376 Students: I want you to print the essay that follows and write comments on it. Comment however you like, both in the margins and at the end; we'll then go through the essay together and discuss your comments.

As you write comments, note any strategies you would use for tutoring the student. All you know about the two writers who coauthored the paper is this: their teacher told you, when asking you to comment on the paper, that "they are lazy and don't want to revise anything I give them. Of course they chose to work together. Here's my assignment." Now, you have the paper and will meet the students in conference tomorrow.

The writers of this paper read "Pornoviolence," Thomas Wolfe's essay about violence and the media. You needn't know it to assess the writers' response.

Students' Assignment

Wolfe's essay is dated 1967. Things have changed since then, haven't they?

Your group should devise a contemporary definition and description for "pornoviolence." In doing so, draw from/argue with Wolfe's essay, especially his idea that pornoviolence is dangerous, dangerous enough to censor, because it glorifies, even encouraging violence by letting the audience see things through the aggressor's eyes. Your essay should be at least 2 pages, double-spaced. Put both of your names on top.


On the topics of pornography and music lyrics, both of us had the same conclusions. Woolf claimed
that Pornoviolence occurs when a viewer of a film experiences violence from the perspective of an
agrressor. We agree with this defintion, but we felt that Woolf didn't offer a solution to this problem,
one that occurs now in films and in music with violent lyrics, such as "gansta rap." We both agreed
that films should have limits on the amount of violence. We believe that the viewers should not be
exposed to excesssive violence and pornography, especially people under eighteen years old. On
the other hand, we viewed the topic of music as being an act that one individual would enjoy.
Everyone has their own preference as to the type of music that they choose to listen to. The factors
that helped us to assess each situation, were: moral values, opinions, and environment.
When people view movies the perception that they have are often affected by their moral values.
For example, if you witness Freddy Krueger murder someone on the movie screen, one person
may feel that it was well deserved, but anothter person may perceive it as a tragic occurrence. It all
depends on the type of morals that were instilled in that individual's life while growing up. In the same
way, some people may view swearing as being inappropriate for music lyrics. If you hear a lot of
swearing as a child, you might think that morally, cursing is okay, even needed, to get the message
across. So then you won't think too much about hearing it or using it yourself. However, others had
their mouths washed out with soap whenever they cussed. They won't want to hear any cursing in
films or in music. Their moral values will cause them to be revolted by Pornoviolence. If these people
hear violent lyrics in songs, they probably will change the radio station or choose not to buy the CD.
On the other hand, those who are not bothered by cursing can make the individual choice to buy or
not buy music based upon their own likes and dislikes.
In addition to moral values, opinions are also a major factor. Everyone is entitled to their own
opinion, whether it is viewing a movie that contains pornoviolence or listening to music that has
explicit lyrics.For films, children are an exception. Some people will complain about freedom
of speech here, but the issue isn't censoring the movies or music, it is about what people are
permitted to see or hear at certain ages.Young people have opinions and a right a express them,
but society chooses to protect them from harm because they are not judged to be capable of
making adult decisions yet. Movies are more dangerous than music here, because where a song
might say "kill that cop" a movie can show it step by step and even show the killer getting away
without being caught. Some kids will sneak into adult movies or can rent them easily, so those
making or distributing films may have to be limited in some cases. Such measures could include
having a tougher rating system, enforcing the one we already have, or restricting the sale of all
violent or pornographic videos to adults only.
Lastly, the individual's environment plays an important role in the viewing of movies as well as
listening to music. For example, if someone grew up in a tough neighborhood, they may be
more prone to view or listen to violence, as compared to someone who grew up in a rural
area or the suburbs. Kids from the ghetto have gotten tougher from the experience of seeing
or knowing about violence; once they are adults they are more capable of seeing a violent
film or listening to violent or pornographic music without it having a lasting effect on them.
By the time they are adults, if they are already willing to commit violence, seeing a movie
won't encourage them or discourage them.
In assessing each situation, we believe that films should have limitations, especially for
children, while music should be up to the individual. We don't think that except in certain
cases the price of censorship is worth the cost to society.
Commentary Exercises | 376 Syllaweb