Extra Credit: Content and Censorship

The PMRC (Parents Music Resource Center) was founded in the mid 1980’s by a group of wives of political leaders.  One of the most outspoken of the group was Tipper Gore.  The goal of the group was to restrict the content of music and to make parents aware of what they (the PMRC) believed to be violent, sexually explicit, or had references to drug use.  They compiled a list of 15 songs thought to be the worst of contemporary music at the time.  One of the songs included in this list was “We’re Not Gonna Take It” by Twisted Sister (it came in at #7).  The PMRC claimed that the song encourages violence.  In 2003, in an interesting twist of political irony, Arnold Schwarzenegger successfully ran for governor of the state of California.  His campaign song was Twisted Sister’s “We’re Not Gonna Take It.”

Look up the lyrics to “We’re Not Gonna Take It.”  You should be able to find them on a number of sites before the RIAA clamps down on the internet for the free distribution of lyrics.  Also take a look at YouTube for the video.  It can be found here.  Once you have familiarized yourself with the song’s lyrics, and the video, it will be time to write your paper.

Here’s your prompt:
Write a 5-6 page paper on your impressions of “We’re Not Gonna Take It” (the lyrics and the video) in response to this question: Should this video be a candidate for censorship?

  • Here are some questions to consider while writing the paper:
  • Why do you think members of the PMRC objected to the content of the song (lyrically and the performance in the video)?
  • Do you think the song promotes a kind of senseless violence or does it intend something else?
  • What does it say that a would-be political leader (and now a confirmed one) used it as a campaign song?
  • Does it make a difference that this leader’s claim to fame is being the Terminator?
  • How does the appearance of the band affect what you make of the song?
  • The intro section was one of the most memorable parts of the video.  How does that section represent the main question being asked?

Remember to use specific examples and reasons to support your views.  Be strong while asserting your opinion on terms, scene, and word usage.

Requirements:

  • Standard MLA format (12 point font, Times New Roman, Works Cited page, etc.)
  • 5 full pages is the minimum requirement.
  • You must cite the song lyrics at least once.
  • You must reference the video either through direct description or use of dialog at least once.
  • Secondary sources are welcome, but they are not required.
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