October Twentieth




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:



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:



The Debate Format:







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:



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: