Commenting on my complaint about the BushCo guidelines on “abstinence-only” education, a reader points me to this astonishing bit of filth that was on the CNN/Netscape front page last night. As my reader says, it shares with the “abstinence-only” document a reluctance to mention contraception amounting to indifference about the consequences of sex. (It also seems to suggest, astonishingly, that if your current sexual partner doesn’t have any other current sexual partners, the resulting activity is safe as far as STD transmission goes.)
Of course, the two documents have opposite valences: instead of insisting that desire should never lead to consummation until the union has been officially blessed, the CNN/Netscape piece assumes that desire should always lead to consummation as long as the desire is strong enough:
We all use kissing as a barometer of whether or not you’ll mesh in the sack. But for many, it also clues us in to when it’s time to do the deed. Those first few smooches might have been generic, but after a few dates you start figuring out what works for both of you. And once your kisses can deliver that weak-in-the-knees feeling and the fireworks behind your eyes, you know it’s time to take things further.
(Note the “you know” — as opposed to “you’ll want to consider whether” — in the last line. It’s repeated further down the story; once you’re no longer reluctant to take off your clothes, we’re told, “you know” you’re ready for intercourse.)
Remind me to add Laura Snyder to my “do not date” list.
Yes, the mainstream mass-media culture can fairly be described as sexually corrupt and corrupting, and not just from a fundamentalist perspective. The advertising is even worse than the editorial content. So it’s hard not to sympathize with the TheoCons, and with Tipper Gore, in their concern that the media are making parenting, or even maintaining one’s own decency, harder than necessary. We shouldn’t let our opposition to the TheoCon remedies blind us to the underlying reality.
By the same token, acknowledging the underlying reality should not lead us to embrace as a remedy the deception of schoolchildren in ways that promote sexually transmitted disease, unwanted pregnancy, and abortion.
As Bill Bennett no doubt mentions somewhere in The Book of Virtues, two wrongs don’t make a right.