pop culture

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Artistic Freedom, Commercial Demands, and Ethical Responsibility

Resources: Case Study 75: “The Voice of America” in Media Ethics; Ch. 17 of Media Ethics; and “Popular Culture: Rage, Rights, and Responsibility” video located on the student website.

Write a 1,050 word paper that addresses the following:

Explain what arguments entertainers and their supporters use to justify the use of questionable content.

Evaluate the moral, artistic, and commercial underpinnings of those arguments.

Explain what types of content should be censored.

List the criteria that would, from your ethical perspective, be appropriate for limiting access to content.

Explain why these criteria are ethically appropriate.

Explain who should be responsible for censoring content and why.

Cite at least two references.

Format your paper consistent with APA guidelines.

Case Study 75: The Voice of America

The white rapper Eminem, the blue-eyed, backward-capped, genius of rhyme, has sold millions of CDs, appeared in films, and runs a successful recording company. If “he didn’t care,” as the lyrics suggest, at least he works hard at it. Rolling Stone lauds his work ethic, calling him “the Voice of America,” the “original gangsta,” all “hip-hop swagger and hard-rock self-loathing.”2

If Eminem is America’s voice, we live in a country of angry young adults, disillusioned by whatever, delighted to “dis” any cultural zone once recognized as prima facie worthy of respect, from family relationships to the president. Religion is in the “post-dis” zone—not even on the screen. At the same time, Eminem cannot be cornered; he resists stereotypes. If he hates his mother, he loves his daughter. As he projects the image of the “entertainer you love to hate,” he remains popular. Although antiestablishment, he is the center of a multimillion-dollar business.

American entertainment has always celebrated the performer on the fringe, from Elvis Presley’s hips to George Carlin’s “seven dirty words.” Yet Eminem’s robust popularity has created a new and different class of star: young, caustic, and platinum rich. Eminem sings youth’s disconnect from social values, an inner anger that seeks a cause, but absent a cause, anger that protests anyhow.

Eminem’s high-charged “own zone” may be redefining America and the West. When those schooled by his music come of age, what will they believe? How will they live? Toward what will they aim?

Transcript of Popular Culture: Rage, Rights, and Responsibility: 
Popular Culture_Rage, Rights, and Responsibility_A Fred Friendly Seminar.doc 


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