Emily Schrader - University of Southern California

The chart-topping song “Same Love” by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis featuring Mary Lambert has become somewhat of a theme song for “marriage equality” in recent weeks. But the song is a pristine example of the self-righteous, revisionist slander of anyone who does not support state-sanctioned same-sex marriage, and a direct attack on those who are religious. 

In the first stanza, the lyrics say:

The right wing conservatives think it’s a decision
And you can be cured with some treatment and religion
Man-made rewiring of a predisposition
Playing God, aw nah here we go
America the brave still fears what we don’t know
And God loves all his children, is somehow forgotten
But we paraphrase a book written thirty-five-hundred years ago

What “right-wing conservatives” are leading the march to send all gays to therapy and beat them with bibles?  And how does one even force someone to go to therapy if they don’t want to? I travel in a lot of Republican and right wing circles – I don’t know anyone who believes gays must go to “gay conversion” therapy.

Frankly, no one cares if you’re gay. In fact, no one cares except the people who claim other people don’t like gays. But regardless, the conservatives who don’t support gay marriage don’t do so out of fear or hatred, and they certainly don’t think God doesn’t love gay people, as the lyrics in this song would have you believe.

The (mis)use of religion in this song is offensive and inappropriate and given America’s obsession with political correctness, it’s jarring that no one in the entire music industry pointed this out during the performance of this song at MTV’s Video Music Awards. Macklemore and Lewis are outright disrespectful with lyrics like “…we paraphrase a book written thirty-five-hundred years ago” – the implication being, of course, that something written 3500 years ago isn’t relevant to today’s day and age.

Later in the song, Mary Lambert sings “Love is patient, love is kind…,” as excerpt from I Corinthians 13. It’s one thing to fight for the freedom to choose the lifestyle you wish, but it’s something else completely to pervert and disrespect the beliefs of those who disagree with you. Leaders of the gay rights movement demand recognition and acceptance (despite the fact no one is denying them these things), and then explicitly disrespect the religious beliefs of others – not by being gay, but by attacking the religion of those who they perceive to be against them. They fail to see that people can disagree about what’s right, and still coexist and have mutual respect.

The progressive left has successfully hijacked the issue of homosexuals to smear the right by using a few instances of persecution (that often had nothing to do with being Liberal or Conservative) and inventing a fantasy world in which the religious-right is to blame for gay persecution that largely does not exist. It is the same tactic they use to portray Republicans as racist – despite the fact that the majority of Republicans were at the forefront of the civil rights movement when even Democrats were against it.

No Macklemore, we don’t hate people who are gay, and many of us aren’t opposed to state-sanctioned same-sex marriage, but we do hate your unjustified righteous indignation and your prejudice against those whom you do not understand. 

Being gay, gay marriages, and gay “rights,” are not going to destroy society – but the inability of Americans to think critically and the dangerously vapid state of my generation’s critical thinking skills will. Gay activists ought to consider that in seeking love and respect from others, others should receive the “same love” in return.

Emily Schrader is a graduate of USC and the University of Tel Aviv

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On Monday, the Obama administration decided to drop the fight to keep age restrictions on the so-called “morning-after pill” contraceptive. Whereas children used to need a prescription to get this drug, they will now be able to get it over-the-counter, no matter how young.

The United States, at long last, seems to have reached the point of true equality. Because after 236 years of discrimination, burdensome regulations, disenfranchisement, and what one might call “age apartheid”… the children of America are finally rising up to take back their rights.

Three cheers for child sexual liberation! Today, we can all finally be proud of our country (you know, like Michelle Obama back in ’08).

When Barack Obama was elected in 2008, we knew change was coming. He brought Obamacare, let gays in the military open up about their sexuality – but surely these “accomplishments” absolutely pale in comparison to this most noble of all civil rights feats – the sexual empowerment of children of all ages!

The Obama administration has finally backed away from puritanical old-fashioned ideas about preteen or young teen usage of day-after pills. Obviously, this is a huge victory for women’s rights children’s rights; no child who has sex at age 12 or 13 (or younger) should be “punished with a baby,” after all. And it certainly is no business of any parents to interfere with their late elementary/middle schooler’s sex life. The sheer tyranny!

No, the Obama administration seems to have realized what U.S. District Judge Edward R. Korman in New York stated long ago in his ruling against age restrictions for emergency contraception – that those restrictions are “scientifically unjustified” and “politically motivated.”

What a guy, that Judge Korman, looking out for the kiddies like that. And he’s so right! Virtually no one except for maybe archaic right-wing evangelicals honestly believes that parents ought to be consulted in life-altering decisions of their children. Just as the parents of America are incapable of packing healthy school lunches for their children (something Michelle Obama took on head first, bless her soul), they have also failed to secure contraceptives for their children – and it is high time that we put a decisive end to this affront to (child) liberty.

For some reason, the American College of Pediatricians opposes child access to the morning-after pill without a prescription.

The potency of these medications demands physician oversight, and equally important their over-the-counter availability circumvents parental involvement and may facilitate adolescent abuse. Health professionals need to encourage good parent-child communication, teach minors the benefits of delaying sexual activity until marriage, and teach them how to avoid situations resulting in coerced sex and premature/promiscuous consensual sex.

Huh? Clearly these doctors do not understand that the government knows far more than parents about what’s best for children.

Where did this primitive notion that children shouldn’t be having sexual relations come from, anyway? Those uneducated Christians? Those fascist Republicans who believe the “family unit” is healthy for society? Don’t they know it takes a village to raise a child? MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry put it best when she recently stated, “We have to break through this idea that kids belong to their parents, or kids belong to their families, and recognize that kids belong to whole communities.” That’s right, Melissa, they ultimately belong to the federal government!

Let’s be clear: The time has come for the parents of America to step down, to surrender their despotic control over the decisions of these children who don’t really belong to them anyway. The government has spoken, and it is calling on the youngsters to throw off the chains of injustice and persecution, freeing themselves once and for all to make irresponsible, potentially dangerous, adult-type decisions without the necessity for any parental guidance.

But wait – come to think of it, maybe the kids are not completely free yet. After all, even Michelle wants to intervene when they’re pigging out on potato chips. And we still don’t let them vote, or have a job.

But by golly, at least the little ones can finally have worry-free sex! And parents will no longer be able to interfere with government control over American children. Thank God almighty, we are free at last!

Fix Contributor Emily Schrader graduated from the University of Southern California. She currently attends graduate school at Tel Aviv University in Israel.

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There’s a reason Columbia University stands out. No, it’s not an incredible student body, or groundbreaking research by faculty, nor is it a high quality intellectual environment in the classrooms, or a high ranking in Princeton Review.

Columbia University stands out because they are leading the world. Leading, that is, in giving terrorists and murderers a platform to not only speak (Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Rashid Khalidi) but to teach. That’s right – your child’s $60,000-per-year, Ivy League classroom may well be in the hands of convicted cop-killer and Weather Underground (WU) terrorist Kathy Boudin.

Name doesn’t ring a bell? Let’s review. Boudin at one point called herself “The Fork,” along with fellow terrorist Diana Oughten, presumably in reference to Charles Manson’s murder of pregnant Sharon Tate in which they shoved a fork in her stomach – an act Boudin and WU praised.

The Fork, then, was heavily involved in WU operations, which included numerous bombings including the U.S. Capitol building, the Pentagon, and several multinational corporations. Additional plots never came to fruition, although one involved the very university which pays her salary now. (Columbia really does stand out, doesn’t it? If by standing out you mean acting in an unfathomably perverse fashion.)

The Fork survived an accidental explosion of a nail bomb that had been intended for a soldiers’ dance at Fort Dix. Think about those scenes from the Boston Marathon for a moment, and let sink in what Professor Boudin and her partners had planned: Soldiers in their dress uniforms, and young women in dresses and flowers – then limbs and blood and death splattered everywhere. That’s what The Fork was aiming for.

And that’s not even what put her behind bars.

In 1981 – not the far-distant sixties, but in the eighties – The Fork left her infant son at a babysitter’s and acted as getaway driver for the Brinks heist, staged by the WU and the Black Liberation Army. This resulted in the theft of $1.6 million, the murder of Brinks security guard Peter Paige, and the murder of two officers, Edward J. O’Grady and Waverly L. Brown, who were ambushed in part by Boudin luring them to let their guard down. Her well-connected lawyer daddy got her a much lighter sentence than her compatriots, and after a couple decades in what her son describes as “one of the best prisons in the country,” she embarked on her new career.

One thing she has never done, however, is to attempt to make amends to the nine children who were left fatherless due to her crime. Her own son was adopted by a nice young couple you may have heard of: WU founder Bill Ayers and his wife Bernardine Dohrn. Despite a busy schedule of dodging the law, building their own careers in academia, and having backyard barbecues with the Obamas, they made sure The Fork’s son received a most privileged upbringing with all the best schools and a ticket to Yale.

That’s just the highlights of Boudin’s history – it grows more distasteful the closer you look. But that’s the subject of a different piece.

Recently, the O’Reilly Factor’s Jesse Watters headed to Columbia to see what students think about the hiring of a cop-killer, and to track down Kathy Boudin herself. Most of the students were not even aware that their university hired such a controversial and radical left-wing convict, and reactions were somewhat understandably mixed.

The more interesting part of the piece unfolded when Watters tracked down Boudin, who attempted to scurry away from him repeatedly before finally stating: “I have nothing but regret for the suffering that I caused, and I’ve attempted to lead a life that would express that remorse and that regret.”

Pretty words. One would almost think she feels guilty. Unfortunately, her guilt seems to be that she got a lighter sentence than her less well-connected partners, who won’t be eligible for parole (or their own Columbia appointments) for another 45 years. She spends some degree of time advocating for their release – none advocating for her victims.

From the video footage, it appears Watters was trying to deliver a letter to Kathy Boudin from Michael Paige, the son of murdered guard Peter Paige. He was unable to do so, as the campus cops, apparently unmoved by the history involved, chased him off Columbia property.

In the letter, Paige rightfully expresses disgust that Boudin is teaching at Columbia University, and states that no amount of time served can bring back a life. “The day that my father, Peter Paige, Sergeant Edward O’Grady and Officer Waverly Brown come walking back into our lives, is the day that Kathy Boudin and her fellow terrorists’ debts to society will be repaid,” he writes.

While Boudin’s sentence was served, justice was not – and that is in no small part because of Columbia University. Of all the brilliant people in this world, Columbia University chooses to house, pay and glorify The Fork: a convicted cop-killer who continues to defend terrorists. They have provided her with a platform, just as they provided Ahmadinejad and Khalidi, to spew hatred and sow sympathy for bloodthirsty terrorists. And that sympathy is being sown in the hearts of young future leaders and thinkers.

You can read Paige’s letter in its entirety here.

Fix Contributor Emily Schrader graduated from the University of Southern California. She currently attends graduate school at Tel Aviv University in Israel.

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Millions of people have now seen the video of the USC political science professor calling Republicans stupid and racist, referring to them as losers and “old white guys,” and accusing them of voter fraud while appearing to advocate using voter fraud to defeat them. Fox News’ The Five opened their show with it earlier this week and the outcry (in the non-mainstream media at least) has been significant.

I’ve watched this unfold with great interest because I took that exact class, from that exact professor, just a couple of years ago. Darry Sragow was also my professor. But my class experience was a little different – and the reason it was different is the reason I am not particularly outraged by this incident, nor do I wish to see Professor Sragow censured.

I’m not outraged because I agree with the professor. On the contrary, as a conservative and a former board member of the USC College Republicans, I find his comments both false and insulting. Should he have expressed his views that way? No – I think it shows a lack of respect and certainly does not reach the standard of civil discourse.

That being said – I am more disturbed by the behavior of the students in the class. And I’m actually not talking about the ones who are laughing and agreeing with his offensive and off-target sentiments. Students parroting left-leaning professors is almost as predictable as the fact that almost all professors are left-leaning. But I’m talking about the ones who do not agree with him. And we know there was at least one student who didn’t agree, because that student, Tyler Talgo, recorded Sragow’s shenanigans throughout the entire semester and then compiled the 15-minute clip, which went viral. And Talgo may not have been the only one, either – in my experience, there is often more than one student who sees things differently.

Although I understand Talgo’s reluctance to challenge Sragow, I submit that this is where he went wrong. Because while Sragow’s comments are certainly offensive, nobody in the class challenged him – and this itself is an even bigger problem than indoctrination, at least at the college level (teachers of minor children is a different issue).

As I said, biased professors are absolutely de rigeuer at almost every college or university – and I would argue that for conservative students, that bias in and of itself isn’t always bad. College is a wonderful place to gain exposure to alternative viewpoints, because it gives you an opportunity to think about what you believe, as well as an opportunity to hone your debate skills. (This, I might add, is an opportunity left-wing students will never have!)

I argued with Professor Sragow in almost every class session. I challenged him so often that when he made certain types of statements people laughed and looked at me, knowing that I’d have a response and an argument. So in my class, alternative viewpoints were debated. I also should point out that Professor Sragow, despite his obvious partisanship, always welcomed that debate and discussion, and regarded my comments with a dry sense of humor. I realize, again, that some students may not be comfortable in such a situation – but conservative students need to understand that when they refuse to challenge faulty thinking, they’re letting only the wrong viewpoint be heard. It is crucial for us to speak up – it is crucial for us to challenge this type of rhetoric.

Had Professor Sragow punished me for speaking up, or given me a lesser grade, then a line would have been crossed. And there are methods for dealing with that kind of unfair academic practice. But whether he responded inappropriately to my challenges or not, I still had the responsibility to speak up. (He did not, by the way, grade me unfairly.)

What struck me about that video – and I think it struck a lot of people – was how unpleasant that classroom environment would have been for someone who didn’t agree with the professor. But I am living proof that it didn’t have to be that way. Our class did not have that same oppressive atmosphere, because our ideas – the ideas of limited government, personal responsibility, individual liberty – were brought to the table. We must put them out there in this kind of environment. (And sometimes when one student is brave enough to speak up, another one or two conservatives – or at least non-liberals – will join in!)

The idea that a professor should be reprimanded for something he said, with very rare exceptions, is wrong. Punishing a professor for inflammatory statements (true or not) is just another form of censorship. The entire idea of dialogue and debate is a conservative principle, as is defending free speech – even when we don’t like it. But I can’t help but think how different this classroom’s experience of these issues would have been if someone had just challenged Professor Sragow’s ridiculous assertions. It’s not about winning an argument with the professor – it’s about letting your classmates know that there is another way to see things.

Fix Contributor Emily Schrader graduated from the University of Southern California. She currently attends graduate school at Tel Aviv University in Israel.

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Remember when the Obama Administration paid gay men $400,000 to cruise the Argentinian bars to discover why gay men engage in risky behavior while drunk? Well they did, and the fun didn’t end there, apparently.

More recently, the brave researchers at Indiana University’s Kinsey Institute (where else?) obtained half a million dollars in federal stimulus money to ponder the ramifications of – oh, how can I say this – man parts that don’t respond well to faulty condom application skills.

The study was titled “Barriers to Correct Condom Use,” (because a study of condoms funded by the “stimulus package” wasn’t enough of a pun, apparently) and ran from 2009 to 2012.

Here, in their own less-than-clear language, is what the researchers spent three years working on:

“This project is one of the first to examine under controlled conditions the role of cognitive and affective factors and condom skills in explaining condom use problems in young, heterosexual adult men.”

In other words, researchers spent three years studying the difficulties drunk guys have putting on condoms.

I wonder, is there video of the study’s experimental subjects?

I’m just kidding about the drunk guy part. There is no evidence that any drunk college students were abused in the making of this study. The researchers may have spent more time talking to the young men about this all-important life skill than actually providing them assistance.

They talked to 479 guys between the ages of 18 and 24, to come up with this shocking, historic discovery: Loose-fitting condoms, and anxiety associated with condoms, may make it more difficult for young men to stay aroused, which may make them not wish to use condoms in the future. Anyone with an ounce of common sense could have told them that and saved them three years of research work and half a million bucks.

The folks at the Kinsey Institute argue that this study was critical to the nation and worth half a million taxpayer dollars because “one in two sexually active persons will contract an STD/STI by age 25.”

Never mind that we routinely teach sixth graders about condoms, and that information on how to prevent pregnancy and STDs is available on this new-fangled invention the kids like to use called “the internet” – no, this is a matter for the federal government. To fund. With your money.

For the sake of argument, let’s suspend our disbelief for a moment. Let’s assume that this condom study was actually useful. Even if that were the case, consider the source of the funding.

The stimulus money was an investment, President Obama told us, in jobs. It was all about creating employment. In view of that objective, maybe we should stop making fun of this research and get down to appreciating how many jobs it created. Which according to the federal government, is exactly – zero.

“No jobs created/retained,” says the helpful “recovery.gov” (ha ha) website.

So where did that half a million go? The Kinsey Institute pocketed it, of course, to pay their “researchers.” But as the government is telling us in no uncertain terms – no new jobs were created. None exist today.

It’s just one more fiasco in a long list of performance-dysfunctional stimulus failures of the Obama administration.

Fix Contributor Emily Schrader graduated from the University of Southern California. She currently attends graduate school at Tel Aviv University in Israel.

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From reality shows, to Youtube, to HBO hits like Girls and Shameless, the material labeled as art and/or entertainment has really deteriorated – to the detriment, especially, of heavy media consumers like those of us in the 18-24 year-old demographic.

Sure, some of us like to read books, some enjoy gardening, and others like shooting hoops or baking or going for long bike rides. But far, far too many of us, especially in my generation (and including myself), spend a large portion of our time filling our brains with complete garbage via both the internet and television.

Our age group is already far less inhibited than previous generations, due to growing up in a world where the internet and Facebook fostered an almost constant stream of personal revelations laid bare for all to see. Perhaps that’s part of the reason we don’t question the “revelations” of those who produce the programming with which we fill our minds, and our hours.

Now, there are those (generally older people) who look at this programming with intense distaste, and then call for more censorship, particularly regarding lewd and inappropriate behavior on television.

But I don’t think it’s the government’s job to censor lewd content, especially on paid cable channels. I do, however, think that the individuals who create and air these shows ought to seriously consider the ramifications of what they’re disseminating, and that a discussion of those ramifications is long overdue.

Perhaps even more to the point, the individuals in my generation need to learn to change the channel.

Why?

Well, not necessarily because it causes people to emulate bad behavior.  People are free to make their own behavioral choices, and no movie or TV show forces them to do anything.

But shows that unflinchingly depict the reality-show style exhibitionism that we see in Girls, or scripted shows like Shameless that dwell on the most abominable subjects (like pedophilia) from the very dregs of society in an effort to reflect “reality,” or shows that portray real people trading their dignity for a fleeting glimpse of fame or a few lousy bucks by engaging in degrading and humiliating acts (take your pick of numerous reality shows) – can anyone honestly justify how this is a productive use of time for any of us?

Wallowing in the ugliest the world has to offer generates nothing positive in one’s life. It does, however, desensitize us to that very ugliness – and that’s not a good thing for the individual or for society.

When people of my age group (and, of course, younger teens) see “Hannah” and “Marnie” consistently having casual sex with any and every guy they meet on Girls (including gay men – why not throw that in the mix, too) – or, even worse, girls lining up on The Jersey Shore and other reality shows to sleep with the “stars,” how can that not affect how we think about sex?

Again, watching it doesn’t translate to losing the ability to distinguish certain behaviors as right or wrong, and we may still hold to higher standards – but it absolutely desensitizes us to the consequences of abdicating those higher principles or guidelines. In other words – the very popularity of these programs indicates that shame is really no longer a factor.

“Shameless” is a pretty fair description of the society these programs portray. They are obscene and crass. I’ve often heard people from previous generations make the case that there is a moral issue with pornography and lewd behavior because it causes temptation or is alluring to some people, but in the sexual encounters in these types of shows, it’s revolting, not intriguing. In fact, it is so repetitive that it loses its intended effect, successfully desensitizing the viewer.

If there’s no shame – it’s no big deal! – to get drunk and have casual sex with a man you’ve just met, and there’s no social stigma to posting all about your drunken or sexual exploits (or deepest feelings, for that matter) online, and it’s perfectly normal to be entertained by videos of other people humiliating themselves – then obviously there’s no harm in me “having a little fun” too, especially if it doesn’t go that far? After all, no young person wants to be “the weird one,” and if life is a spectrum between uptight prude and Jersey Shore, then most of us feel pressured to be somewhere in between, right?

But there is real harm, in that “in between” space, because that spectrum has gotten longer and longer, and it’s only traveling in one direction. When the extremes grow more and more outrageous, and are not only tolerated but celebrated in the media we consume, then a healthy “in between” place becomes harder and harder for a young person to find.

My epiphany on this issue arrived after watching a few recent episodes of shows like Girls and Shameless, and realized they actually left me feeling dirty. Sex is no longer something meaningful to share with someone you love, but cheap and meaningless – an activity to occupy time – with no more emotion or thought than a trip to the bathroom. This is depicted as quite normal. Nothing is inappropriate to see or talk about, nothing is shocking or disgusting, and there is no standard of decency. These shows are the intellectual equivalent of filling your body with a dozen donuts; you think they taste good while you’re eating them, but they lose their appeal the more you eat – and they leave you feeling nasty afterwards.

Unfortunately, many of my friends have told me, “I love Girls because it’s just so realistic.” But even if there are realistic elements, why is that, in itself, something to be celebrated? It’s tragic that 18-24 year-olds are living these kinds of meaningless lives and in these kinds of self-loathing relationships – the last thing they need is to spend time absorbing more of the same on their TV screens.

If these shows actually asked any meaningful questions about this type of behavior, or even thoughtfully depicted consequences, one might argue that the programs provided some benefit to viewers or society at large. But they don’t, and they’re not particularly creative, and they’re not exactly art either. And it’s an embarrassment that we reward this material with Emmys.

I’m not going to say that we should take shows like this off the air, but I am going to say that all of us as individuals should be able to recognize that not everything that’s out there is worthwhile, or a good use of our time. I picked on Girls and Shameless, but they’re just two examples among many.

As for me, I think I may switch my viewing habits to programming that has at least some redeeming value. I’d rather watch something that features thoughtful and engaging storylines and that respects the human dignity of the characters, as well as my dignity as a viewer (Downton Abbey anyone?), than shows that leave me feeling like I’ve contracted an STD just from watching.

Or maybe I’ll go for a long bike ride.

Fix Contributor Emily Schrader graduated from the University of Southern California in 2011. She currently attends graduate school at Tel Aviv University in Israel.

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