TPM Cafe: Opinion

With all the handwringing that goes on over the “hookup culture,” you would think that the youngest adult generation—so-called “Millennials”—have all shunned the restraints of longterm monogamy and instead are skipping through one casual encounter after another. But new research from the Public Religion Research Institute on Millennial attitudes on sexuality complicates that narrative quite a bit. If anything, the answers the survey respondents gave to the questions seem rather traditional. Not only did 71 percent of Millennials say that marriage is still a relevant institution, but 37 percent agreed that “sex between two adults who have no intention of establishing a relationship” is morally wrong. Another 21 percent said it depended on the situation.

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The next few weeks mark America’s annual ritual of academic handwringing: elite college admissions. Universities will begin mailing out acceptances and rejections to hopeful students across the country. For some parents, entry into their child’s coveted school will bring a sigh of relief, while others will view rejections as a referendum on their success as a parent and their child’s chances of a good future.

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Every day I type two words: Ban frats.

It’s an ironic, Internet-speak way of saying, “Oh my God, read what stupid thing the latest group of twentysomething fraternity bros got caught doing.”

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Last fall, the extreme wing of Colorado’s anti-abortion movement believed they had the perfect vehicle for finally declaring “personhood” at the moment an egg is fertilized. Dubbed the “Brady Amendment,” activists cited the emotional story of Heather Surovik, a mother who lost her baby just weeks prior to his due date after she was hit by a car driven by a drunk driver.

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You could be excused for not noticing that the International Criminal Court just elected an all-female presidency—the news, after all, did not garner many headlines. Given the continuing under-representation of women in positions of leadership and power throughout the world, however, we might do well to pay more attention.

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On Ash Wednesday this year, which fell on February 18, a friend of mine posted on her Facebook page about how people were asking her what she was giving up for Lent. She’s not Christian, and she didn’t plan on celebrating it. “I don't want to make a mockery of your religion for my own purposes,” she wrote. When I asked her about it recently, she said celebrating it would give credence to something she doesn’t believe, and would be insulting to true believers.

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Ted Cruz, who has become one of the Tea Party's most prominent voices, has officially announced his bid for president. But how is it that a graduate of Princeton and Harvard, a Bush appointee, can pass muster as the standard-bearer for a movement that is supposed to represent anti-elitist, anti-establishment, “real America”?

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I learned to swim in the Charlottesville, Virginia, public schools. My teacher was a giant, gregarious man named Mr. Byers of whom I was more than a little intimidated and a lot in awe. I can still remember the firm but caring way he comforted us as we watched the Challenger explosion live on a small television in his poolside office. In his main job as a lifeguard, Mr. Byers had demonstrated the same care; he had been struck by lightning on multiple occasions while trying to get swimmers out of pools during storms. Yet in the 1970s and 80s Charlottesville, in which both he and I lived, there were many swimming pools to which Mr. Byers, who was African-American, was not allowed or welcome.

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Back when I was a much younger man, I worked briefly for a Democratic member of Congress from my home state. (This was when West Virginia still had Democratic members of Congress.) I performed the sorts of duties still executed by eager young things today, unglamorous tasks but nevertheless important ones to the good taxpaying people back home: answering constituent mail, helping widows get their husbands’ black-lung benefits and so on.

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Want to contribute to TPM Cafe? Email ideas for your pieces to us at talk@talkingpointsmemo.com
Want to contribute to TPM Cafe? Email ideas for your pieces to us at talk@talkingpointsmemo.com

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