Comments about ‘Jay Evensen: Giggles and scorn keep us from really discussing questions of morality’

Return to article »

Published: Thursday, Feb. 13 2014 12:00 a.m. MST

  • Oldest first
  • Newest first
  • Most recommended
Philadelphia, PA

When a comedian has power over you, you have a problem. Shaking your fist at the people who are laughing is just going to make them laugh harder.

You need to step back and question WHY that comedian has power over you. Either you weren't being serious enough, or you were being too serious, or you can't see your own words and actions from the point of view of others.

I hope you figure it out.

Twin Lights
Louisville, KY

Part of the problem that we are redefining old morality issues such that they seem almost beneficial:

Prostitution is now “sex work” and a viable choice of work
Pornography is a career that “empowers” its actors
Pornography provides married couples with help in intimacy


Sure, in some abstract, theoretical world these things might conceivably be true - but not in the real world. And our laws and policies must reflect the world we actually live in.

Morality outside of a religious context is usually about whether something has benefits to people here and now (no afterlife allowed). Okay.

In the real world prostitution is a terrible work choice. Dangerous in a hundred ways (yes, even where legal). Same with pornography. Yes, there are always the few who buck the trend, but overall the workers in those industries are used up and spit out. As to the benefits of using pornography? For every one story of a couple helped by it there are a thousand of folks destroyed by it.

So let's have the morality discussion - about what is good for us here and now. And let's reject these naive views of what these industries do to us.

Far East USA, SC

"The repressive left is keeping the nation from having the mature discussion everyone needs."

So, its only the left? Too funny.

Is it the Left in Utah who resist real Sex education?
Was it the Left who kept Rodins "The Thinker" statue boxed up and out of public view?

I think most people would agree that pornography addiction is a very serious issue.

Comparing someone viewing pornography to D-Day at Normandy might be just a tad over the top.

Everyone who views porn is not an addict. The video does not make that distinction.

salt lake city, utah

"The repressive left.."

Now let's have reasonable discussion.

And just how do you know Jay Leno or the comedian are lefties?


"The repressive left is keeping the nation from having the mature discussion everyone needs."

Except it is the repressive right who is keeping Utah from having the mature discussion in this state. Can't even think of haivng a mature discussion about anything related to sex (excpet how "evil" it is) here in Utah. While we talk about pornography addiction, why can't we also inform and educate our young people about sex and sexual relationships? Instead, we simply insist (because we won't educate) that our young people learn about sex by doing their own "research", which leads to the pornography addiction problem. If we educate, they may become less inquisitive about sex. But the repressive right can't have our young people becoming educated, can they?

Irony Guy
Bountiful, Utah

It's the "Leftists" who have been protesting the objectification of women for decades. It's the "leftists" who have demanded an end to violence against women. It's the "leftists" who have been calling for sex education in our schools so that the truth about sex addictions can be discussed openly and not shoved into the dark, as the video portrays. Jay, you're not being fair.

Salt Lake City, UT

"The repressive left is keeping the nation from having the mature discussion everyone needs."

Comedy gold.

Question: if I were to sincerely attempt to engage you in a mature discussion, would you be able to do that if we stipulated that our discussion could only use valid, objective and replicable evidence, and that arguments that rely solely on Bronze Age mythologies don't contribute to a "mature" exchange of ideas?

Eugene, OR

Part of having a "reasonable" discussion is admitting that the vast majority of people who view porn do so responsibly. Just because something doesn't fit into the Mormon ideal doesn't make it wrong.

It's a bit like alcohol. Having a glass of wine with dinner doesn't make you an addict and besides, we tried Prohibition and it was a miserable failure. Sexual desires are one of the most basic parts of being human. When are we going to realize that guilt and shame-based approaches aren't effective?

J Thompson

Mr. Evensen, you wrote an excellent article. Already, this morning, some of the posts are picking nits instead of discussing the issues that you wrote about.

You wrote, "Two years ago, when the story of a Zumba instructor in Maine who was accused of prostitution went viral, I wrote in favor of making the names of her clients public. “Buying a prostitute,” I wrote, “is a disgusting crime.” Instead of discussing whether prostitution is a crime, they still ridicule. Are they afraid that if society looks seriously at prostitution, that THEIR favorite sexual perversion might be exposed?

To me, that's what is behind the ridicule. Those who ridicule, instead of discussing the issues, know that they on a list of people who, if exposed, would lead to exposure. Instead of examining their own actions, they divert.

Sexual relationships are only to take place between a man and a woman inside of marriage. The only sex education that needs to be given is to wait until marriage. Period.

Church member
North Salt Lake, UT

It just seems to me that this author wants everyone to live life the way he lives life. He believes in freedom when it benefits him. But when it doesn't he thinks everyone should follow his way of life as if that is the only way to be happy.

Craig Clark
Boulder, CO

Freedom of speech carries no exemption from criticism for the things one says or how. It is, in fact, premised on belief in the value of the free exchange of ideas.

There are few topics for discussion more subjectively-defined than pornography. The BYU folks who made the video that’s been lampooned are not so naïve that they didn’t know that such a video can’t be insulated from public eyes for long, not in the age when published materials are the click of a mouse button away.

LDS Liberal
Farmington, UT

"The repressive left is keeping the nation from having the mature discussion everyone needs."


Truely the funniest line of late.

BTW - Jay,
The "Left" [you know, us Pro-Government types] WANT Government to crack down on On-Line porn...
Just like in "Socialist" Europe and Asia.

Ironically it is the "Get Government out of our lives" Conservatives who whine and complain, yet don't want Government to intefere or do anything about it.
The Reddest of Red Conservative States has the BIGGEST problem in the Nation with it.

Go figure...

Ultra Bob
Cottonwood Heights, UT

When the God of the natural world created life, he only gave it one commandment, survive. He didn't send a messenger or write it in a book, he put it into every living cell of every living creature. Procreation and diversification seems to have been the most successful strategy for living the commandment, and thus we have a sex drive and the requirement of male and female for procreation.

Beyond that, all the rules and regulations regarding sex and procreation are those created by human beings in their quest to control the actions of others. Sin was created by man. There is no sin in the natural world.

If we wish to control the sex drive we may have to do more than just talk about it.

L White
Springville, UT

Wow! Can you believe how many posters have mocked virtue and women this morning? It's probably not politically correct to assume that all of the posters are men but I'm going to assume that anyway. On behave of myself, my daughters and my granddaughters, I'm telling you posters that you should be ashamed of yourselves. Each of you has a mother. You are mocking her and reviling her. You are lusting after the daughters of mothers like me. You want to use them for your pleasure and then throw them away so that you can chase after other daughters. If you get a daughter pregnant, you tell her to have the baby, YOUR baby, aborted. You would rather kill an unborn child than honor womanhood.

Jay Evensen, I congratulate you for having the courage to speak up for virtue and to condemn a society that wallows in muck.

American Fork, UT

The puritanical right is keeping the nation from having the mature discussion everyone needs.
People are having sex. We're built and wired for it. The conversation that needs to be had isn't going to stay contained into the 'sex is for when and why we say it is' box. It never has, and Leno just pointed that out.
And that video? In context, it was just plain funny.

Tyler D
Meridian, ID

Perhaps a serious discussion about sexual morality is difficult because of the Religious Right’s myopic obsession with it (often wildly out of proportion to any other areas of morality) and the fact that most arguments in favor of sexual restriction are couched in religious terms - as the YouTube war scene video makes abundantly clear.

Perhaps if the Right would engage in more scientific and evidence based discussions we may get somewhere (and there are likely excellent arguments for controlling sexual urges). And taking this approach would undermine the Left’s aversion to these sorts of discussions, which would surely help your cause.

If not, then you will continue to receive justified scorn for views which often sound like they are based on an aversion to sexuality and a fanatical belief that all morality (or lack thereof) takes place between the navel and the kneecaps.

Murray, UT

Mr Evensen is absolutely right. Look at the posts. Those who admit that they view porn, (responsibly, they claim) don't want to talk about the effects, not specific effects to them and their relationships, and not the accumulative societal effects, which profoundly harm the youth. Mocking is their denial.

We do the same thing with our nation's spending problem. Dare to suggest that we can't spend more than we make forever and see the mocking you will get. See what has been thrown at Mike Lee.

Denial protects feelings, temporarily, but it doesn't stop the damage. That damage continues to hurt society and to harm to the people who make up that society.


"The repressive left is keeping the nation from having the mature discussion everyone needs."

This is how you begin and open and honest discussion? Really?

J in AZ
San Tan Valley, AZ

While you are all picking apart Mr. Evenson's commentary on the issue of discussing the issues raised by the trend of sexual permissiveness and promiscuity in modern society, you are doing the same things that you are accusing him of.

In any case, let me introduce you to a public health rationale for abstinence from sex prior to a long term committment in a relationship, marriage if you will, and sexual exclusivity after making that committment. Promiscuous sexual activity is a transmission vector for a number of viral, bacterial, fungal, and parasitic diseases. Stopping that activity quickly prevents transmission of those diseases in a relatively short cycle. It is also vastly cheaper than the costs of medical treatment and the research needed to discover new treatments as the disease organisms develop resistance to existing treatments.

J in AZ
San Tan Valley, AZ

Tyler B.: While you contemplate my public health argument for a more disciplined approach to sexuality and relationships, lets consider another thought that is not health related, but has an impact on the economy. Abstinence from sex prior to a long term committment in a relationship, marriage if you will, and sexual exclusivity after making that committment would reduce the incidence of teenage pregnancy. Reducing the incidence of that event would reduce the numbers of young single parents who have a high incidence of living in poverty. Would it eliminate the problem of single parents living in poverty? No. But, it would make a difference for those young people who did not wind up in poverty.

to comment

DeseretNews.com encourages a civil dialogue among its readers. We welcome your thoughtful comments.
About comments