Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Stupid people got no reason, no reason to live...

I swear, I don't have it in for the Washington Post (I've been a faithful reader since I was a kid). I just wish it'd stop giving me so much ammo...

Today's rant is actually partially directed at a Post writer, Laura Sessions Stepp, who often writes about issues and concerns near and dear to the hearts of teens and young adults. This week, Stepp wrote about the HPV vaccine. Today she did an online chat with two doctors. Most of the chat participants wrote thoughtful, intelligent comments or questions. One, however, wrote the following:

Fairfax, Va.: I'm a father of several young children, including a baby girl. Any parent who pushes their girl to get the HPV shot has failed as a parent. While kids are kids and will make their own bad choices, giving shots to children for a totally preventable disease based on immoral behavior is akin to throwing ones hands up and saying "I give up." Have we as a society so given up on notions of chastity and morality that the best we can do for our children is foist a shot on them and say "have at it"?

While I may fail, we parents need to teach, and hold our children to a higher standard. Teaching my little girl to live a chaste life, saving herself until marriage, protecting her God-given gift of her human body, only to say, "Well, since I can't control you, lets go get a shot just in case you slip up on prom night" sets a horrible and contradictory example.

Ours is a sad culture indeed.

*bangs head against the wall*

I hope that if and when this man's little girl is off at college in 18 years, she cares enough about her own health to get her butt over to Student Health Services to get this shot. And I say this regardless of whether she decides (for herself--not in order to keep daddy happy) to remain abstinent until marriage.

What really got me even angrier was Stepp's response in the chat:

Laura Sessions Stepp: Thank you for contributing to the conversation.

*bangs head against the wall some more*

That was the sum total of Stepp's response. Would it really have been so hard for her to say to this guy, "You realize that your daughter can live a chaste life, saving herself for marriage and still contract HPV from her husband? Or, God forbid, your daughter is raped by someone who carries the virus?" Happily, some other chatters kept my head from exploding by chiming in later to say the same thing.


Anonymous Lex said...

As you know, APL, emotions can be misread, or completely overlooked, in the online-print medium.

For example, you DON'T KNOW whether Ms. Stepp was banging her head on the desk between each of the words she typed, i.e.: Thank (thunk) you (thunk) for (thunk) contributing (big THUNK) to (thunk) the conversation (thunk so hard it loosens teeth).

And you also don't know whether, while pushing her loosened teeth bck into place, she mentally added, "I know how much effort it must have taken you to come up with it."

6:43 AM, April 04, 2007  
Blogger Songbird said...

On the other hand, I'd feel better about state mandates, etc., if I didn't feel there was a chance I'm being swindled by a giant pharmaceutical house in bed with the powers that be.
My daughter is 11, and I'm waiting to hear what our Family Practice doc recommends at her next check-up. But I don't see how anyone could object on the basis that the vaccine would encourage sex. Some people are stupid, indeed.

7:20 AM, April 04, 2007  
Blogger ccw said...

I think the man is an idiot. His concern over his daughter's morality scares me. I would love to know how he feels about his sons saving themselves for marriage.

As for her reply, I agree that it is possible she was banging her head while responding but it really should have been said that NOT contracting HPV has nothing to do with saving yourself for marriage.

Kid L's insurance will start covering the vaccines in the fall and I fully intend to have her vaccinated.

7:49 AM, April 04, 2007  
Blogger Vinny said...

Parenting (BANG) should (BANG) require (BANG) a (BANG) license(BANG) .

8:59 AM, April 04, 2007  
Anonymous nutso-ranter said...

I tend to agree with Lex on this one... my gut tells me that "Thank you for contributing to this conversation" in this context really translates into: "Thank you for being the dumb ass to chime in with the religious right position so the rest of us can have the opportunity to kick you in your self-righteous ass"

APL - I love it when your head explodes.... you have the BEST posts then.

9:23 AM, April 04, 2007  
Blogger kenju said...

The man has a point, but it won't work in this world. He is being unrealistic to the max. He has little ability to control his daughter and he can teach her the right way to act until he is blue in the face, and she will probably do it all anyway.

9:54 AM, April 04, 2007  
Blogger KLee said...

I would have loved to ask that parent whether or not it he'd had his children vaccinated for *anything* since they hadn't contracted anything yet. It seems like "failure" to have them vaccinated for all those pesky diseases like polio and diptheria since he'll make sure that she doesn't play with any other kids who look ill. That argument makes about as much sense as "getting her this vaccine means she'll be morally and sexually loose."

I love CCW's comment that she wonders if his sons are saving themselves for marriage as well! *Exactly!*

10:54 AM, April 04, 2007  
Blogger ewe are here said...

Gee. I had a roommate at university who was her first somewhwat serious monogamous relationship and guess what she got? Yep.

What an idiot. And hear hear on the comments about his sons... think they're saving themselves, too?

11:11 AM, April 04, 2007  
Anonymous nsah said...

I'm with Lex and Nutso. That's very British of her -- a technically polite response that also conveys the message "your idiotic post isn't worth further discussion."

In any case, the NIH says this: "More than 100 different types of HPV exist, most of which are harmless. About 30 types are spread through sexual contact and are classified as either low risk or high risk."

Wouldn't that leave 70 types NOT spread through sexual contact? Or am I misreading?

11:22 AM, April 04, 2007  
Blogger Lawyer Mama said...

I read that! I also like to believe that she was following the "if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all" mindset. But it still would have been nice if she'd pointed out the flaws in his argument. I keep hearing "monogamy, blah, blah, won't get it, blah, blah" from people & I want. to. scream.

1:47 PM, April 04, 2007  
Blogger Angry Pregnant Lawyer said...

As I ranted to Nutso Ranter earlier today, who made the same comment that Lawyer Mama did ("if you can't say anything nice..."):

But telling the truth isn't nice or mean--it just is. She could have politely asked Mr. Fairfax if he had considered the fact that if his daughter's future husband had slept with just one other woman and contracted HPV, he could be transmitting the cancer-causing disease to Fairfax's daughter on her very chaste wedding night.

Nothing mean about that, just a question posed.

And Stepp did offer such comments on other questions to the chat. But then, she also gave her pithy one-sentence remark to other chatters who were more enlightened than Mr. Fairfax. I don't think her responses reflected any bias one way or the other. I just wish that, when she was confronted with a philosophy so wrong-headed and scientifically flawed, she had said something, ANYTHING, more than "thanks."

4:13 PM, April 04, 2007  
Blogger Angry Pregnant Lawyer said...

Oh, and I don't think it needs to be said, but I'm not picking on either NR or LM, because I know we're all just trying to get into the head of the Post writer and give her the benefit of the doubt.

It's just that it's sometimes hard to turn off the "But, but ...!" lawyer in me. :-)

4:16 PM, April 04, 2007  
Blogger Neel Mehta said...

Echoing the above sentiments. You can't roll your eyes in an online forum. And it's not the mediator's role to say that a commenter is full of crap.

This guy's argument comes from a long line of indictments of safe sex education and condom discussions as liberal advocacy of premarital sex. I don't agree, but there is a history.

4:22 PM, April 04, 2007  
Blogger honeykbee said...

I propose that the vaccine is administered at all Purity Balls.

4:25 PM, April 04, 2007  
Anonymous anna said...

After reading enough conversations online that turn into some version of the so-unfortunately-named Mommy Wars, I think the moderator did the right thing. There was no enlightening conversation to be had with that man, nothing to be gained by giving him any more time. There are reasonable people on both side of this issue. He wasn't one of them. She didn't disrespect him, but she didn't add fuel to his fire either.

7:07 PM, April 04, 2007  
Blogger K said...

I think that sometimes people like that man post dumb things like he did just to get a rise out of people. To start a flame-war or a conflict.

In those types of situations, the moderator's response was good - she didn't give him the pleasure of being reacted to. (That's an awfully constructed sentance I just wrote...but hopefully it makes some sort of sense!)

Ignore the Trolls...and maybe they will go back into hiding?

10:33 PM, April 04, 2007  
Anonymous nutso-ranter said...

I like NSAH's comment that it was very "British" of her,... and I agree.

The southern version of that sentiment is "Well bless your heart!..." -- translation: "You dumb ass."

9:54 AM, April 05, 2007  
Blogger Brunch Bird said...

I'm a writer who is getting inundated with emails this week complaining about a piece I recently wrote. As much as I'd love to engage those who seem to be reaching new levels of boneheadedry with thoughtful questions that might make them think more about their position, I can't. You basically have to say, "thanks for playing." Not sure if this translates to the online chat medium, and I can't believe I'm defending LSS, but her hands might actually be tied.

10:48 AM, April 05, 2007  
Anonymous Isaac said...

As a conservative evangelical (my brother used to call me a "jeez-o-jeez-head") I have to agree entirely with the sentiment of this blog.

I am totally crestfallen and afraid when I hear news items about lawmakers moving to limit the use of a vaccine against a life-threatening diease on the basis that it might somehow (by voodoo, apparently) promote premarital sex.

Yeah, what about infected hubbies and rapists?

I am going to teach my daughter to save sex for marriage. But I am horrified that some of my lot would knowingly impose a virtual death-lottery as the consequence of disagreement. "Well, sweetheart, while I could engage with you in an intelligent discussion about the emotional, philosophical and spiritual aspects of sexuality, I'd rather just withhold all forms of protection from STD."

Jesus, to quote the bracelet, "wouldn't do" this. Check out John 8, the bit about the adulteress. Scot-free. No punishment at all.

I am so filled with hate right now I will have to go to confession... oh, right, I'm a protestant... crap.

11:05 AM, April 05, 2007  
Blogger Belle said...

APL- Great post. The thinking here is ridiculous, and it should've been addressed.

Isaac- So glad to see a level-headed Evangelical pipe up! It's so easy to just assume that everyone in your camp espouses the same flawed logic as the chastity-police father APL is talking about here. Thanks for reminding me that not everyone who has faith believes blindly in such arguments.

Oh, and down with LSS!

2:18 PM, April 05, 2007  
Blogger Lawyer Mama said...

APL - Of course it didn't need to be said. I think we all love that you say exactly what you think. That's why I keep coming back at least.

NR - "Well, bless his heart" is what my mom (a Southern lady) says in place of "He's an asshole."

8:29 PM, April 06, 2007  
Blogger K said...

Will this guy prevent his daughter from getting the Hepatitis vaccine, too?

9:01 PM, April 06, 2007  
Blogger PunditMom said...

And I say to that father in WaPo, what about those of us who have a had a brush with cervical cancer because our partner in a long-term relationship (7 years before and during law school) decided to cheat with someone who had HPV and brought it back home? Guess that could never happen to his daughters, huh?

2:58 PM, April 08, 2007  
Blogger kris said...

CHEERS to great minds!!! :)

10:09 PM, April 09, 2007  

Post a Comment

<< Home