Correlation Ain’t Cause, but Mississippi’s Fear of Sex Has To Make You Go Hmmm.
I learn via the Maddowblog, (h/t Balloon Juice) that Mississipi Public Broadcasting got its knickers in a twist because one (count ’em — one) listener got the vapors over some mildly sexualized content on an episode of Terri Gross’s program, Fresh Air. (Miss PB claims that a review of Gross’s show revealed a pattern of naughty bits. (h/t Gawker).
Balloon Juice’s Mr. Mix points out that Mississippi PB’s effective “zero tolerance” policy for mentions of sex on the radio adds up to an essential omerta on matters lubricious, bouncy-bouncy, reproductive and all the rest.
That made me wonder. What occurs in the context of such fear and trembling at the thought that humans have bodies and do things with them?
Well, I can’t say I was terribly surprised. As of the latest statistics I could get my hands on quickly (Friday-afternoon-heading-for-a-BBQ blogging, you know), in 2007 Mississippi had the highest out-of-wedlock birthrate of all states, with such births accounting for 54% of the total. As of 2006, Mississippi teens out-reproduced all their peers, boasting the top birthrate in the country for the 15-19 age group. And as for the nasty problem referenced in this Sublime song…
…Mississippi maintains its leading position, coming in first in its incidence of chlamydia and gonorrhea, and eighth on the league tables for primary and secondary syphilis.
Now, as the title of this post ought to make clear, I’m not saying that a statewide choice to hold one’s hands over one’s ears and shout “I’m not listening!” — whenever discussion begins of sexual behavior, reproduction and contraception and all the rest sully the Magnolia State’s sensitive souls is — has any connection to the fact that so many more of its citizens than those of other states suffer the real human costs that come with unprotected and unconsidered sex.
But it sure is a coincidence, ain’t it?
Image: Anthony Van Dyck, “Cupid and Psyche,” 1639-40