Let's Talk About Sex

I have oft heard the phrase—“In Utah, time stands still”—from many people from out of state. As a native Utahn, I have taken offense to people who have trashed on my home state. But I must say that I might have to agree with those same people when it comes to the topic of sex. Sometimes I feel like we’re back in the 1950s when it comes to talking of sexual matters. It is so taboo to have an open conversation about sex, especially if you aren’t married, and definitely not with anyone of the opposite sex.
In my teenage years, I used to pal around with some girls who wouldn’t bat an eye over hearing a curse word. But if they heard the word “sex” they would freak out and call you a pervert. In their everyday language, they would say “se…” instead of the actual word, so dirty and filthy it was. I once heard my sister use that substitute and lambasted her for being a prude. My question was and is—What is wrong with talking about sex? Is it because we get aroused at the mere mention of the word?
I’m a Mormon (I’m from Utah, remember?), and us Mormons are taught that pre-marital sex is a big no-no. Until we get hitched, we’re told “NO NO NO,” and then once we are m
arried, we’re told “YES YES YES! DO IT AS MUCH AS YOU CAN!” Now I believe that pre-marital sex can be bad—especially when one is promiscuous about it. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be informed about sex and be able to have adult conversations about it.
I’ve heard of a few stories of newlyweds who freak out on their wedding night because they are so afraid of taking that trip to Pleasuretown. It is a concept so foreign and forbidden to them that they refuse to take part in it and end up missing out on a little afternoon delight (I know… two Anchorman references in the same paragraph!). I don’t think that’s how God intends that to be. We should be able to have open conversations about stuff like this without feeling like we have actually committed the sin.
We should be open with each other and younger people about the truths about sex. We shouldn’t hide the facts about it until someone is married and then let that person fend for his/herself. I strongly believe that does far more damage than good.
Look… I wrote that whole thing without getting aroused once. It can be done!


Blaxploitation of the Media

This last week was pretty historic. On the day after Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, our country’s first black president was sworn into office. Regardless of political affiliation, one could not help but be impressed by President Obama’s speech. They were words of hope and inspiration. I have been mulling over a couple of things since the inauguration that I would like to get off my chest.
First, January 15th of this year marked the late Dr. King’s 80th birthday. That means, had it not been for his senseless assassination, he likely would have been alive to see the day where the American people elected an African-American to the Oval Office. I wonder how he would’ve reacted. Where would the nation be today if he were still alive? How different would the black community be if he were still one its leaders instead of blowhards like Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson? Who knows? Maybe Dr. King himself would have run for President already. Or maybe his untimely death solidified the human rights movement and cemented his legacy in this nation’s history.
Secondly, I wonder how this will affect the way the media portray black people. Errin raised a good point in class that got me thinking about this. Will the media continue to showcase African-Americans as gang-banging, gun-toting, uneducated and poverty-ridden? Or will we start to see black people in the media as more than athletes and gangstas?
The media go a long ways in introducing and enhancing stereotypes. I spent some time in South Korea, as a missionary and later as student, and you won’t find many black people there. Why? Because Koreans are terrified of them. During my time there, I asked several people why they were so frightened of black people. Almost every response had to do with the ways media portray them as ruthless gangstas who rape and kill like it’s a bodily function. They didn’t know the likes of Theo Huxtable and Steve Urkel. They just knew about Tupac and Dr. Dre.
For years, the media have downplayed shows or news stories focusing on the positives in the black community while exploiting the negatives because it sells. The result is negative stereotypes that are passed down from generation to generation. Inner-city black kids have been taught that they can make it as an athlete, or they can resort to dealing drugs or gang-banging.
Hopefully this historic presidency will not only squash that absurd thinking, but also the damaging stereotyping the media have taken part in. Black kids need to know that they can be whatever they want to be. In my line of work, I come across many successful black people who aren’t athletes or gangstas. Kids of any race can grow up to be television producers, CEOs and now, President of the United States. Let’s hope the media chronicles some of the more positives out of the black community.


Blogging Virgin

Like many others in this class, I’m getting my blogging cherry popped as I type these letters. It’s not that I’m totally against blogging. I actually feel like it’s a great platform that was designed for people like me who love to write and better express themselves through the written word. But yet, I resisted. I’m not married, nor is my life super exciting as a college student in Orem. Plus, I assumed it would end up being one of those passing fads that would fade through time like pogs and Crystal Pepsi. Most of all, I didn’t want to become a blogger unless I actually had something substantial to say. I highly doubt the masses are clamoring to find out how I spent my weekend. Hopefully this class will force me to think and express myself on important trends and goings on in our society.

I am constantly amazed at the power that the media hold. Media can make heroes and villains, determine an outcome of a political election and provide endless hours of entertainment (Bad Girls Club). Media can sway people to buy, sell, diet, eat, work, play; there’s nothing media can’t do.

I came across this article a few months back. It’s amazing how many people get their news from shows like Saturday Night Live or The Daily Show. I can’t fault those who do. I get plenty of news from these hilarious shows that you don’t hear on normal newscasts. But I’m not stupid enough to take these shows too seriously. SNL portrayed John McCain as a curmudgeonly, old dinosaur and Hillary Clinton as a bitch. Were these descriptions accurate? A little. Were they blown out of proportion? Of course! That’s what made them funny. But people who take these shows as anything more than poking fun at politics are extremely irresponsible. It’s important to keep informed by other media. If people look to The Daily Show or The Colbert Report as their only source of information, they are going to see a distorted view of the real issues.

Like I said, I watch these shows as much as the next person. And I love them! But people, especially college students, need to make more of an effort to seek out information from reliable news sources like CNN and not always from ridiculous fake “news” sources like Fox News (zing!).