Wednesday, 23 September 2009

What we are paying our licence fee for...

When Catholics complain about the BBC, they are usually referring to something that they've seen on the television. But, increasingly, the Beeb's radio output is a cause for concern. Take Sunday night's "The Surgery" on Radio One, for instance.

This week's edition (from 10am until midnight) was on sex and sexual health - two hours of obscene advice, disturbing phone calls and promotion of experimental teenage activity, whether that be hetrosexual or homosexual. Aled, a Radio 1 presenter, was joined by Dr Stuart Flanagan, from a sexual health clinic, who gave advice and answered questions.

Despite the explicit content of the show, I decided to bear it and listen in for the purposes of exposing the kind of filth that the licence fee payer is funding. I was driving at the time. Of course, a lot of the language used and things discussed are not repeatable on this blog. But I'll try and summarise the main points and let you draw you own conclusions.

Aled began the programme by giving some indicators of what questions people might want to ask. What is good sex? How do you practice safe sex? What contraception should you use?

Throughout the show, there were three or four reminders about sex under the age of 16 being illegal in the UK (18 in Jersey). But this didn't stop the presenter and doctor discussing questions sent by text from kids aged 14 and 15, or those about children of these ages. There was an interview with a girl who first had sex aged 15. She said she didn't regret it. There was mention of another girl aged 14, who had been going out with her boyfriend for quite some time, so sex was just the steady progression. If this isn't promotion of under-age 'whatever's right for you' sex, I don't know what is. Another girl said she became a "proper teenager" after having sex.

Talking about 'doing it' for the first time, Dr Flanagan said:
"The first time it's really important to be with someone you trust, you care about and that you've formed a bond with and to go into it together knowing that because the first time is really important. Every other subsequent time, to know that you're going to enjoy yourself and feel relaxed about things, or else it's not going to be a good experience."

In some instances, he encouraged couples to play around with each other to increase pleasure. Dr Flanagan also gave practical advice on homosexual sex to a caller. Aled's take was that: "Sex is about two people getting intimate and making it what it is."

To balance things out slightly, Dr Flanagan eventually did bring some sort of reality by saying that there is nothing wrong with not being sexually active - it doesn't mean your less of a person. A lot of girls would find it quite attractive that a man has waited for the right person, he added. Virginity doesn't define you, he said. I agree. Pity about the other things he said throughout the show such as his advice that if you are starting a relationship, go down to a sexual health clinic.

There was an interview with Chris, who was with a girl when he was 16 but said "I knew that's not what I wanted". He felt that he was gay. For Chris, "sexual experiences, first with a girl then a boy, helped him explore his sexuality," Aled said. Someone else on the show said sex is "free and good fun".

It was 50 minutes into the show when we finally had a couple of snippets from some token Christian girls who said they wanted to respect their body, wait for the right guy to come along and keep sex for marriage. There was also a brief mention of the Jonas Brothers in America who were purity rings and are abstaining from pre-marital sex.

Back to the main line of the show, Helen Jenkins, who also works in a sexual health clinic, said her only concern was that sex would be safe. What is important is that they are both consenting, she said.

Then we have a condom demonstration with Helen, followed by an interview with Camilla Smith from the Terrence Higgins Trust. Asked what would be the one piece of advice when starting a sexual relationship, she told listeners:

"I think you need to be confident in yourself and feel really ready. You need to feel comfortable and safe with your partner. I think you need to be able to communicate with one another so that you can really make sure you're having the sex that you want. There are three Cs that are really easy to remember about being confident, comfortable and being able to communicate. I think with those things in place you will be able to really enjoy yourself and have fun which, let's be honest, is what it's all about really." Aled's response: "Absolutely."
Despite a disclaimer that there would be many sensitive issues on the show that some might find distressing, I found much of the content pretty shocking. Here we have the BBC exploiting young people over a two hour programme by indirectly encouraging them to be sexually active. Maybe the programme makers could consider giving a slot to a clued up Catholic about the proper meaning of human sexuality. Then again, it's the BBC we're talking about. Particularly because Radio One is listened to by a young audience, it's concerning to learn that it's these shows that teenagers are being exposed to in the mass media.

Not once was there a mention that the purpose of sex is to make babies. The constant theme running throughout the programme was about "losing your virginity" and protecting yourself against pregnancy, as if this was some sort of evil or inconvenience. The tone of many of the callers and interviewees was one of depression. There was something about them that made me feel they weren't happy, that they were yearning for something more than sex.

Listening to the programme was a sad indication of the reality of relativism and recreational sexual activity that is, morally, bringing this country to its knees.


9MOVIES said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
On the side of the angels said...

Don't know if Rosie Dawson has contacted either you or Frs Tim or Ray or any of the other major bloggers, but I wrote to the Sunday programme about their choice of 'Catholic' 'Tabletista' representatives as commentators ; and she rang me and we a long talk about the issue.
I told her that there were many erudite ardent devout orthodox Catholics , especially amongst the Catholic blogosphere ; who would be more than willing to speak on certain relevant issues - if only they were asked !
She's already asked me would I be willing to appear within certain remits; and she wants to know other names of people we would all consider as appropriate to speak for us !
[The big issue in her regard is that invariably when they have a Pepinster, Mickens, Stanford, dodgy milk and water cleric or someone from the liberal 'catholic' quangoes - the only people they can get to take a stance against them are the Joanna Bogle and Ann Widdecombe types who come across as belligerent battle-axes and their points of view are lost because of their aggressive reactionary styles ; or some boring middle-aged academic who argues with insincere long-winded autocracy]
Is there any chance you could think of a few names of whom you would think appropriate to put forward and get back to me ?
Of course if Rosie's personally contacted you herself - can't we all get together or form an online forum where we could discuss all this to ensure our voice is actualy being heard ?
if it works for the Sunday programme it could snowball onto 'beyond belief' and 'the big questions' and other religious programmes where the ordinary devout orthodox catholic has no voice !
please get back to me anyway...
God Bless

marsden said...

Thanks for the message. I haven't been contacted. Well done in getting through to them.

I think a forum is a great idea. I totally understand your point as I too get so irritated when "the Catholic voice" is someone like you say.

I would have difficulty going on national media myself as there might be some eyebrows raised (or even worse) at work. Also, despite your kind assumption that I'm a "major blogger", I really aren't in that I fail miserably to update it most days.

It's something we should definitely address though.