I rather enjoy the massive time-sink that is TV Tropes. It often has a number of pithy terms and interesting analyses. It has also helped me further recognise the reasons why I don’t like much of popular fiction (specifically, a number of tropes that irk me, such as just about everything listed on the “Double Standard” page, and the overused formulae that make so much of American television too predictable for me). In fact, though, I even find cases outside of fiction that will bring something from TV Tropes to mind.
Specifically, this morning, I read an article about the Tim Tebow/Focus on the Family Super Bowl ad controversy by Sally Jenkins: “Tebow’s Super Bowl ad isn’t intolerant; its critics are“. Though she herself is pro-choice, Jenkins finds fault with those who would silence the opposition:
As statements at Super Bowls go, I prefer the idea of Tebow’s pro-life ad to, say, Jim McMahon dropping his pants, as the former Chicago Bears quarterback once did in response to a question. We’re always harping on athletes to be more responsible and engaged in the issues of their day, and less concerned with just cashing checks. It therefore seems more than a little hypocritical to insist on it only if it means criticizing sneaker companies, and to stifle them when they take a stance that might make us uncomfortable.
I’m pro-choice, and Tebow clearly is not. But based on what I’ve heard in the past week, I’ll take his side against the group-think, elitism and condescension of the “National Organization of Fewer and Fewer Women All The Time.” For one thing, Tebow seems smarter than they do.
Where TV Tropes comes in, however, is with this portion later:
You know what we really need more of? Famous guys who aren’t embarrassed to practice sexual restraint, and to say it out loud. If we had more of those, women might have fewer abortions. See, the best way to deal with unwanted pregnancy is to not get the sperm in the egg and the egg implanted to begin with, and that is an issue for men, too — and they should step up to that.
“Are you saving yourself for marriage?” Tebow was asked last summer during an SEC media day.
“Yes, I am,” he replied.
The room fell into a hush, followed by tittering: The best college football player in the country had just announced he was a virgin. As Tebow gauged the reaction from the reporters in the room, he burst out laughing. They were a lot more embarrassed than he was.
“I think y’all are stunned right now!” he said. “You can’t even ask a question!”
That’s how far we’ve come from any kind of sane viewpoint about star athletes and sex. Promiscuity is so the norm that if a stud isn’t shagging everything in sight, we feel faintly ashamed for him.