March 28, 2009

Sometimes my life partner Tom says to me, “You cannot listen to NPR anymore. You must turn off the news. Stop reading magazines like The Economist and Newsweek and American Prospect and Nation. No more New York Times for you, Simone!”

That’s because I call Tom on my early morning drives to visit clients – and I rant about something I just heard on NPR! Poor Tom, he hasn’t even had his coffee yet and he gets a ring-a-dingy from me. I stomp around the house ranting and chanting. Poor Tom, he’s trying to read a history book. From my downstairs office, I call Tom in his upstairs office. Poor Tom, he’s trying to write a case statment, maybe for your organization!

There’s so much to rant about – and I’ve been saving it up for today. I’ll get all hot and bothered while writing this blog. Then I’ll go exercise for a couple hours!

Let’s Talk About Sex, Anna Quindlen’s column in the 03-16-09 issue of Newsweek. What is it with U.S. people and sex? The country’s founding by the Puritans? Research shows that abstinence-only programs don’t work. But condoms do. Condoms can prevent pregnancy and sexually-transmitted diseases. Sex education can help teens manage raging hormones and, hopefully, avoid HIV/AIDS.

Sex education is a matter of public health and social benefit. Let’s have comprehensive sex education in all schools, public and private. Let’s mandate sex education with darn good laws. Honestly, I don’t trust parents to provide good sex education. And I sure don’t trust any religious group to provide good sex education. Let’s institute laws about sex education and enforce them.

Quindlen has some great insights, as usual. For example: “Even some of the comprehensive sex-ed curricula are incomplete. With their emphasis on HPV, STDs and problem pregnancies, they seem to ignore one critical point: pleasure. It’s the equivalent of talking about salmonella and forgetting to mention that food tastes good.”

There aren’t two sides to the issue of sex ed. By the way, there aren’t two sides to every issue. That’s some fallacy that lobbyists and fundamentalists try to tell us. Remember the good old days when there were two sides to the tobacco issue? Not hardly! Tobacco causes cancer. It caused cancer in the good old days, too. So shut up, lobbyists.

The Great Shame, Bob Herbert’s 03-21-09 NYT op-ed column. You know what the great shame is? Sexual assault of women in the U.S. military.

The Pentagon acknowledges that 80% of rapes in the military are never reported. And most of the men accused of attacking women aren’t punished at all, or maybe just a little bit.

Herbert says, “The military’s record of prosecuting rapists is not just lousy, it’s atrocious.”

You think “atrocious” is bad? Think about this: We’re talking about the military, a very controlled, rigid environment. The military knows all about rules and enforcing rules and consequences for violating rules. But the U.S. military cannot figure out how to stop the sexual assault of women. What do you think of that?

Here’s Herbert’s conclusion – and it makes sense to me: “There is no real desire in the military to modify this aspect of its culture. It is an ultra-macho environment in which the overwhelming tendency has been to see all women – civilian and military, young and old, American and foreign – soolely as sexual objects. Real change, drastic change, will have to be imposed from outside the military. It will not come from within.”

So those are just two stories, two rants. Now I’m so exasperated, I’m going to ride the exercise bike and read a trash novel.

Filed under: Social Commentary

About Simone Joyaux

A consultant specializing in fund development, strategic planning, and board development, Simone P. Joyaux works with all types and sizes of nonprofits, speaks at conferences worldwide, and teaches in the graduate program for philanthropy at Saint Mary’s University, MN. Her books, Keep Your Donors and Strategic Fund Development, are standards in the field.

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