The Campaign Spot

The “M” in the Channel’s Title May as Well Have Stood for That

There are about 80,000 cheap and easy jokes to be made after watching footage of a young Christine O’Donnell appear on an MTV program, “Sex in the 90s,” arguing that masturbation is morally wrong.

(She made this appearance a few years after the surgeon general of the United States, Joycelyn Elders, urged that lessons on it be made part of the curriculum.)

But how many of us will ever do anything as daunting, unpopular, and easily mocked as going on MTV and arguing against masturbation? Talk about going into the lion’s den. You could argue that MTV’s programming directors didn’t just see teenage masturbation as perfectly fine and normal, but as a key audience response goal. You could more easily go on that channel and argue against music, since they stopped showing music videos a couple of years back anyway, replaced by . . . well, Tupperware blondes who continue to aim for that key audience response goal.

Christine O’Donnell may make a terrible senator, or a great one. She may be way out of the mainstream, or perhaps our notion of mainstream is one electoral cycle out of date. But whatever else you think of her, note that at an age when most of us desperately avoid saying or doing anything that would be unpopular or easily mocked by peers, she was fearless.

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