Thursday, January 04, 2007

Conspiracy of Silence

Ferguson, Andrew. “Sex Talk.” The Weekly Standard. August 6, 2001. p38.

Keywords: Sex, silence, conspiracy, relationship

David Satcher, the surgeon general of the United States [1998-2002], held a press conference at the end of [July 2001] to issue a new report...The report issued...was titled The Surgeon General’s Call to Action To Promote Sexual Health and Responsible Sexual Behavior. Such a large, grandiose title invites sweeping claims to be made on its behalf, and after Satcher had surveyed his report’s findings about the social problems associated with sex, from unwanted pregnancies to sexually transmitted diseases, he made perhaps his most sweeping claim of all:

“We have created an environment”--he meant we as in us, Americans in the United States--"where there’s almost a conspiracy of silence when it comes to sexuality.”

Now, it is difficult to image how a statement could be more untrue. Americans started talking about sex pretty much constantly about 40 years ago and have yet to pause to take a breath. I wonder how many reporters at Dr. Satcher’s press conference wanted gently to take him by the arm and walk him to the nearest cineplex for a screening of any movie rated beyond PG-13, or sit him down for a night of watching reruns of Friends or Will & Grace, or hand him a “literary” novel by John Irving or a “trashy” novel by Jackie Collins or any women’s magazine at all, or let him flip through an issue of Maxim or Esquire, or, for that matter, make him squirm with a couple of long passages from the Starr Report. If this is a conspiracy of silence, it is absolutely deafening.

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