Red Sex, Blue Sex and Real Teenagers in Real America

8 11 2008

Favorite Daughter, now 18 and voting, blogged pithy power of story on virginity, pregnancy and church controls long before this came out. 🙂
Ruminations on Olive Oil

For the rest of us, comes this week’s New Yorker Magazine piece by Margaret Talbot–

. . . according to Add Health data, evangelical teen-agers are more sexually active than Mormons, mainline Protestants, and Jews. On average, white evangelical Protestants make their “sexual début”—to use the festive term of social-science researchers—shortly after turning sixteen.

Among major religious groups, only black Protestants begin having sex earlier. . .

[When it comes to marriage success] the age at marriage may be the pivotal difference between red and blue families. The five states with the lowest median age at marriage are Utah, Oklahoma, Idaho, Arkansas, and Kentucky, all red states, while those with the highest are all blue: Massachusetts, New York, Rhode Island, Connecticut, and New Jersey.

The red-state model puts couples at greater risk for divorce; women who marry before their mid-twenties are significantly more likely to divorce than those who marry later. And younger couples are more likely to be contending with two of the biggest stressors on a marriage: financial struggles and the birth of a baby before, or soon after, the wedding.

. . .The “pro-family” efforts of social conservatives—the campaigns against gay marriage and abortion—do nothing to instill the emotional discipline or the psychological smarts that forsaking all others often involves. Evangelicals are very good at articulating their sexual ideals, but they have little practical advice for their young followers.

Social liberals, meanwhile, are not very good at articulating values on marriage and teen sexuality—indeed, they may feel that it’s unseemly or judgmental to do so. But in fact the new middle-class morality is squarely pro-family. Read the rest of this entry »

God on Trial

8 11 2008

“Proceedings start as Mordechai frames the charge:
God is in breach of contract and has failed to fulfil his covenant.
Kuhn defends God, arguing that Auschwitz is a test of their faith.”

“God On Trial”
Sunday, November 9, 2008 9 – 10:30 pm

Suffering at the hands of the Nazis during World War II, Auschwitz concentration camp prisoners put God on trial, asking, “Has He broken the covenant to protect His chosen people?”

In this riveting 90-minute drama, members of a cell blockhouse hear evidence to determine whether God is to blame for terrible acts against humanity.

The stellar cast includes Sir Antony Sher (Primo), Dominic Cooper (“Sense and Sensibility”), Stellan Skarsgard (“Good Will Hunting”), Rupert Graves (“The Forsyte Saga”) and Stephen Dillane (“John Adams”).

ESPN: How Homeschooling is Like the BCS

8 11 2008

In a GOOD way. . .I think . . .if there’s anything even arguably good about the BCS. . .

(For homeschoolers and unschoolers oblivious to this cultural reference — like Nance — see previous rantings here and here.)

Gene Wojciechowski Nov 6, 2008:
My good buddy, Ivan Maisel, who recently authored a must-buy book on college football — defends the BCS by comparing it to home schooling. Just because it’s different, he says, doesn’t make it wrong.

But in this case, different isn’t better. It’s just different. It’s also mind-numbingly dumb. The people who think this is the best we can do are the same people who think Roger Moore was a better Bond than Sean Connery.

Also like home education — never mind public schooling, much less party politics running our elections — our society’s reasons for creating and continuing the BCS are murky, and even if we knew what they were and agreed to go there together, no one’s in charge who can do anything to that end. Which in the end we seem to prefer:

[USC coach Pete Carroll] has a long history of shrugging his shoulders and blowing off any questions about the merits and inner workings of the BCS. He was always an “it is what it is” kind of guy.

So when Carroll goes rogue, you should pay attention. Yes, he could be posturing and campaigning for his program. But he also spoke the truth when he said, “What is the criteria of the process? Is it to pick the team that has the best season, that has the season that you like the most and feel best about voting for? Or is it the best team at the end of the year, the team that would win a playoff system if you did have it?”

Good questions. And good luck getting answers to them. That’s because there’s nobody really in charge of the BCS. Carroll compared it to the Wizard of Oz. “Somebody behind that screen there, but we don’t know who it is,” he said.