human advantage

On Facebook earlier this month, a concerned reader critiqued a commentary published on NonDoc about public relations at a local, private high school. That reader appeared at least 30 years older than the piece’s author, and he posited that the things he wrote at age 20 were not agreeable to his mature sensibilities later in life.

The notion gave me pause with regard to my own writing. Sure, I long-ago abandoned the idea of running for public office primarily because of all the snide sentences from my collegiate newspaper columns that could be chosen for campaign mailers against me. (Here’s one in which I misuse the word “contraband.” Two years later, I critiqued American capitalism for its market-altering favoritism.)

But I couldn’t quite accept the reader’s overarching premise that, at age 30, I would inevitably view my age 20 commentary as misguided or wrongheaded with the wisdom of graying whiskers.

At age 32 now, I view my college columns, editorials and other written musings as an important byproduct of my practical education. The OU Daily offered a historic platform for real-life experience. I revelled in the stage’s lights and applause, and I experienced the sort of lessons one only learns from tripping face-first in front of a live audience.

To that extent, publishing young and aspiring writers on NonDoc is a pleasure for our editors. If our public forum can pay forward the opportunities and guidance we once received, I would be happy. Any interested contributors — regardless of age, background or political persuasion — are encouraged to submit.

But while we wait for more 20-somethings to send in their prose, let’s take a look at something I recently uncovered in my files: two pages of yellow paper featuring an H.L. Mencken-style pronouncement about a sultry social topic. While undated, my short monograph must have been written around 2007 or 2008 after I had read Mencken’s amusing notebook Minority Report.

Thus, I present my 10-year-old prose below, published for the first time after a decade stuffed in a stack of papers. I split two infinitives in the first sentence, so I’m already embarrassed.

No word yet on whether my current self will write my former self a critical letter to the editor.

Abstinence-only sex education strains the ‘human advantage’

For abstinence-only sex education to actually reduce teen pregnancy rates in the long-run, said “education” would have to successfully de-animalize an entire generation of Americans. The notion, of course, is absurd, but people rarely argue against it.

Switched around, the same sort of practice might be taken to keep dogs from peeing on trees or, more directly, to keep dogs from humping each other. Of no other animal on Earth is it expected that merely saying, “Don’t have sex for several years,” should prevent said animal from yielding to his or her natural desires to bury stick in hole and reproduce.

Yes, certain humans will use their human advantage — the rational ability to go against one’s most instinctual inclinations, which separates man from beast — to postpone sex until marriage or altogether in the case of monks, nuns and priests. But to think that most or even one-third of human teenagers will make it out of high school without at least tasting the soup is purely asinine, and it is a belief only REALLY held by religious zealots and uninformed grandparents.

Still, abstinence-only philosophy became our national sex ed mandate, and it will take one hell of a fight against a vocal minority to reverse course, even though it is sorely needed by teenagers who are hard-pressed to find anything more exciting than the promise of an orgasm, no matter how much they consult their human advantage.