A story in Thursday’s Deseret News reminded me of what a complete cultural change this nation has undergone over the last half-century or so.
The story combined recent media reports on where Tim Tebow might go to seek companionship in New York City, where he now will quarterback the Jets in the NFL. Tebow is what might be termed “famously Christian.” Some would say he wears his religion on his sleeve, but that’s not the point I want to make.
His commitment toward chastity seems to have some in the media viewing him the way they might an aboriginal tribe with limited contact with the outside world.
The New York Times suggested he would find plenty of company among Christians in the Big Apple, but added that, “the city is a far cry from Provo, Utah.”
The comparison is apt. Provo is home to Brigham Young University, one of the few campuses left that emphasizes, and even demands, old-fashioned virtue and chastity.
Remember how things used to be? If not, let me quote from a New York Times story from June 18, 1952. The subject is a new booklet on marriage that was to be distributed by the social hygiene division of the New York Tuberculosis and Health Association.
Titled, “Preparing for Marriage,” it was intended for girls and boys in their late teens — college age, in other words.
“The importance of a wise choice of marriage partner both to the individual and to society is stressed in the new booklet,” the article said. “A happy choice, it says, strengthens the entire community. But a poor one may send society through the courts, hospitals or children’s institutions ‘to correct the end results of a mistake which might have been avoided.’
“’Love at first sight’ comes in for the de-emphasis usual in such pamphlets for young people. The booklet says, too much emphasis on emotional attraction may be a sign of immaturity and a hindrance in helping to establish a happy and permanent marriage.”
It sounds quaint and old-fashioned today, much like those old films on dating and hygiene that teachers threaded through projectors and showed to students in the black-and-white era.
But it’s hard to argue with the truth of those words, just as it’s painful to note that they take for granted the goal of marriage and family.
We don’t have pamphlets like these today from public entities. Instead, we have popular media that sell a very different set of unspoken assumptions.
As a result, places like Provo and people like Tebow are treated as oddballs, even though they stand for values with obvious benefits.
Click the link below to watch a video. It’s from an MSNBC broadcast last spring of an interview with The New York Times‘ Frank Bruni concerning pornography and the hookup culture.
We may not want to reclaim everything about 1952, but shouldn’t we be telling kids the truth?