Wednesday, February 18, 2009

An Ideologue Responds to Bristol Palin's Interview, Declares it an Uncomfortable Experience

Recently, Supadiscomama celebrated Bristol Palin's handling of her first television interview--particularly Britol's refreshing acknowledgment that abstinence-only education is unrealistic, and her assertion of personal choice with regards to her own pregnancy.

As Sarah Palin remains a model for all that the Republican Party ought to be in the eyes of Townhall bloggers, it was only a matter of time before one of them would break the silence on Bristol's interview, and go into spin control mode.

Asserting that the interview was awkward and "painful to get through," Ericka Andersen today writes that:

In between eye aversions and like, not wanting to get into personal details, Bristol gave us no more insight than a typical confession segment on the Real World. She said she wanted to "prevent" teen pregnancy but called abstinence an "unrealistic" way to think because "its more accepted now" to have sex outside of marriage at a young age. Van Susteren reminded that Bristol's mother supports abstinence-only education. Bristol sounded just like herself -- a teenager who just had a baby out of wedlock.

The money component of all of this is of course the implication that a pregnant, unmarried teenager is hardly qualified to weigh in on the desireability or effectiveness of abstinence-only education.

"So Bristol Palin has spoken and Tripp has been seen by the world," Andersen concludes, compassionately adding: "Here's to hoping I avoid anymore cringe-worthy interviews like this one."

Rough when hard doctrine runs up against the human experience one supposes. If only there were no people out there, everything would be perfect.


The gates appear to have opened on denying Bristol Palin's credibility on the cultural issue which she has, largely through the efforts of people like Marybeth Hicks, come to emblematize. Hicks in this column disparages the notion of realism altogether when it comes to unmarried teen sex. She offers the totally applicable analogy of a parent expecting their kids to put their shoes in the desginated spot by the door, even with the full knowledge that kids will keep putting shoes where they want.

This snippet here perfectly illustrates Hicks' impregnable (heh) reasoning:

Miss Palin may think her parents' advice regarding abstinence was unrealistic, but I think that was the 18-year-old daughter talking.

The 18-year-old mother will soon discover that unrealistic expectations drive the parenting bus.

With time and experience, perhaps she'll discover that we parents have another name for those unrealistic expectations. We call them "ideals."

Again, the sheer doctrinal hubris of these people, their willingness to dismiss reality itself even as they insist the right to appropriate the ideals of "we parents," is simply stunning.


The Roof Almighty said...

"...and we refuse to allow anything but these de facto "ideals" to be taught, although they directly work against the results we claim to desire, at the cost of hundreds of millions of dollars a year and the degradation of untold lives. No matter how ineffective it has proven at stopping the spread of STDs, including HIV.

"You see, it is just like arbitrarily choosing where in your house your children should put their shoes but not enforcing that choice. Its like apples and pears: corpses and Crocs.

"Also, fags kissing makes my Godhole burn, so don't burn a flag for Islamarxionist terrorists. Go 9-11!"

The Roof Almighty said...

At a certain degree, I DO realize that I am doing nothing but generalizing them to the point of caricature--but you have no idea how hard that is, taking it just one step further than they already have.

The fringe right is reaching the point where they are no longer "ideologues" or hypocritical, but just stubborn about arbitrary choices in the style of "willing to keep shitting on their feet until we pay attention, then they sit in it when we do."

harrogate said...

Roof: Well said. But as it is a dominant force (if not THE dominant force!) in the current GOP, one of our two main political parties, does this mindset really constitute

"fringe right"?


The Roof Almighty said...

I become more and more convinced that I might be the same center-right asshole, Limbaugh-listener I was at 18--stationary for these 16 years, while everyone else has run screaming toward the horizon.

Therefore, I only look like an anarchist and artist, by comparison.

Listening to Michelle Bachman's insane brain flume ride today has convinced me that their much-beloved flat-Earth theory is true, and they are all about to trip over the edge fall past turtles all the way down.

solon said...

In some ways I feel bad for people who write articles like this. It must be very tough to defend a lifestyle that does not and cannot exist. I think that it can only result in a sense of ill-at-ease with the world and, consequently, the return to the "principles" or the "religion" in place of reality.

There can be a lot of good done with certain principles but there must be some connection to reality. Without that connection, you sound like Sarah Palin.

Supadiscomama said...

Re: teen abstinence is unrealistic

Last night on Chelsea Lately, our esteemed host responded, "Too bad there's not some pill you could take to prevent pregnancy. Or a a piece of latex that you can put over your penis..."

I love her.

M said...

So now that I'm a parent, I will admit that I want my kids to abstain from sex while their teenagers, and I will also admit that I will likely advocate that they abstain. I can use the probably ineffective point of saying: "I abstained, so you can to." That said, PW and I will also talk to them about using condoms to prevent both pregnancy and contracting STDs. I don't really understand why the two methods have to be mutually exclusive. I find it rather like owning a pool and not teaching your kids to swim. You can tell your kids to stay out of the pool all you want to, but they are going to find a way to get in it. It is, to some extent, human nature; we want what we're told we can't have. Wouldn't you rather they know how to save their own lives than die?

solon said...

I think that for those who argue for abstinence only believe that any message that involves condoms or the pill diminishes the authority of abstinence, i.e. it is no longer an authoritative principle or commandment but a weak ideal that cannot be attained.

Abstinence only involves an incredibly powerful authoritative psychological mindset. The same seems to hold true for biblical literalists, who may reject evolution because if a part of the "word" is incorrect then it may all be incorrect or, at the very least, it loses its authoritative power.

The Roof Almighty said...

"So now that I'm a parent, I will admit that I want my kids to abstain from sex while their teenagers"

Before you were a parent, you wanted your hypothetical kids to fuck? What changed? When did you stop planning to encourage your children to have sex? At conception? When the head crowned?

Who wants their kids to have sex?

This conversation is poisoned by the mindset that ONLY parents know that children are better off not fucking or doing drugs.

Moral insight is not a gift granted by a biological process.

Amy Reads said...

I went to an all-girls Catholic high school where we took sex ed, in 9th grade, that *promoted* abstinence, but *taught* sexual protection. Everything was taught: methods, STDs, biological reproduction, the works.

We had at least 9-10 freshmen in my class get pregnant. 13-14 yr olds. Not so many in the later years.

I taught at that same high school years later. I overheard things that would have shocked parents. These things shocked me. But they were being safe.

We can pretend all we want that children don't have sex before marriage. The Victorians pretended. The Puritans pretended. The lords and ladies in medieval castles pretended. But there is pretense and there is reality. Of course I don't want my hypothetical children having sex too young. I want them to have sex for love, not for the thousands of other reasons that people end up having sex young (acceptance, peer pressure, curiosity, drunken accident). Furthermore, kids that age don't really know their bodies, and I hesitate to imagine that sex is all that enjoyable for one-half of the equation (and that half is, I would assume in all cases, female). But there is hope, and there is reality. And one should prepare for all eventualities, even in education.
Especially in education.

M said...

My point was that I never really thought much about the parents' perspective until I became one, Roof, not that I think I suddenly acquired any moral insight the moment I gave birth.

Supadiscomama said...

As Sarah can attest, certain abstinence-only programs suggest that only "dirty" people need to use condoms--so, even though these supposedly abstinent kids are having sex, they're still pure? Weird.

As for teaching kids about sex, neither Harrogate nor I got the "sex talk" from our parents. Supa-T, as much as he will hate it, will get a whole lot of the sex talk. Obviously, I'd prefer that he waits at least until college to do the deed--but, most importantly, I hope he waits to have sex with someone he knows and really likes (if not loves). As for birth control, I will tell him to NEVER accept a girl's claim that she's "on the pill" as an excuse to not use a condom. H and I will put the fear of babies and disease into him (we can't really pull of the whole "fear of god" thing, as you know).

Ultimately, though, even kids (and adults) who are fully informed have unprotected sex and suffer the consequences of said sex (whatever those may be).

too. much. to. think. about. right. now.

Sarah said...

To clarify, since my name was mentioned, as a former card-carrying abstainer (no, really, there was an actual card), the shame attached to condoms was never expressed, just implied. If abstinence is The Right Thing to Do (which can be interpreted as sensible, respectable, virtuous, or righteous, depending on who you are disappointing if you fail), then acquiring a condom is difficult and embarrassing, and it acknowledges that the person who is breaking the pledge might be vulnerable to the bad things that bad people who make bad choices get. That's a difficult things to cope with when one is already coping with the failure to live up to the ideal of abstinence, imposed by their parents, their friends, their church, or whomever.

Continuing to hold abstinence up as the ideal distracts from the work we might do teaching kids to think about themselves, their bodies, their feelings, and their motives so that they might learn to evaluate their choices without so much guilt and shame.

The Roof Almighty said...

This is not necessarily the point I want to make, but I find it interesting. Please note, I'm not making fun of anyone here, just the inherent flaw in the system.

Two smart, critical, moral women in this very thread refer to themselves as lapsed abstainers.

As an ideal, one would imaging that you can either succeed or fail at abstinence, there is no bronze medal for ALMOST not ever having sex before wedlock and for procreation. It isn't a thing you can try out for a year..."ideally."

And yet it is. There is a reason the occurrence of oral and anal sex rises among the abstinent, and that these serve as increased vectors for sin, I'm sorry, STDs among these moral runners-up.

That these numbers are ignored is the hole in the blanket that makes it OK to screw through. They are the insertion of "just the tip" of reality.

Supadiscomama said...

I'm *almost* a virgin.

hahahaha--that's a funny idea, Roof :)

Sarah said...

I think the concept of virginity as a state of being is a huge part of this problem