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					This Word document contains the complete teaching procedure for Analyzing Messages in Popular Post-
September 11 Songs as well as any related resources, handouts, attachments, notes etc.


Analyzing Messages in Popular Post-September 11 Songs

Developed by:
Educators for Social Responsibility

Theme Covered:
Values

Overview of Activity:
These lessons will help students examine persuasive techniques in the media and help them think
critically about the messages they receive from stories and songs about themselves, other
peoples, and political issues.

Objective of Activity:
Students will be able to recognize persuasive techniques, think critically about the messages
contained in various media, and discuss controversial issues in constructive ways. In particular,
students will analyze the deeper messages contained in children's literature, and analyze the
political messages contained in popular songs.

Subjects with which this Lesson Interfaces:
English, Language Arts, Social Studies, History, Civics, Music

Estimated Time of Activity:
Two 40-50 minute class periods

National Standards that this Lesson Meets:
McRel has synthesized national learning standards, and these standards are referenced below.

From http://www.mcrel.org/compendium/Benchmark.asp?SubjectID=7&StandardID=6
McRel Language Arts - standard 6, Uses reading skills and strategies to understand and
interpret a variety of literary texts. Grade 6-8, particularly subparts:
1. Uses reading skills and strategies to understand a variety of literary passages and texts (e.g.,
    fiction, nonfiction, myths, poems, fantasies, biographies, autobiographies, science fiction, tall
    tales, supernatural tales)
8. Understands the effects of an author's style (e.g., word choice, speaker, imagery, genre,
    perspective) on the reader
    10. Understands inferred and recurring themes in literary works (e.g., bravery, loyalty,
        friendship, good v. evil; historical, cultural, and social themes)


From http://www.mcrel.org/compendium/Benchmark.asp?SubjectID=7&StandardID=10
McRel Language Arts standard 10, Understands the characteristics and components of the
media. Grade 6-8, particularly subparts:
2. Understands the different purposes of various media (e.g., to provide entertainment or
   information, to persuade, to transmit culture, to focus attention on an issue)
6. Understands the ways in which image-makers carefully construct meaning (e.g., idea and
   word choice by authors, images created by photographers, television programs created by
   groups of people, photos or cut lines chosen in newspapers)
7. Understands influences on the construction of media messages and images (e.g., the
   historical period or place in which they were made; laws that govern mass media, such as
   truth in advertising; the socio-cultural background of the target audience; financial factors
   such as sponsorship; cause-and-effect relationships between mass media coverage and public
   opinion trends)

From http://www.mcrel.org/compendium/Benchmark.asp?SubjectID=7&StandardID=4
McRel Language Arts (writing) Standard 4. Gathers and uses information for research
purposes. Grade 6-8, particularly subparts:
   4. Uses a variety of resource materials to gather information for research topics (e.g.,
       magazines, newspapers, dictionaries, schedules, journals, phone directories, globes,
       atlases, almanacs)
   5. Determines the appropriateness of an information source for a research topic

From http://www.mcrel.org/compendium/Benchmark.asp?SubjectID=14&StandardID=14
McRel Civics standard 14, Understands issues concerning the disparities between ideals and
reality in American political and social life, Grade 6-8, particularly subparts:
     1. Knows some important American ideals (e.g., liberty and justice for all, an informed
         citizenry, civic virtue or concern for the common good, respect for the rights of others)
     2. Knows why political and social ideals are important, even if they cannot be fully
         achieved
     3. Knows some of the discrepancies that have arisen between American ideals and the
         realities of political and social life in the United States (e.g., the ideal of equal justice for
         all and the reality that the poor may not have equal access to the judicial system)
     4. Knows some of the efforts that have been put forth to reduce discrepancies between
         ideals and the reality of American public life (e.g., abolition, suffrage, civil rights,
         environmental protection movements)
     5. Knows how various individual actions, social actions, and political actions can help to
         reduce discrepancies between reality and the ideals of American constitutional
         democracy

From http://www.mcrel.org/compendium/Benchmark.asp?SubjectID=6&StandardID=44
McRel World History standard 44, Understands the search for community, stability, and peace
in an interdependent world, Grade 5-6, particularly subpart:
   6. Understands cultural trends of the second half of the 20th century (e.g., the influence of
       television, the Internet, and other forms of electronic communication on the creation and
       diffusion of cultural and political information worldwide; how the world's religions have
       responded to challenges and uncertainties in society and the world)
Grade 7-8, particularly subparts:
   2. Understands influences on economic development around the world (e.g., why economic
       disparities between industrialized and developing nations have persisted or increased,
       how neo-colonialism and authoritarian political leadership have affected development in
       African and Asian countries, the continuing growth of mass consumption of commodities
       and resources since World War II)
   4. Understands instances of political conflict and terrorism in modern society (e.g., the
       changes continuing urban protest and reformist economic policies have caused in post-
       Mao China under authoritarian rule; the causes, consequences, and moral implications of
       mass killings or famine in different parts of the world; possible factors in modern society
       that facilitate politically motivated terrorism and random forms of violence; world events
       that gave rise to the 1989 movement in China and led to the Tiannamen Square protest,
       the government response to this movement, and the international reaction)
   6. Understands the emergence of a global culture (e.g., connections between electronic
       communications, international marketing, and the rise of a popular "global culture" in the
       late 20th century; how modern arts have expressed and reflected social transformations,
       political changes, and how they have been internationalized)
   10. Understands the effects of modern communication on consumer tastes and demands in
       different parts of the world

From http://www.mcrel.org/compendium/Benchmark.asp?SubjectID=11&StandardID=7
McRel Music Standard 7, Understands the relationship between music and history and culture.
Grade 6-8, particularly subparts
   1. Understands distinguishing characteristics (e.g., relating to instrumentation, texture,
       rhythmic qualities, melodic lines, form) of representative music genres and styles from a
       variety of cultures
   3. Understands the functions music serves, roles of musicians (e.g., lead guitarist in a rock
       band, composer of jingles for commercials, singer in Peking opera), and conditions under
       which music is typically performed in various cultures of the world


Materials needed for this Activity:
  « "What is Propaganda" fact sheet (provided here - see below)
  « The lyrics (provided here - see below), (and preferably the song) for "God Bless the
      U.S.A." The CD ($5.49) and tape ($2.81) is available from, among other places,
      http://store.artistdirect.com/store/artist/album/0,,95844,00.html.
  « The lyrics (provided here - see below), (and preferably the song) for "What's Going On"
      version by Artists Against AIDS Worldwide. The CD can be ordered for $9.99 from, for
      example, http://www.vvinyl.com/prodsearch.asp
  « The Sneetches and other Stories by Dr. Seuss, available at almost any elementary school
      library, http://www.powells.com/cgi-bin/biblio?inkey=1-0394800893-0 for $14.95, or try
      www.booksense.org to locate the book at an independent bookstore near you
Teaching Procedure:
1) Ask the students to pay attention to the messages that different beings in the following story
   hear about themselves and their value throughout the story. Read the students Dr. Seuss' The
   Sneetches. (Before pulling out the book, you might want to say you're going to read them a
   story by a very wise philosopher, and then pull out the Dr. Seuss book). If they complain that
   the book is too young, you can tell them that they'll probably hear something in it this time
   through they might not have before.
2) Ask if anyone has a definition for the word, "propaganda." Explain that often, the word is
   used with a negative connotation, but actually anything with a political or ethical message,
   from fables, novels, and political speeches, through advertisements, movies, and songs, all
   use propaganda techniques. Some famous examples of propaganda in U.S. history include
   the revolutionary war pamphlet, "Common Sense" by Tom Paine (and the Declaration of
   Independence itself), the abolitionist novel Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe,
   and the "I Have a Dream" speech by Martin Luther King, Jr. The point is, propaganda can be
   used for causes we agree or disagree with, but it's always important to be aware of how an
   author or artist is trying to influence/manipulate/effect us. Since propaganda is everywhere,
   it's important that we are aware of the techniques being used by the authors/artists and how
   they might affect us.
3) Pass out the fact sheet on identifying persuasive techniques to the students-read through and
   explain the sheet as a group.
4) Explain to them, that in order to identify opinions in this exercise, every time they speak in
   these small groups each student needs to first say either, "I think," "I feel," or, "I believe."
   Practice that quickly, and ask the other students to remind each other when students forget.
5) Then, in small groups, ask them to examine the persuasive techniques described or implied in
   The Sneetches, and discuss their impact. How come the Sneetches pay the money? What
   negative messages about themselves and others do the Sneetches believe? Each small group
   should also answer the question, "Who is Sylvester McMonkey McBean in their own lives-
   who propagandizes them?" What negative messages have they received about aspects of
   themselves, people in the school, people in the community, and peoples around the world?
   Get brief report-backs from each small group and discuss.
6) Send them home with homework-when they come back to school the next day, they should
   have a paragraph describing one piece of propaganda (an advertisement, a billboard, a TV
   show, a video, a song, a speech, a newspaper or magazine article, etc.) they saw or heard last
   night and at least one propaganda technique used in that work.
7) Explain that they are going to hear two very different songs that became popular post-9/11,
   and examine the persuasive techniques used in each song. Play both songs, and pass out the
   lyric sheets for both to the students.
8) Once again break the students into small groups. Half the groups should examine the
   persuasive techniques used in the lyrics to one of the songs in more detail, the other half the
   other. Then jigsaw the groups so that half the students in each group have previously
   discussed each song, and ask them to compare and contrast the persuasive techniques used.
   After they are clear on the persuasive techniques used, they should discuss how
   understanding the persuasive techniques in the songs affects their opinions of the songs and
   their messages. Which messages in these songs do individuals in the group tend to agree
    with, which do they tend to disagree with, and for what reasons? (Remember to use the, "I
    think, I feel, I believe" method.)
9) Bring the whole group back together, and ask them to share highlights of what the groups
    discussed. What policy options might be favored by people who enjoyed one song more than
    the other?
10) Some people believe that applying a critical lens like this to works of art ruins their ability to
    "just enjoy" them. Others believe that we can only truly enjoy and appreciate art if we
    analyze the techniques used by the authors and critically examine the messages we receive.
    Do a spectrum exercise in which one of these statements is on one side of the room, the other
    is on the other side, and ask students to place themselves somewhere along the spectrum of
    opinion between these two positions, and then discuss where they placed themselves.

Assessment Recommendations:
Provide students with another song, or another document (i.e., The Declaration of Independence,
a press release by a corporation, an advertisement, etc.) Ask them to analyze the propaganda
techniques used in that work, describe how it affects them, and the ways in which they agree and
disagree with messages of the work.

Extended Activities:
   « Students could write their own poems or songs (country, rap, etc.) expressing a point of
     view on the events since September 11th , consciously using the propaganda techniques
     described below.

    « Students can examine the similarities and differences between different overtly patriotic
      songs, such as "God Bless the U.S.A.," "America the Beautiful," "The Star Spangled
      Banner," and the original version of "This Land is Your Land."

    « Students can examine the similarities and differences between the nine different versions
      of "What's Going On" and this CD, and the original version by Marvin Gaye. How does
      the use of different musical styles (soul, rap, metal, dance, etc.) effect the impact and
      message of the song?

    « Students can examine the similarities and differences between "What's Going On" and
      other anti-war songs in U.S. history (see the website below for suggestions).


Related Resources:
http://www.discoverynet.com/~ajsnead/patriotic/usasongs.html - patriotic song archive

http://www.zmag.org/songs/songarchive.htm - anti-war song archive

http://www.fortunecity.com/tinpan/parton/2/history.html - U.S. history song archive

http://memory.loc.gov/cgi-
bin/query/S?ammem/collections:@field(SUBJ+@1(Performing+Arts)):heading=Topics%3a+Per
forming+Arts - Collections of U.S. songs at the Smithsonian
http://ubl.artistdirect.com/music/artist/bio/0,,438363,00.html?artist=Lee+Greenwood - Lee
Greenwood biography

http://www.sdf.se/~simon/marvin/biography.html - Marvin Gaye biography

http://www.aaaw.org - Artists Against Aids Worldwide, the people who re-made "What's Going
On."

http://www.bartleby.com/cgibin/texis/webinator/66search?search_type=full&query=patriot&subm
it=Go
and

http://www.bartleby.com/cgibin/texis/webinator/sitesearch?FILTER=colQuotations&query=patrio
tism&x=6&y=11
- quotations about patriots and patriotism

http://www.esrnational.org/wtcdiversecommentary.htm - multiple points of view on how the
U.S. should respond to September 11th - more ripe material for propaganda analysis.
                                      God Bless the U.S.A.
                            Written and performed by Lee Greenwood

If tomorrow all the things were gone
I'd worked for all my life,
And I had to start again
with just my children and my wife,
I'd thank my lucky stars
to be living here today,
'Cause the flag still stands for freedom
and they can't take that away.
I'm proud to be an American
where at least I know I'm free,
And I won't forget the men who died
who gave that right to me,
And I gladly stand up next to you
and defend her still today,
'Cause there ain't no doubt I love this land
God Bless the U.S.A.
From the lakes of Minnesota
to the hills of Tennessee,
Across the plains of Texas
from sea to shining sea.
From Detroit down to Houston
and New York to L.A.,
There's pride in every American heart
and it's time we stand and say:
I'm proud to be an American
where at least I know I'm free,
And I won't forget the men who died
who gave that right to me,
And I gladly stand up next to you
and defend her still today,
'Cause there ain't no doubt I love this land
                                               "What's Going On"
                             Written by: Al Cleveland/Marvin Gaye/Renaldo Benson
                       Originally performed as the title track of Marvin Gaye's 1971 album
                            This Version (with additional lyrics added after 911) from
            What's Going On - All Star Tribute by Artists Against Aids Worldwide, www.aaaw.org, 2001

P. Diddy:       What's Going On                            Alicia Keys:     Oh, but who are they to judge us
Jermaine Dupri: Tell Me                                                     Together we can all be strong
P. Diddy:       People Dying                               P. Diddy:        United we stand, United we fall
                People Crying                              *NSYNC:          Oh you know we've got to find a
                Lord help us                                                way
                                                           Mary J. Blige:   To bring some understanding here
                                                                            today
Bono:            Mother, mother                            *NSYNC:          Barricades can't block our way
                 There's too many of you crying            Darren Hayes     Don't punish me with brutality
Gwen Stefani:    Oh, brother, brother, brother             (Savage
                 There's far too many of you dying         Garden):
Jermaine Dupri: That's Right                               *NSYNC:         Baby talk to me
Aaron Lewis:     You know we've got to find a way                          So you can see
                 To bring some lovin' here today           (Second chorus) Yeah, what's going on
Nona Gaye:       Oh my father, father                                      Hey, what's going on
                 We don't need to escalate                                 Somebody tell me what's going on
Backstreet Boys:You see war is not the answer                              I'll tell you what's goin' on-uh
Nona Gaye/       For only love can conquer hate            Nelly:          What's going on 'cross seas
Backstreet Boys:                                                           Every minute a child dies by this
Christina        You know we've got to find a way                          disease
Aguilera:        To bring some lovin' here today                           In record numbers indeed
Britney Spears: Barricades, can't block our way                            Got momma's crying out please
Jennifer Lopez: Don't punish me with brutality                             My baby hold on
Destiny's Child: Talk to me                                                My child ain't done nothing wrong
                 So you can see                                            Still I want to holler
Destiny's Child/ Oh what's going on                                        Ask them why they don't bother
Britney Spears: What's going on                                            Oh no, oh no
(First Chorus)   Yeah what's going on                                      Make me turn to my father
                 Ahh what's going on                                       And ask him why they all got a
Ja Rule:         What's going on in a world filled                         trapped soul
                 with pain                                 Nas:            I can feel what was bothering
                 Where's the love for which we pray                        Marvin
                 What's going on                                           Why his words forever remain
                 When our children can't play                              Dealing with these modern day
                 Homeless can't eat                                        problems
                 There's got to be a better way                            'Cause of ignorance surrounding
                 What's going on                                           me and my constituents
                 When we politically blind                                 Too many infected Too many lives
                 Can't see the signs of endangered                         diminishing
                 times                                                     Nobody say Protestants, Jews,
                 What's going on                                           Blacks, and Whites, Latinos and
Nelly Furtado:   What's goin' on in the world today.                       Asians
                 I'd rather be dead than to turn my                        Pray together
                 head away We got this first world                         Less fight
                 vision too                                                We better unite
                 Comfy to lift up our hands in the air                     As genocide chemical war
                 And cry for a switch                                      And the rich and the poor
Michael Stipe:   Father, father                                            Know that God delivers a cure
P. Diddy:        Father help us, come on                   Eve:            It's a shame our reality is
Michael Stipe:   Everybody thinks we're wrong                              devastating
                                                                           People praying for a cure
              People praying for a cure
              Dying while they're waiting
              Ask the Lord for the comfort and
              strength to face it
              All the kids with dreams Won't get
              the chance to chase it
              Makes me sad
              Think about the lives they would've
              had
              Think about the orphan babies got
              no moms and dads
              How can we sit back and not try to
              make it right
              We gotta come together
              We gotta fight for life
Fred Durst:   Somebody tell me what's going on
              (what's going on)
              We got human beings using
              humans for a bomb
              But everyone wanna live
              Don't nobody really want to die
              You feeling me right
              I can't be watching people die
              (die)
              And watching people cry
              Let me break it down for a minute
              If there's enough room here for you
              and me
              There's plenty of room for some
              humanity
                                    www.911AsHistory.org

           From the ESR Web site at http://www.esrnational.org/whatispropaganda.htm

                                       What is Propaganda?
            Excerpted from "Conflict in Context: Understanding Local to Global Security"
                              by Gayle Mertz and Carol Miller Lieber
                             Educators for Social Responsibility, 2001


You might ask students to each bring in one print advertisement and one article about the
              th
September 11 attack (or other controversial issue) apiece, and then work in groups to identify
examples of the propaganda techniques detailed below in those ads and articles. Or you could
use this, perhaps after playing the Believing Game, along with the commentaries from diverse
perspectives about the war, which we've collected.

PROPAGANDA the spreading of ideas, information, or rumor for the purpose of helping or
injuring an institution, a cause, or a person; ideas, facts, or allegations spread deliberately to
further one's cause or to damage an opposing cause, a public action having such an effect.
(Webster's Collegiate Dictionary)

A day does not pass when each and every one of us is not bombarded with propaganda.
Sometimes it is very obvious, or revealed propaganda. For example, when a clothing
manufacturer is placing print and electronic advertisements where teens will see them. Their
clothing, it is suggested, will make you beautiful and popular. You know they are trying to sell you
the clothing. Or, a government agency is promoting a new program and seeking widespread
support. For example, news releases and coverage promoting space exploration as glamorous.

Concealed propaganda is used to influence people without making the purpose behind the
message obvious. For example, the same clothing manufacturer may pay movie stars or
musicians to wear their garments in their everyday life. Thus, teens that look up to or idolize the
stars will want to dress like them. Military recruitment posters and advertisements that focus on
the educational benefits and opportunity to travel internationally use this technique. Propaganda
influences what we buy, what we believe, how we behave and how we make important decisions.
Both revealed and concealed propaganda can be found throughout the media, in ads, news
reporting and entertainment. It can also be found throughout your curriculum. You may consider
this paragraph propaganda.

                                   HOW TO SPOT PROPAGANDA

TESTIMONIALS - Famous or influential people tell you why they use a certain product, are voting
for a certain candidate, or are supporting a certain project or concept. For example, a person who
is respected by teens is seen in an ad that tells about the dangers of smoking cigarettes or the
value of joining a project to clean up the environment. Someone who is not known, but can easily
be associated with a product or concept, tells an audience how a certain product made their hair
thicker or helped them lose weight quickly. Or, a person easily recognized as a member of the
clergy might be promoting a moral message.
GET ON THE BANDWAGON - These messages tell you that "everybody is doing it" and you
should join in. The technique is often used by organizations that are recruiting new members or
participation in a specific activity. For example, you might be told that "everybody" is participating
in a charity walk to raise money for a good cause, or to boycott a product to protest the abuse of
workers. The message is often loud and repetitious.

NAME CALLING - Sometimes this negative technique is used to label a specific person and other
times to generalize about a certain type of person or member of a certain group. A political
candidate might say that his/her opponent is careless with public money or that everyone in
his/her opponent's political party is careless with public money. The tactic is commonly used to
gain support for controversial foreign policy initiatives. This technique is often used to insult all
                                    www.911AsHistory.org

people of a certain race, religion, ethnicity, or age. For example, "teen-agers today are
irresponsible and weird." The technique is often used to suggest that people from a certain nation
are all terrorists or all pacifists.

GLITTERING GENERALITIES - This technique uses slogans or simple phrases that sound good
but provide little or no information. A politician might say, "A vote for me is a vote for peace,"
without explaining how peace would be achieved. The technique might be used to sell a new
"miracle" product using a slogan like, "You will feel ten years younger," but without explaining
how it could make you feel younger. Catch phrases like "family values" or "communists" might be
used to promote home, freedom, or patriotism without any information that tells you what the
connection is between the catch phrase and the outcome that is promoted.

PLAIN FOLKS APPEAL - This technique is used to build trust. People are expected to assume
that someone in a simple setting can be trusted and should be listened to. For example, a simply
dressed senior citizen might tell you to vote for a certain candidate because she is one of "us
plain folks," or the "little guy." Or they may tell you that a product that comes in a (professionally
designed) "simple" wrapper is best for you. Educators might use this technique to promote good
old-fashioned "hard work" to succeed as a student.

CARD STACKING - This technique is used to show favoritism. Larger print, bigger or more
attractive pictures, or a more attractive presentation of certain people or ideas are used to
influence you. A newspaper might use a large picture of a smiling spokesperson for an
organization that they favor, or a less attractive and smaller picture of a person speaking on
behalf of a position they do not endorse.

LOADED LANGUAGE - Depending on the agenda of the person providing the report, the same
person, group, or event can be made to sound better or worse. An understanding of this
technique enables us to see that some phrases that appear to be neutral descriptions can
actually imply a value judgment. For example, if you favor a group and their agenda, you might
call them a "public interest advocacy group." If you don't like them they can be called "lobbyists."
Or in international affairs, the same group could be described as "fighting for independence" or
"freedom fighters" if you agree with their cause or as a "separatist movement" if you don't.




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