'banned' songs."

Begin with a discussion regarding the list of "banned" songs from September 11, 2001. Discuss that the list was not "banned" but rather a suggestion for sensitivity that DJs could use their best judgment to play or not to play. Which of these songs do you think are appropriate for a list of this type? Are there songs that you think are inappropriate for this list? Why do you think they are there?

Second, in Nuzum's article how does he define the idea of censorship in relation to music? Is there a difference between the government "banning: or "censoring" a particular type of music and a business "deciding" not deal with a particular type of music? When radio stations do not play songs from a "suggested" list of "do not air" songs, are they truly censoring the music or making a business decision? Is there a difference?

This topic I think would be fairly contentious. Ideally, I would divide the class up according to what there belief in censorship is when it comes to the private sector. Depending on how many take each position, it may mean that I would need to divide them up more evenly that the natural distribution. Have them work in groups of two to prepare for a debate in the subject against their counter parts. Give them 15 - 20 minutes to formulate the ideas that they would like to pursue to convince their classmates of their position. Then...inform them that they will be arguing the other position. Give them until the next class period to research and prepare an argument and a rebuttal to present in an in class debate.

The hope here is that by learning about the other side of the argument more in depth, it will not only inform the position that they have taken, but also help them learn how to argue their position more effectively.

Finally, take a look at songs like "Cop Killer" by Body Count, "Suicide Solution" by Ozzy Osborne, "Let Me Put My Love Into You" by AC/DC, and "We're Not Going to Take it" by Twisted Sister.

Why do you think the PRMC would think these songs should carry some type of a warning label? Are they justified in their concerns? Is the request to put warning labels on various music types regarding content a good thing or a bad thing? Is it censorship? Are the movies different from the music industry in this regard?

Write a 2 -3 page argument for why you believe this is a good idea or a bad idea. Address the concerns regarding censorship regardless of your position.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by schoe385 published on June 6, 2010 3:34 PM.

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