Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Accurate abstinence

“Memo to teen-sex advocates: Women who pledge to remain abstinent until marriage are about 40 percent less likely to have a child out of wedlock. That’s according to data compiled by the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, a 10-year study of 12,000 teens. … In a May report, Heritage Foundation researcher Robert Rector concluded that making a public or written abstinence pledge — the kind encouraged in a number of abstinence-only sex-education curricula — can reduce teen pregnancy and out-of-wedlock childbearing.

“Not that that will matter much to groups like the National Abortion Rights Action League or the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States. They and others are behind a state-by-state campaign to eradicate abstinence-only programs from public schools. The weapon of choice: legislation that requires sex-education curricula to be ‘medically accurate,’ a term critics say is political code for ‘not abstinence-only.’

“‘You will find that the people promoting what they call “medical accuracy” actually want to drive authentic abstinence out of the classroom and replace it with the latest version of “safe sex,”’ Mr. Rector said.”

Lynn Vincent, writing on “Healthy skepticism,” in the June 19 issue of World

His love affair

“He came from another time and place, Ronald Reagan did, a time long ago when love of country was as natural for a boy growing up in Illinois as was a faith that nothing was beyond the capacity of the great and good people whence he had come.

“He had a lifelong love affair with America, with her history, heroes, stories and legends. Now he is one of those legends. …

“When America began to tear herself apart over morality, race and Vietnam in the 1960s, the old certitudes he articulated and the old virtues he personified held a magnetic attraction for a people bewildered by what was happening to their country. When he spoke, he took us to a higher ground, above petty and partisan squabbles and divisions, where we could dream and be one people again.”

Pat Buchanan, writing “We Shall Not See His Like Again,” in the July 5 issue of the American Conservative

High-tech fakery

“Computer-generated effects are particularly annoying because, once you’ve got the basic design, pressing the ‘repeat’ key fills the screen with multiple phoniness. The skies in ‘The Chronicles of Riddick’ are so thick with fake spaceships generated by pressing the repeat key that you shrug. For all of Hollywood’s boasting about its amazing special effects, this summer’s movies look much phonier than the Buck Rogers serials of the 1930s.

“Increasingly, special-effects scenes depict things that are not even simulations of reality, but rather, ridiculous presentations of the physically impossible. When you saw the enormous spaceship land in ‘Close Encounters of the Third Kind,’ you thought, ‘Maybe that’s what it would look like if an enormous spaceship was landing.’

“When you saw the kung-fu fighters running up walls and across ceilings in ‘Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon,’ you thought, ‘How ridiculous, human beings cannot run sideways up walls.’ Once special effects stared depicting the physically impossible, they started down the path to tedium.”

Gregg Easterbrook, writing on “Special Defects,” Monday in the National Review Online at www.tnr.com.

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