Reality Jokes from the 1950s

Q. What do you call couples who practice the rhythm method of birth control?

 A. Parents

Q. What do you call teenagers who are taught abstinence as the only acceptable form of birth control?

A.  Parents

Amazingly, according to some bible thumpers, some Republicans and a former Republican Party platform, only abstinence is to be taught in our schools to instruct our teenagers in birth control. That ignores the slam-dunk certainly of human behavior.

We humans are remarkably resistant to changing our natural behavioral tendencies. We have certain defaults, like survival of self and our species. Following puberty we have sexual urges. While it is undeniably true that our behavior can be and sometimes is curbed by societal norms, our urges remain and, in certain circumstances, societal norms are all but forgotten. Like in the back seat of a car.

While kids know not to have sex because of the risk of pregnancy, plus Puritanical legacy pressure, they’ve always done it and will continue to do so. Leaving them with nothing but abstinence for birth control is like dumping them in the ocean in a tiny raft with a spoon for a paddle.

Science has become a strange and forbidden topic for the far righties. They say and do things that suggest that they believe that nothing has been learned over the past 2,500 years, but science exists just the same.

To paraphrase the 1997 movie Men In Black, 2,500 years ago men knew that the Earth was flat. 500 years ago men knew the Earth was the center of the universe. 50 years ago men knew that the only form of birth control was abstinence. What do the bible thumpers and far-right Republicans know now?

According to a CDC study reported by CBS News, there was a 44% drop in American teenage pregnancies (ages 15 – 19) from 1991 – 2010 and there were fewer teenage mothers in 2010 than in any year since 1946. Better still, the teen pregnancy rate was at its lowest rate ever in the U.S. in 2022. The CDC reports that the dramatic decline is due to pregnancy prevention education, the pill and condoms.

What that says is that teaching about sex and pregnancy and supplying the necessary tools gives kids a better chance to avoid unwanted consequences. It says that science (like the pill) exists and is available to prevent pregnancy. That suggests that kids aren’t stupid and will learn to make better choices when they are told the truth and when they are given necessary tools.

Pretending that teen sex can be controlled by telling kids not to engage in sexual behavior or that they must not take advantage of better science is to ignore the reality of human beings. Same for adults.

Come to think of it, that Republican mania to deny reality seems to pop up in lots of areas, like global warming, honoring our obligations and stealing public money from public education and passing it along to private schools, saying that isn’t a violation of the First Amendment.

Here’s the thing about reality: we can deny it, but that won’t change what exists. And the longer we pretend, the worse our problems become.

For example, we can pretend that outlawing abortions will prevent them, but we have hundreds of years of experience that tell us with certainty that if abortions are made unlawful, they will continue to be performed just the same. Rich women will find a doctor to help them and all the rest in need will revert to what used to be called “back alley abortions.” Women will be mutilated and killed in the process. That is the reality even if some deny it.

Those jokes from the 1950’s weren’t particularly funny then (think: surprise babies) and they are less funny now. That’s especially true since Supreme Court Justice and right-wing billionaire moocher Clarence Thomas argued in his Dobbs anti-abortion decision that, “. .  .  the right to birth control — decided by the Court in [the] 1965 Griswold decision — should be overturned, along with the right to gay marriage [and that] maybe contraception shouldn’t be legal.”

Wait – wouldn’t outlawing contraception result in lots more unwanted pregnancies and more abortions?

Headlines This Week – So Far

New York Times

Note 1: The only reason for this right-wing idiocy is to create the illusion of a Biden equivalency to the poster boy for criminality.

Note 2: McCarthy caved to the crazies because he cares more about keeping the speaker’s gavel in his hand than he cares about life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness, forming a more perfect union, establishing justice, insuring domestic tranquility, providing for the common defense, promoting the general welfare and securing the blessings of liberty.

New York Times [Italics emphasis in headline are mine]

That end of aid was due to congressional Republicans and Democrat Joe Manchin killing the expanded child tax credit. The poverty rate among children jumped from 5.2% to 12.4%.

The New North Korean Threat
Why the United States Needs to Address Pyongyang’s Nuclear Advances Now

Foreign Affairs

Quotes Describing Us

Dahlia Lithwick’s guest on her Slate podcast of September 9 was Marc Elias, the attorney-crusader for voting rights. They discussed the Republican legislature of Alabama having refused to obey a redistricting order from the United States Supreme Court, as well as other examples of Republicans flouting the law.


“Within the Republican Party now, violating court orders [and] breaking criminal laws makes you more popular.”

Lithwick, speaking of multiple examples of Republicans defying laws and norms:

“The[ir] coin of the realm is lawlessness.”

This is what years of a constant drumbeat stoking anger and of middle finger politics has done. This is how an entire society self-immolates.

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