Abstience is a Good Policy

Y’all, I just want to say up front that I made a chart for you, to illustrate this post, and so I expect some gratitude, since it took me a long time to figure out how to do it.

But then I want to say that, as much as I remain committed to the belief that Focus on the Family hates you, I do agree with them that abstinence is a good policy. Where we differ is that I believe sex ed in schools ought to go something like this, “Waiting to have sex until you really want to is the best way to go and there’s nothing wrong about not wanting to have sex yet. But, if you do want to have sex, here’s how bodies work and here’s how to keep yourself safe” and they believe that sex ed in schools should be limited to “Here’s how bodies work and the only way to keep yourself safe is to never have sex. The end.”

So, we were talking about that this morning, what lessons we wished they’d covered in sex ed. Here are mine:

  • Everybody says they’re having shitloads of great sex. Very few of them actually are.
  • Have sex because you want to, not because everyone else is doing it (which they aren’t) or because your girlfriend or boyfriend wants you to.
  • If you don’t like it, you don’t have to do it again. You can try something different or try it with someone different.
  • Using sex to manipulate people into doing what you want is a pretty shitty way to get by in life.
  • There’s nothing wrong with waiting.
  • Virginity is a social construct, though, and being a virgin doesn’t really mean anything.
  • Having sex is not so magical that it’s suddenly going to make you an adult. There’s no instant transformation.

Anyway, I wonder what a frank and honest talk about sex with teenagers would be like. Are there things y’all wish you’d been taught at that age?

Damn, after all that, I almost forgot my chart!


Focus on the Family Hates You

Exador sent me a link about the approval–finally–of the HPV vaccine, which, as you recall, is very effective in preventing certain types of deadly cervical cancer caused by HPV, which is a virus almost everyone who’s had sex has been exposed to, even if they aren’t infected.  You’ll also recall that there was a great deal of opposition to this vaccine because some enormous jackasses thought that vaccinating girls against an incredibly common virus would encourage promiscuity.

That’s right.  There are folks out there who hate you so much that they believe that it is better for you to die of cancer than to chance that you might have sex with who ever you want when you want.  Because, my god, if sex doesn’t lead to pregnancy or death, Jesus weeps the tears of a thousand martyrs.

But what’s even sadder, in this article is this paragraph:

Conservative groups like Focus on the Family support availability of the vaccine, but oppose making it mandatory, saying the decision to vaccinate should rest with a child’s parents or guardians. It promotes abstinence as the best way of warding off infection by HPV and other STDs.

Where to even start?  Okay, let’s just forget that the public discussion about abstinence seems to assume that religious fanatics only want folks to remain abstinent while they’re young, when, really, they mean all of us should never have sex outside of marriage.

Let’s go with this.  Say that you are Miss Mary Sunshine and you are abstinent until marriage.  You really truly set that as a goal for yourself and you keep to it.  Your parents instilled “right” values in you and you stuck to them.  They also didn’t vaccinate you, because they believed that it would encourage promiscuity.  (I wonder if Focus on the Family is opposed to mandatory MMR vaccines?  I mean, is this really about parental choice or is it about “fixing” promiscuity?)

You meet a nice boy, Johnny Faltered a Couple of Times in College.  He wasn’t promiscuous.  He had sex with two girls, each of whom were serious girlfriends.  It wasn’t God’s plan, but boys will be boys.

He has the virus.  He doesn’t know it.  He gives it to Miss Mary.  She gets cancer and dies.

Is Focus on the Family okay with that? 

If so, I think this indicates an enormous shift in their “sluts must be punished” campaign.  Before, we had to be punished for our bad behavior–either through children or horrid disease.  But now, even if we behave, we have to be punished for our partner’s bad behavior.

So, men, the new word seems to be, don’t slut around or God will kill your virgin bride.

The Man With the Coolest Uncool Dog

Our arch-enemy, the black dog, seems to be gone.  As does its lesser annoying companion, the white dog.  The barky old beagle mix is still there, though, barking at us every day when we walk by.

Her owner, however, has acquired a Shepherd puppy, and he struts around the neighborhood, putting one muscular shoulder forward and then the other, smoking a cigarette as he perambulates with his bitching dog.

This, in itself, is a sight to see.

But what’s even funnier is that the barky dog has no clue how bad-ass the other two are looking and so she follows them around like a proud mom, trying to hang back so as to not look overbearing, but also running up occasionally to check on them.  And then, when they turn the corner to go under the train tracks, she runs ahead, barking angrily at all the other dogs–“Stand back!  Don’t you dare hurt my boys!”

The puppy, of course, does not care.  But the big ole man always looks slightly embarrassed.


I’m Floundering, a little

Y’all, I’m getting nervous about speaking to the girls at the feminist indoctrination camp.  It sucks.  What I need to do is just come up with a loose outline and just go in there and talk to them from the heart for a little bit and then help them set up their own blogs and show them how to link and find other blogs and all that good stuff.

I’m good at kind of speaking extemporaneously.  But I like to be prepared.  The trouble is that I’m having trouble preparing.  I feel like my thoughts are kind of jumbled and I’m anxious about being boring.

I’m also anxious about the arrival of the whole family again.  The recalcitrant brother gets here tomorrow and then Mom and Dad and the boys get here on Saturday.

I have stuff for the play all weekend. 

Auditions are Saturday and Sunday we have to sit down and talk about what happened last night.  I think really good stuff happened, but we need to make some cuts to the script and get some other shit in there.  Anyway, it’ll all be fine, too.  I just feel like I’m having a tough time getting everything done that needs to be done.  I really wanted to spend this evening getting a firm grip on what I’m going to say to the girls.  That didn’t quite happen.

Y’all, I just want to give these girls a tool they can use to change the world.  Not that they won’t have other tools.  But so much of how our culture is organized relies on us as consumers.  Which is fine, except that in order to be a motivated consumer, you must feel that you lack something, so that you’ll want to make purchases based on your perceived lacks.

Which means that there’s a great deal of our culture and, to some extent, our economy resting on the importance of you feeling shitty about yourself.  And so, we’re bombarded all the time by these messages about how we’re not quite cutting it.

What’s so cool about self-publishing is that it’s really a force for counteracting that.

You’re not just a passive consumer.  You produce something.  You’re filling a need, not internally, but a need in our society.

I said it before and I still firmly believe it,

Write because it’s the only real magic most of us have, this ability to squash together lines and curves and dots and create worlds, recreate worlds. Write because no one with power wants you to. They don’t want to hear from you and they don’t want others to hear from you. And this, this weblogged thing, no one in power has learned how to control yet.

Write here, write now. Because no one can stop you.

Even if they find you out, drop your name, pick up another one. Come back in. Even if they tell you they don’t want to hear it, they read it already, come back in. This is not for them. Not only, anyway.

Write because we need to hear from you.

Write because you need to hear from you.

But keep writing.

And this is why copyright is so important.  Because it means that when you write something, it’s yours.  You own it and you, literally, are the only one who has the right to make copies of it.  You can decide to make as many copies as you want.  You can decide that it’s okay for everyone to make as many copies as they want.  Or you can decide that there should be only one copy.  But, in the end, it’s yours and you get to say what happens to it.

There’s one exception–fair use.  This is a little loophole that lets other people use portions of your material under certain circumstances.  They can use bits of it if they want to comment on it.  But they can’t use the whole thing without your permission.

As a side note, this is one of the reasons you shouldn’t post whole poems or the lyrics to whole songs that you didn’t write without comment.  Someone else has the right to make copies of those, not you.  And if you want your copyright to be respected, you should respect the rights of others.

Of course, the world is a crazy place and not everyone is respectful of everyone else.  In fact, some folks are mean and some are dangerous.  And the truth is that once you publish something, it’s out there forever–and, eventually, someone you wish hadn’t, is going to see it.  Never put in writing anything that you wouldn’t be willing to say to a person’s face, if push came to shove.  Because, someday, it is going to come to that.

Also, on the internet, you don’t really know who is talking to you.  Probably, a good rule of thumb is that no one on the internet is telling you the truth.  Sometimes, this really sucks.  But it also means that you aren’t under any obligation to tell them the truth.

You don’t have to lie.

But you don’t have to tell people everything about you.  Never tell people how old you are or where you live.  And don’t make it easy for them to find out.  Protect yourself and your family by making up names and fudging details.  If you feel uncomfortable about lying, you can just say up front that you’re doing it.  But trust me, it’s better by far to lie a little and keep safe than to tell the whole truth and get hurt.



Hey, see.  I do have some shit to say.  I’ve got a foundation upon which I can say shit that’s actually age-appropriate once I get in there.  And Heather says she’s found me a computer lab on campus.  So that will be fun.

Now, if only someone would clean my tub and get the place ready for my parents.