- The Washington Times - Friday, July 14, 2000

Uptight? Who, us?

"For all their complaints that conservatives are naive and uptight about sex, it is really liberals who don't understand the birds and the bees. They are naive enough to think that people can freely indulge their sexual urges with no adverse consequences provided they just learn a few basics… .

"Teach high school students how to use condoms and teen-age pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases won't be a problem. Under the same logic, if the wolves would just learn proper table manners, you could leave them to guard the sheep. And sure enough the reality is that increased teen pregnancy coincided with the proliferation of explicit sex-ed courses.

"What was once considered perverse and deviant is suddenly just another subject for academic discourse… .

"If sex is such a private matter as liberals contend when defending President Clinton's compulsive philandering or demanding special treatments for those who call themselves gay then why is it fit for public study, at taxpayer-funded schools no less? …

"So Joycelyn Elders, who lost her job as surgeon general in 1994 for suggesting school children should be taught masturbation, proved ahead of her time. Pee Wee Herman as the hot new commencement speaker?"

Evan Gahr, writing on "Extracurricular Nonsense," Tuesday in the American Enterprise Online, www.theamericanenterprise.org

Talking to America

"Paul Harvey the man who is credited with inventing the words skyjacker, guesstimate and Reaganomics is perennially the hottest news commentator in America. Paul Harvey is always on the air. Every morning, as harried commuters rush to their cubicles and terminals, they catch a last-minute lift from his morning news …

"At midday, as they run errands, open thermos jars or rush home to make the kids' lunch, listeners hear Harvey's noon-hour broadcast, with more prefab folk humor buttressing the news bulletins. On the way home, they relax into 'The Rest of the Story,' Harvey's common-man version of history … .

"His audience is enormous. His radio shows have a weekly reach of 25 million… . In brief, Paul Harvey talks to America.

"Yet he goes unnoticed by media analysts and historians … . Look to the history books, to the clip files, to the studies of the power of mass media news, and the man who strolls the top of AM radio's ratings charts is nowhere to be found."

American University professor Patricia Aufderheide in her recent book, "The Daily Planet: A Critic on the Capitalist Culture Beat"

That horrible word

"It does not altogether surprise me now to meet people who started living in sexual union with a boyfriend or a girlfriend from the age of 11 or 12, under the complaisant eyes of their parents. Only someone completely lacking in knowledge of the human heart … would have failed to predict the consequences: gross precocity followed by permanent adolescence and a premature world-weariness.

"For example, an intelligent young woman patient of 20 came to me last week complaining of the dreariness of life. She had given up education at the age of 13 to pursue sexual encounters full-time, as it were, but the initial excitement had worn off, leaving only grayness and a vague self-disgust behind.

"At the time of her induction into the sexual life, of course, she had been led to believe that it was the key to happiness and fulfillment … .

"Thus, children inhabit a highly sexualized world earlier and earlier, and social pressure upon them to exhibit sexualized behavior starts earlier and earlier. A schoolteacher friend recently told me how she had comforted a 7-year-old who was in tears because a girl in his class had insulted him, calling him a virgin. She asked whether he knew what the word meant. "No," replied the little boy. "But I know it's something horrible."

Theodore Dalrymple in "All Sex, All the Time" in the summer issue of City Journal

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