“Abstinence Education” Isn’t Rational Either

18 07 2007

. . .so wouldn’t you think our world-class economy and educational system would abstain from IT, hold it accountable for its own lack of results, just say no to it? But apparently our critical thinking skills program isn’t working too well either. . .

“Those who thought abstinence education financing would decline swiftly
under a Democratic watch were wrong: . . Opinions vary on whether the
absence of evidence — to borrow from Carl Sagan — is evidence of absence.”


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21 10 2007
JJ

“Over all, he said, evangelical Christian culture seems mostly polite, as well as extremely un-ironic.
In response, “a certain kind of collegiate irony is like a reflex,” Mr. Perrotta said.
“And it’s a reflex of superiority and condescension. It just wells up.. .”

October 14, 2007
Books
A Writer’s Search for the Sex in Abstinence
By MOTOKO RICH

. . .Although Mr. Perrotta read articles and trawled the Internet for details about abstinence campaigns while writing the novel, he never actually attended a real-life rally. So it was that he found himself fascinated — and a little mystified — over the space of two hours as the mood inside the darkened sanctuary zigzagged between jocular and somber.

In the introductory act the kids were pummeled with pop music and clips from Will Ferrell movies. A man whose peppy shouts recalled a college fraternity rush chairman exhorted them to scream, “Sex is great!,” only to be followed by ominous videos warning of the dire consequences of engaging in it before marriage. (Your hair could fall out from a sexually transmitted disease; your heart could be irretrievably broken.) A slender blond self-declared virgin in snug jeans and stiletto heels promised them sexual and romantic nirvana on their wedding nights if they followed her advice on how to forestall temptation now. (Avoid horizontal positions, keep the lights on and stay out of dark, isolated places like the car.) The whole thing concluded with a 15-minute sermon on the prodigal son.

. . . a 28-year-old woman who “wasn’t just blond and pretty; she was hot” boasts of her virginity while lecturing the students on venereal disease and unwanted pregnancies. In a titillating finale, she promises them that when she finally has sex on her wedding night, “mark my words, people — it is going to be soooo good, oh my God, better than you can even imagine.”

With abstinence programs and disputes over what can be taught in schools regularly making the front page, “The Abstinence Teacher” hits on prominent social fault lines. . . combining hot-button cultural themes (electoral corruption in “Election,” mommy-and-me despair and vigilante justice in “Little Children”) with flawed and complicated characters. While his stories bear the sheen of satire, they are actually sharp though compassionate investigations of human relationships. They can also be very funny.

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