The Problem of Teen Pregnancy

T.A. ’13

A friend of mine showed me this
concerning teen pregnancies at a Memphis High School.

Deborah Harrison, head of Girls, Inc., does indict the girls
as individuals for not playing their part in preventing pregnancies:

“Right now, these
girls don’t know how to say ‘no,’ they’re having sex when they don’t want to,
they just don’t know how to say ‘no,'” Harrison said.

She also
points to the idea of pregnancy pacts (see Time article
claiming that they are at least in part to blame. According to local station
WMC-TV, “Sutton said she
believes some girls are making agreements with each other to get

However, Harrison also blames what she describes as a
‘sexually oriented’ society for the 20 percent pregnancy rate at Frayser High
School. And while personal responsibility is crucial in the decision to remain
abstinent until marriage, Harrison is absolutely right. In a culture where sex
is made casual, more and more teens will prematurely commit themselves to sex
and potentially, pregnancy.

So often, critics of abstinence education point to
statistics that suggest (perhaps unfairly) that “it doesn’t work.” Whether or
not such statistics are convincing is in itself debatable, but these critics
are correct in that abstinence education does not tackle the root of the
problem. In other words, schools may continue to preach to students that having
sex before marriage is wrong, but until society accepts such to be true,
schools like Frayser High may continue to find their most sincere efforts


Black Swan

by T.A. ’13

Portman stars as a ballet dancer in one of the biggest movies of 2010 – the
critically and highly acclaimed film Black Swan. Billed as a
psychosexual thriller, the movie combines reality and fantasy to create a very
artistic piece of work. Especially praised for their performances were lead
actress Portman, who plays the character of Nina, and supporting actress Mila
Kunis, who plays Lily, a rival dancer and Nina’s alter ego.

the film definitely had its high points, it was very disappointing to see the
subject matter portrayed as radically hyper-sexualized. Lily’s seduction and
eroticism are constantly juxtaposed against Nina’s more reserved demeanor,
which the ballet director constantly tells Nina to abandon. Throughout the film
Nina is told to be more sexual, more sensuous, and more seductive. Lily and
Nina go out to a bar where they pick up two guys, and Nina returns home
(blasted drunk) boasting to her mother that she slept with them. In one scene,
Nina and the director are in his house, where he asks if she is a virgin. She
insists that she isn’t, to which the director replies, “Well then there’s
nothing to be ashamed of.”

am not ashamed to admit that on at least four separate occasions, I closed my
eyes in the theatre because the sexual nature of the film was obscenely
graphic. Nina is shown masturbating multiple times, and in one particularly
disturbing scene she engages in a sexual act with Lily. It speaks volumes about
the callous attitude our culture has towards sex for such acts to be shown on

shocking and the sensational have increasingly become a staple of the media,
but this film unabashedly overstepped even existing boundaries. While I felt
that the story was in general well told and the acting was in general good, it
became very difficult to enjoy the film given the perverse attitudes it took
towards sex and sexuality. It is disappointing that Kunis and Portman (no doubt
actresses capable of acting well) must receive their first Golden Globe (and,
probably Oscar) nominations for such a disappointing film.


Chicharito & Family

You might be wondering what that young
boy on the left is doing running next to Manchester United star striker Dimitar
Berbatov. Truth be told, this is no promotional picture; that “young boy” is
Javier “Chicharito” Hernández, 22-year-old Mexican Man Utd striker known
both for his very quick, goal-scoring touch and for his unusually supportive
and close family. Both his father, Javier “Chicharo” Hernández, and his
grandfather, Tomás Balcázar, were professional football (soccer) players in
Mexico, and they together with the rest of the football-crazy family have
played an extraordinary role in helping young Chicharito achieve success above
and beyond anything they expected. A few facts about his family: Chicharito’s
father quit his job (after he was refused leave) in order to watch his son play
for Mexico at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. When Chicharito was signed by
Man Utd last April, his entire family moved from Mexico to join him in England
as what promises to be an incredible career kicks off. Chicharito often tells
the press how important his family has been in the shaping of both his finesse
and his character in the game: patience, hard work, and keeping a steady head during
bombardment from the media are a few among many aspects with which his family has helped
him. One rarely hears in the world of football of such a relationship
existing between a star like Chicharito and his family, and I commend the Hernández
family for it. Read an interview with his father and
grandfather here
N.B. This sports section is NOT going to be come a Man Utd fan blog – we will be writing about other teams/athletes in the future.

Ryan Giggs: Hero On and Off the Pitch

by T.A. ’13

Monday night concluded Act 1 of the biggest period in the English Premier League this season, with Manchester United defeating Arsenal FC 1-0. The game featured some of the biggest names in English football, including one infamous Wayne Rooney; however, perhaps less well known that day (although not to real soccer enthusiasts), was the evergreen midfielder Ryan Giggs.

In an age where the British tabloid media literally stalks players, looking for and often finding scandal, Ryan Giggs is a truly refreshing star. Giggs burst onto the scene in the early 1990s, when he helped Manchester United win the Premier League in 1992. Since then, he has played a crucial role in all eleven Premier League Championships, two Champions League trophies, and numerous other awards that United have garnered. More important than the accolades, however, is Giggs’ impeccable conduct on and off the pitch. In 64 games for his home country of Wales, Giggs has collected only two yellow cards, and one red, and has less than 40 yellow cards (and no reds) in 851 appearances for Manchester United: unbelievably low numbers for those acquainted with the dirty play of today. One can unquestionably say that on the pitch, he is a true gentleman.

His exemplary behavior extends to his life off the pitch as well; in an arena where players like Cristiano Ronaldo, aforementioned Wayne Rooney, and Frank Lampard have been under consistent criticism for pursuing sex in extramarital situations, the tabloid press gave up their attempts to pin something of that sort on Giggs back in the late nineties. While he and his now-wife did in fact have children before they were married, they have been happily married for over a decade, with no reason for fans to think that that will change anytime soon.

Giggsy, as United fans affectionately call him, has shunned the limelight since 1997 or so, and is well and truly a family man. Perhaps he hasn’t lived perfectly (who has?) but in comparison to stars like Brett Favre and Ben Roethlisberger (American football) and Kobe Bryant (basketball), Giggs is a tremendous role model for young people in how to conduct oneself in the public arena.

Continue reading Ryan Giggs: Hero On and Off the Pitch

“It’s a Beautiful Night…”

“…We’re looking for something dumb to do. Hey baby, I think I want to marry you.” So begins the refrain of Bruno Mars’ popular single “Marry You”, and it is a fitting refrain considering the rest of the song’s bizarre lyrics, which include: “Who cares if we’re trashed, got a pocket full of cash…” and “If we wake up and we want to break up, that’s cool. No, I won’t blame you.” It would certainly be more normal to say, “We’re looking for something dumb to do. Hey baby, I think I want to hook up with you,” and yet Bruno Mars strangely chose to write in this manner about marriage. At this time, I have no profound interpretation to leave the reader with, but I thought this song would be an interesting (and frightening?) cultural phenomenon to bring to the reader’s attention. 

Wednesday Tea-Time Links

Yes, you read that correctly. No, Wednesday Tea-Time Links will not be a permanent installment on the blog (alas), but just a one-time special for our faithful readers, heralding the return of the Monday Morning Links. Enjoy!

Marriage Tail

Dating on a
Shoe-String Budget

For Children:
Marriage Is About More Than Emotions

To Escape Poverty? Get Married…

And For Our Faithful Readers….

Futbol and Fidelity


This is the second in a series of posts about the 2010 World Cup.

Although by now the World Cup is likely a distant memory for most, the name of  Landon Donovan hopefully still rings a faint bell. Before the U.S. crashed out of the tournament in a frustrating loss to Ghana, Donovan was the hero of the hour (see miraculous injury-time goal over Algeria here), representing America’s hopes and dreams for World Cup glory with his talent as well as leadership on the field.

It came as a dull disappointment, then, to read in the midst of all the World Cup excitement that Donovan, who has been separated (but not divorced) from his wife Bianca for about a year, was accused by a British woman of being the father of her unborn child. Donovan’s response, while disappointing insofar as it confirmed his behavior with this woman, was surprisingly mature: he publicly promised to provide the appropriate support if, after tests, the child proved to be his.

Soon after the World Cup ended, it was announced that Landon Donovan was not the father after all. In addition, it appeared that he was in the process of reconciling with his wife, and I along with other Donovan fans could breathe more easily. For me, it is always such a disappointment to discover that a talented soccer star whom I greatly respect and admire is involved in sordid scandal, and I had hoped it would not be the case with Donovan. Only recently, the great John Terry of England was involved in a messy affair with the wife of a good friend and fellow teammate, and Franck Ribery of France was charged with soliciting under-age prostitution. Here, while Donovan’s behavior was far from a shining standard of fidelity or self-control, my respect for him can remain mainly intact: although I certainly wish that he would lead a lifestyle of complete integrity, I am glad that he acted maturely when the time came to take responsibility for his actions, as so few athletes of his kind do in similar situations. To Landon Donovan I would say: thank you for your incredible leadership during the World Cup, good luck in Brazil 2014, and here’s to hoping for a happy and lasting reunion with your wife!