- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The new bragging

“The episode illustrates a paradox of modern college life: Students are publicly documenting their sex lives more than ever, making it easy to get the impression that elite campuses are an equivalent of the sex club in ‘Eyes Wide Shut,’ with a perfect SAT score as the password. But when it comes to actual sexual activity, statistics show that coeds are more likely to be virgins when they enter college, and may be having slightly less sex than in previous years.

“Despite this, blogs, … student-paper sex columns, student-run sex magazines like Harvard’s H Bomb, Yale’s SWAY (an acronym for Sex Week at Yale) and Boston University’s Boink have proliferated. As Dr. Jeanne Brooks-Gunn, co-director of the National Center for Children and Families, says, ‘What’s interesting is, why are these journals gaining such popularity even though you’re not seeing a big increase in sexual activity among college students?’

“One answer is that in an era of online exposure, where changing definitions of privacy have shifted sexual mores for the young, enterprising students no longer see a distinction between their bedroom behavior and their publishing activities. Rather than something to destroy upon graduation, they may even consider their magazines, blogs and columns resume builders.”

Jennie Yabroff, writing on “Campus Sexperts,” in the Feb. 25 issue of Newsweek

Young shoppers

Retailers of the world, take note: If you want to get into a boomer’s pocketbook, you’ve got to win her daughter over first. According to Resource Interactive, an Ohio-based marketing company, young adults influence 88 percent of household apparel purchases. It makes sense since members of the millennial generation … are closer to their parents than are members of any previous generation. Millennials and their parents not only take vacations together and text each other several times a day, but also consult each other on what to buy. And more often than not, the millennials are the more informed consumers.

“They’ve never known life without a computer — they can take in 20 hours’ worth of information in seven hours,” says Nancy Kramer, CEO of Resource Interactive. “There isn’t a brand or a trend these kids aren’t aware of.” Which is why boomer mothers who want to keep abreast of the trends turn to the experts in discriminating shopping — their daughters. …

And what goes on in the dressing room is markedly different than in past generations. Unlike their mothers, boomer women don’t want to adopt the ladies-who-lunch look, but at the same time they want to avoid that mutton-dressed-as-lamb look.”

Deirdre Van Dyk, writing on “Who’s Holding the Handbag,” in the Feb. 25 edition of Time magazine


“Our language used to belong to all its speakers and readers and writers. But in the 1970s and ‘80s, ideologues began recasting English into heavy artillery to defend the borders of the New Feminist state.

“What happens to a nation’s thinking when you ban such phrases as ‘great men’? The alternatives are so bad — ‘great person’ sounds silly; ‘great human being’ is a casual tribute to a friend — that it’s hard to know where to turn.

“And what should we say instead of ‘brotherhood’? ‘Crown thy good with siblinghood’? ‘Tolerance’ is no substitute for ‘brotherhood’; it’s passive and bland where ‘brotherhood’ is active and inspiring. ‘Brotherhood’ has accordingly been quietly stricken from the list of good things to which Americans should aspire.”

David Gelernter, writing on “Feminism and the English Language: Can the damage to our mother tongue be undone?” in the March 3 Weekly Standard

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