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Re: Branding Matters



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Everything Jonah and Mark say about the Washington Post story on DC upgrading the condoms distributed to teens and young adults is true, sad, ridiculous, and satire-defying.

My quibble: Blingy packaging for the Trojan “magnum” condoms will remove the stigma of condom use? What stigma? What stigma attaches to any of this behavior? Teen sex? Out-of-wedlock childbearing? STDs? HIV/AIDS? Being shameless enough to demand upgrades in your free condoms from the taxpayers because you are too cool for the second-most-popular brand? Real harms attach. But social opprobrium — where?

One more quibble: Getting your free, in-school condom from the nurse is icky because it’s like asking grandma, but getting it from a young, male teacher with a 30-minute, Internet training certificate in condom theory is cool?  Because a 16-year-old boy who doesn’t do his homework wants to talk to his teacher about his sex life? And what responsibility does the cool teacher have to your intended partner? The beauty of paying for them yourself is that you deal with a drugstore cashier who doesn’t know you — maintaining privacy, which is not a welfare-state value.  But, of course, you have to pay for them yourself.



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