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October Twentieth

Page history last edited by Sue Muecke 9 years, 11 months ago




Ladies and Gentlemen...


May I direct your attention to the Schedule page?



Today, we will have two debates that address the question: what is child pornography?  The debates will take the form of mock trials, meaning that teams will focus on specific cases, playing the roles of prosecution and defense attorneys.  The two teams not actively debating will play the role of jury, analyzing the arguments made, judging the rhetorical techniques used, and ultimately choosing a winner in each case.


The class session will be structured as follows:

  • 10 minutes - Planning Session
  • 20 minutes - Debate #1
  • 20 minutes - Debate #2



The Planning Session:

Now that you know which case/side you will be arguing, each team will meet to prepare their debate/trial strategy.  Key elements you will want to consider include:

  • How you can define "child pornography" in a way that achieves your team's purpose (either convicting or acquitting the defendant)
  • How the other team is likely to define "child pornography" in order to achieve their purpose
  • How you can refute/disprove the other team's definition 



The Debate Format:

  • Team A's opening statement: 1 minute
  • Team B's opening statement: 1 minute


  • Team A's main argument: 3 minutes
  • Recess for Team B to prepare a rebuttal: 1 minute
  • Team B's rebuttal of A's argument: 1 minute


  • Team B's main argument: 3 minutes
  • Recess for Team A to prepare a rebuttal: 1 minute
  • Team A's rebuttal of B's argument: 1 minute


  • Team A's closing statement: 1 minute
  • Team B's closing statement: 1 minute


  • Jury questions and open discussion: approximately 5 minutes



Twelve Angry Students  -or-  The Role of the Jury


As in a real courtroom, the jury has the most important role here - you need to analyze, judge, and determine a winner between the two teams.  During the debate, you should be writing down particularly good points the teams make, particularly egregious rhetorical fallacies or other flawed arguments, and any questions you may want to ask later.  Consider the following questions in your analysis:


  • Did each team clearly define "child pornography"?
  • Did that definition support and strengthen the team's rhetorical argument(s)?
  • Did each team support its definition with specific examples?
  • Did each team adequately refute the opposing team's definition of "child pornography"?
  • Evaluate the presentation style of each team.  Did any team member's presentation style particularly help or hinder the team's case?  If so, how? 


Following the class, email me your verdict.  Verdicts should be approximately 250 words in length and should include evaluations and observations of the debate for which you were a jury member.  Tell me the good things and bad things that each team did.  Then tell me which team you think won the debate and why.


NOTE: Your vote for the winning team should NOT be based on which side's argument you personally agree with.  Rather, it should be based on which team defined "child pornography" better for its purposes, made the more convincing argument, and gave compelling examples to back up its definition/argument. 


On Wednesday, I will reveal the winning teams and give a quick overview of each team's strengths and weaknesses.



Debate #1: Virtual Child Pornography


The Case:

A pornographer has been arrested for producing child pornography.  His company specializes in films that simulate child pornography.  His live-action films graphically show adults having sex with persons who appear to be underage.  However, all actors in these films are over 18 and therefore of legal age.  He also produces animated and computer-animated films that depict adults having sex with minors and/or children.



Your job is to convict this man of child pornography.  To do so, you will need to prove that his films depict child pornography.



Your job is to get this man acquitted.  To do so, you will need to prove that his films do NOT depict child pornography.



Debate #2: Sexting


The Case:

A sixteen-year-old girl is accused of making and distributing child pornography.  She took naked pictures of herself with her cell phone and sent them to her sixteen-year-old boyfriend.  Several weeks later, a high school teacher confiscated the boyfriend's cell phone after he was texting in class.  The teacher discovered the girl's nude photos on the cell phone and called the police.



Your job is to convict the girl of child pornography.  To do so, you will need to prove that the naked pictures she took were child pornography.



Your job is to get the girl acquitted.  To do so, you will need to prove that these pictures do NOT constitute child pornography.



Assignment for Wednesday:

  • Email me (s.muecke@wayne.edu) your jury verdict.
  • Complete your mid-term evaluation, and bring your evaluation "form" to class on Wednesday.  See the October Twenty-Fifth wiki page for more information.


  • Read Everything's an Argument Chapter 10 ("Evaluations")

Comments (8)

Mohamad Kaakarli said

at 2:17 pm on Oct 20, 2010

I hope this is where we were supposed to write our verdict. here's mine anyhow.

Child Porn: Although I do not watch child pornography, nor a legal form of fake child pornography, I must vote for the defendants, the main rationale behind it is simply because it is legal under law. Sara could not persuade me with her ethical perspective on the scenario. Ethics need to be thrown away for this case; only logical thinking can be used. This is because in the end we cannot force our ethical beliefs onto others. A good analogy would be smoking cigarettes, legally it is acceptable, physically it is terrible, but under law tobacco use is consensual. Also the virtual child pornography is despicable to me. Yet it stands as legal because in no way are there any actual children harmed. Banning the virtual porn would be violating free speech. Lastly, the overall enthusiasm of the prosecutors was inappropriate for such a serious issue, which also helped swing my vote towards the defendants.
P.S Not really the last part but I’m putting in filler =P

Sexting: Although I personally believe that a 16 year old girl has the conscious mind to decide whether her boyfriend should receive a nude picture of her is a decision she will not regret. I must vote towards the prosecution; this being is because by law it is illegal. Hence, she has no right to do so. But this case opens up a more proper topic, perhaps state legislatures should look into legalizing it for 16 year olds since the two 16 year olds can legally perform sexual intercourse. Another point the defendants came up with was that the teacher had no right to go through her phone. The prosecutors compared it to a teacher searching a student’s bag for a gun. I do not believe the two situations can be compared.This could be classified as a violation of the constitution, which sadly was not brought up by the defendants. But again, in the end she sent illegal pictures to her boyfriend hence the legality of this case is clear.

Melinda Klakulak said

at 2:28 pm on Oct 20, 2010

You're silly! You e-mail her (I would do that to just to make sure she gets your answer!) but thanks for the vote :p

Alex said

at 2:27 pm on Oct 21, 2010

Yeah motaz, you're silly! =P

James Logan said

at 3:04 pm on Oct 21, 2010

Great job on the debates everyone!

Bradley Clark said

at 4:11 pm on Oct 21, 2010

so silly! :-P

Melinda Klakulak said

at 5:54 pm on Oct 23, 2010

Be nice! lol

Alex said

at 11:45 pm on Oct 24, 2010

haha mell we luv yah. im just out of starbucks.

Melinda Klakulak said

at 11:46 am on Oct 25, 2010

Hahaha I have it this morning too!!! :)

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