Thursday, December 21, 2006

Undesirable Affects

The Gutmacher Report, a comprehensive sex study published in Public Health Reports, has been getting a lot of media attention. The 25-year-long study proves what every thinking person already knew: 95% of the 38,000 respondents -- including 33,000 women -- had sex before marriage.

Even among those who remained abstinent into their 20's, 80% had premarital sex before they were 44. And apparently the numbers have been roughly the same since 1950.

Naturally, this news doesn't go down easy with the Bible-thumpers and the right-wingers. Especially after their recent triumph: extending abstinence-only programs to include people between the ages of 20 and 29. Yes, that's right. The Bush Administration is spending hundreds of millions of dollars to get people in their 20's not to have sex. It would be funny if it weren't so hilarious.

Until you remember that's hundreds of millions of our tax dollars, frittered away for nothing.

But, as always when these knuckleheads "solve" a problem, they end up making it worse.

The real purpose of abstinence-only programs is not to promote abstinence, but to build a 700-mile wall between young people and information about safe sex. To keep sexually-active teens from hearing, for instance, that condoms can prevent pregnancy and STD's. Little stuff like that.

Because, the morons reason, if young people hear that birth control exists, they'll take it as permission to have sex. (Like they ever needed permission.)

It's like saying that once teens hear there is such a thing as fire extinguishers, they'll run around splashing gasoline and lighting matches.

Wait... some teens do start fires... I saw a story like that on the news a couple of months ago, so it must be a national epidemic. (Remember: everything you see on the news is happening everywhere all the time.)

So should we eliminate fire extinguishers from the public schools, and spend all that money on Smokey the Bear posters instead? Should we fire teachers who mention the word "hydrant" in the classroom? Block all phones in public schools from calling 911? Because all this talk of "firemen" and "rescue" only makes kids want to start fires.


By denying people access to information about safe sex, Bush is literally paying to cause disease and unwanted pregnancy. (If he's so determined to waste a fortune ruining the lives of young people, why not just "bring them democracy"? But I digress.)

Anyhoo, typical of the right-wing response to the Gutmacher Report is this tidbit, from the Christian Broadcasting News. The article has the headline "Premarital Sex Study Questioned." Well, you see a headline like that, the story must be filled with quotes from scientists and other experts, right?


One person.

The article quotes only one person who questions the sex study.

Has CBN somehow merged with The Onion? I mean, come on: "Premarital Sex Study Questioned"???

If we're going to do news stories based on interviews with only one person, what's next? "Newspaper Stolen From Porch"? "Supermarket Manager Mean"? "Those Sons of Bitches: This is How They Get You"?

Next time I'm sick, will the headline be "Flu on the Rampage"?

But in fairness to CBN, that one person is not just any person... She's a concerned person:

Speaking for Concerned Women for America, Janice Crouse, who strongly supports abstinence-only education, views the results of the survey with much skepticism, "Any time I see numbers that high, I'm a little suspicious."

Well, it's hard to argue with the science behind that.

She strongly believes, "The numbers are too pat."

Yes, don't you just hate numbers? Always so pat. They think they're so smart and exact, being numbers and all. Why can't they be baseless and iffy, like beliefs? Or, even better, strong beliefs!

(This, ladies and gentlemen, is why Stephen Colbert's "truthiness" is the Word of the Century.)

Then the article parachutes into the drop zone:

Regardless of the affects [sic] of such surveys, many conservatives realize that there is much work ahead of them in the battle promoting abstinence before marriage.

Affects, many and much? This is some article! If I were Bill O'Reilly, I'd give CBN one of the Peabodies I don't have.

The point is this: Any time someone claims that this study is a load of liberal propaganda, and that our grandmas and grandpas weren't having sex, that life was so much more innocent back in the day, you can shut them down with just one sentence.

One simple sentence that no one ever says, but that can come in so handy so often:

When Ronald Reagan married Nancy, she was in her third month of pregnancy.

End of story.


Scribe LA said...

Michael, Michael, Michael. "By denying people access to information about safe sex, Bush is literally paying to cause disease and unwanted pregnancy. (If he's so determined to waste a fortune ruining the lives of young people, why not just "bring them democracy"? But I digress.)"
LMAO, except it's so sad and true, too. What would I do without your blog? :-)

norm said...

I've never understood why the right wants to restrict access to birth control.
You can give a high school kid a million condoms and if he doesn't have a willing partner...what's he going to do?
Make baloon animals?

But,if he's got that willing partner... condoms or know what's going to happen.

Michael Markowitz said...

Aw, thanks, Scribe. I promise if I ever close down this blog, I'll still write postings and just email them to you. ;-)

Norm, there is nothing about the right that makes any sense to me. Every solution they come up with to problems always seems to make things worse.

Besides, every attempt Americans have made to stand between citizens and sin -- from Prohibition to the "War on Drugs" -- has been a fraud and a failure.

Speaking of which, I have never understood why they hate evolution so much. Phil Donahue once said something that really stuck with me: "Evolution flatters God."

Michael Markowitz said...

Speaking of Phil Donahue and the right -- and the way they "fix" things in the most self-destructive way possible -- I am reminded of when Phil's MSNBC show was cancelled, even though it was the highest-rated show on the network.

It was cancelled for a variety of reasons, including cost, but NBC admitted in an internal memo that part of the decision was that Phil was opposed to the then-impending invasion of Iraq. So they replaced him with Michael Savage.

Eventually, of course, Keith Olbermann settled into that time slot, and has become the biggest burr under conservatives' saddles. Even worse for them, his show has become competitive with the fast-deteriorating O'Reilly Factor... which led to last year's hilariously pathetic effort by O'Reilly to get MSNBC to bring Donahue back!

Ya gotta love these people.

Ken Levine said...

This is the same administration that believes we must protect zygotes at all costs because they'e human beings but it's okay to send 18 year old actual human beings off to a hopeless senseless war to be killed.

If only the administration's parents had practiced safe sex.