Premarital Sex: Just Like Juggling Machetes Over a 12-Year-Old

by Cara on January 16, 2009

in assholes, education and schools, reproductive justice, sex and sexuality, social conservatives

Meet Derek Dye. Derek Dye is a clown.  Yes, a clown.  A clown who teaches abstinence-only education to middle-schoolers.


Watch the video below.  Really, you must.  Because there’s nothing like clown tricks set to inspirational music.

My first thought is: middle-schoolers are interested in clowns now?  Even clowns that don’t have big red noses?

My second thought is: well at least abstinence-only education now has the kind of spokesperson it deserves.

The problem, though, is that this actually isn’t a laughing matter.  It’s not a laughing matter because Derek Dye’s “work” — that compares drug abuse with sexual activity, and says that engaging in sexual activity with a condom outside the confines of a committed heterosexual marriage is equivalent to juggling machetes over another human being — is being funded with federal dollars.  (In fact, Dye’s employer, the Elizabeth New Life Center, has received an $800,000 Community-Based Abstinence Education Grant.) And it’s not a laughing matter because instead of getting real sex education, kids are receiving this bullshit at a really crucial juncture in their lives.

For the most part, I think that kids are smart enough to not take advice from someone who is literally a clown.  But I still think that delivering these dangerous messages, no matter where they’re coming from, has a negative impact — especially when they are invariably the only messages kids receive from their school.  So these young teens might not believe the clown (at least I certainly hope not) when he says that having sex will completely ruin their lives.  But that’s not going to teach them how to put on a condom.  And when they don’t know how to put on condoms, and instead contract STDs and become pregnant, Derek Dye’s prophecy is just all that more likely to come true, now isn’t it?

One last note: I think the thing that frightened me most about Dye’s message is his extreme warnings over risk.  Taking risks is dangerous, he tell us.  And dangerous is bad.

But since when did this become so?  Surely, some risks are stupid.  Driving drunk is very stupid.  Having unprotected sex when you’re not looking to become pregnant (and have the option for protection) is stupid.  Playing Russian Roulette is stupid.  But without risk, we see no gain.  Every good thing in my life is the result of risk.  The risk of starting this blog and having it hated, the risk of starting a relationship with my husband and having him reject me, and so on.

So what kind of message is it for kids, to tell them that taking risks will only ruin them?  How is it anything other than utterly irresponsible to teach them this, rather than how to identify and assess risks worth taking versus those that are not?  And how are our schools teaching them to view sexuality, when virtually all sex goes right at the top of the humongous list of always unconscionable risks?


1 Judith January 16, 2009 at 11:12 am

I think the other thing that’s stupid about his message is the idea that if you eliminate the risks of these “harmful” behaviours, that there will be NO MORE RISK in your life. The idea that the only obstacles to your dreams are these four things is preposterous. So what happens to the kid who takes the message to heart, doesn’t do any of these things, and then has a teacher tell him he’s a shitty writer or a parent tell her she can’t be a lawyer because she has to raise a family? No point in abstaining now, is there? And as you said, they now don’t know how to use a condom, not drive drunk, etc. etc. I think what we should teach our children is that there is risk in life (lots of risks) and that some risks we should avoid, but sometimes you need to take risk! Sometimes a risky step (submitting a manuscript to a publisher, leaving the path prescribed for you to follow your dream) can lead to the dream. And if we do take risks and something happens, we can bounce back, we can learn from our experiences, and we can move on.

2 hexy January 16, 2009 at 12:10 pm

Wow. As someone who clowns and juggles, and who has previously made their living doing such things… fuck you, buddy. Way to take something awesome and twist it to suit the religious right.

If we actually had a secret Clown Club, I’d be lobbying to get that guy turfed out. As it is, I kinda was to sneak into one of his lectures and upstage him.

3 AshKW January 16, 2009 at 1:41 pm

You said it, Judith. And hexy, please do sneak onstage — but tell me when and where, so I can stand up and applaud you!

4 J.D. January 16, 2009 at 4:37 pm

Wow. I agree completely with this in its entirety but also specifically with the idea that this idiot is teaching that all risks are bad. Way to teach kids to just silently be cogs in the machine. But then again, isn’t that what the right wants school to be? Training ground for future unquestioning followers.

I’ve never been partial to clowns, but this guy makes clowns look awful.

5 whatsername January 16, 2009 at 11:57 pm

I think this guy is a douche, but did have to point out Cara that he stresses that risks are necessary “to achieve that dream”, and says you have to make yourself “vulnerable” and with that comes “the possibility of rejection”. Right before he starts juggling knives, around the 4 minute mark.

Geez, I remember presentations like this one. I’ve got news for anyone who things these sorts of presentations are effective, overall, they’re not. Kids can tell when they’re being talked down to, and this guy? Talking down big time.

6 Cara January 17, 2009 at 8:57 am

I think this guy is a douche, but did have to point out Cara that he stresses that risks are necessary “to achieve that dream”, and says you have to make yourself “vulnerable” and with that comes “the possibility of rejection”. Right before he starts juggling knives, around the 4 minute mark.

He does, but right before he launches into a bit how risk can never be eliminated so you should never take it! And that’s the part of the demonstration he does with knives . . . you know, kind of overriding the lip service from before.

7 Michelle January 17, 2009 at 12:09 pm

I’m with others when I think that most kids of 22(thankfully) won’t take this seriously. proportion. How the hell are you supposed to make decisions about anything if you can’t tell the difference between the danger of juggling machetes and having sex at all, or drinking a drop of alcohol at all. It’s such a dumb message, I’m almost more offended that they would tell such shit to kids of 12 than I’m afraid that any of them will listen, but you never know. And obviously the lack of any real sex education still remains a huge problem.

8 mzbitca January 17, 2009 at 12:28 pm

The thing about performances like this, just like all the drug problems, is that they assume kids are stupid. Kids can tell when they are being lied too or exaggerated too and then the response is to say ‘fuck what they told me’. I do drug counseling for adolescents and when talking about drug lectures and DARE and what they thought their first response was “they lie to us, noone smokes weed once and kills their family” When you make ridiculous statements like that you nullify any message you have. That’s why honest statistics and clear prevention strategies work. Not scare tactices and knives

9 jovan byars January 19, 2009 at 7:09 am

not…funny…at…all. Considering that we are dealing with a teen pregnancy epidemic. I wish someone would do slug that evil smile off this purity balls-loving, abstinence-only clown’s face.

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