Talking points 18 March

_45575155_ottoHow far should a parent go to find a sexual partner for her disabled son? That’s exactly what one woman in the UK is actively doing. She’s even going as far to say she would consider paying for a prostitute for her son who has Downs Syndrome.

This blogger asks How many mothers seek hookers for their sons?

Here are some of the conversations going on on a BBC messageboard. This agony aunt in the UK says she believes this young man Otto Baxter, who has Downs, has the right to sex.

This blogger thinks it’s tasteless.

“Yuck. Not yuck to the idea that someone with Down’s might be a sexual being or even a parent (though I have concerns about the latter), or to the idea that we have to face the tricky question of when someone does or doesn’t have the mental capacity to consent to sex. I don’t even, under the right circumstances, think a prostitute would be awful.

No, just a big yuck that a mum is so desperate to prove her kid normal (and, dare I say it, make a political/social point) that she’ll violate his privacy and meddle in his life in totally abnormal ways by making his sex life (1) her business and (2) a cause celebre”

Condoms aren’t the answer to HIV/AIDS
Or at least that’s the view of the Pope. He made the comments on a tour of Africa. To many people around the world it seems a ridiculous suggestion. But not this columnist who agrees that sexual abstinence and fidelity in marriage is the answer. Do condoms increase the problems of AIDS?

Bonus culture
Ailing insurer AIG will be required to pay back hugely controversial bonuses it awarded after taking public bail-out money, according to the US Treasury Secretary. It comes after huge public criticism of how he’s handled the bail out.

It’s not just the US of course that has faced the issue of huge bonuses being paid to workers at bailed out companies. In the UK the RBS group wanted to pay out £1bn in bonuses before the government stepped in and limited it. Saying it was to end the culture of rewarding failure.

Last month, RBS announced the largest corporate loss in British history, not before it emerged that the man man at the helm Sir Fred Goodwin would receive a £16.6m pension pot

It’s easy to be angry with bankers, blame them for the mess that we’re in. But is now the time to move on? Should we let bankers get on with being bankers? And do we have to face facts that we have to pay bonuses to keep top talent?

You can read Mark’s post here yesterday about Iowa senator Charles Grassley who suggested that disgraced AIG executives should resign – or kill themselves.

Work Jargon
And do you work in a “can do culture”, encouraged to use “blue sky thinking”, a ‘seedbed’ that encourages ‘coterminosity’ between local authorities and ends the ‘ topdown’? If that makes no sense join the club. The Local Government Association in the UK has produced a list of 200 ‘council-speak’ phrases it wants members to ban. Should we defend the right to use jargon?

We’re very lucky on WHYS we don’t get too many flame thrower comments on the blog and over time we’ve had to ban very few people. Have a read of David Mitchell’s piece and see what you make of it.

17 Responses to “Talking points 18 March”

  1. 1 gary
    March 18, 2009 at 12:27

    Re: Downs Syndrome son: Is the goal one night of wild sex or true love? Which one wants what? The mother and son no doubt have very different agendas. As casual observer of humanity, it seems to me that continual searching, momentary hope, and sometimes a whole lifetime of failure to find either one of these things (wild sex or true love) is pretty much a mainstream experience. A few of us find both. I wonder if we know how fortunate we are. If the mother wishes normality for her son, then she should say, “Get on with it. It’ll either work or it won’t.”

  2. 2 manfred
    March 18, 2009 at 13:32

    i think otto should be able to decide for himself,unless if downs syndrome involves not to be able to make decisions then maybe mum should try to teach him masturbation hookers are not a solution.time will come for some to be with him mum!

  3. 3 Maingi, kenya
    March 18, 2009 at 13:49

    Sex, i belive, is a basic human right and nobody, regadles of their physical or mental status should be denied it . On pope’s comment, am still wondering on which world he lives in

  4. 4 Rob (UK)
    March 18, 2009 at 13:56

    Re: the Pope’s comments

    Abstinence may be the only way of ensuring that HIV doesn’t spread, but it can never be a solution because it is unrealistic to expect people to be abstinent. Whether the Pope likes it or not, some individuals will continue to have sex with multiple partners. Distributing condoms and teaching safe sex is the only realistic solution.

  5. 5 Kevin Burke
    March 18, 2009 at 14:18

    Regarding The Prada Pope,

    The Pope has, in effect, condemned thousands of people to death with this statement. While abstinence is indeed a safe bet for avoiding HIV, it is also outside of the framework of human behavior. As biological animals, engaging in the act of sex is pleasurable partly because it is a fundamental part of our instinctive programming for survival. It is an essential act of the human animal. This is not a prescription to go have sex as often as one can with as many partners, it’s just a dose of gentle realism when it comes to how and why humans behave. We have sex because it allows us to survive as a species and our bodies reward us for that survival with all sorts of pleasure inducing hormones.

    To tell people simply not to have sex is not only unrealistic, it’s absolutely dangerous. Condoms acknowledge the importance of the act of sex while reminding those engaged in it that there are potential consequences beyond the immediate pleasures it provides.

    The pope, it seems to me, is protecting the Catholic Brand at the risk of thousands of people’s health. Hundreds of thousands. More perhaps. It’s unconscionable.

  6. 6 Anthony
    March 18, 2009 at 14:50

    @ Otto and his conquest for sex.

    If he and his mom would like to prove that he is normal, let him find someone to have sex with on his own. I mean, how many mothers are trying to find a one night stand for their sons….that’s not “normal” at all.

    Having the right to do something, doesn’t mean they should. Should retarded men be able to buy guns? How about ride motorcycles? How about start drinking alcohol?” I guarantee these things wouldn’t be done responsibly.

    @ Pope

    That seems the same as telling people “If you’re going on a boat, don’t wear the life vest…it won’t help”

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  7. 7 Archibald in Oregon
    March 18, 2009 at 15:18

    The bonus culture and the pope are outdated practices which create unnecessary competition and predatory tactics. As far as downs sydrome and sexual activity, I have seen many examples of happy couples with downs, the sex part is always a work in progress, as it is for all of us. Mom should stay out of it and let her son make his way on his own. Otherwise, he will always feel inadequate, where now he is just inexperienced, as we all have been……..

  8. 8 Carol
    March 18, 2009 at 15:30

    HIV/AIDS, condoms…I stand for abstinence and faithfulness in marriage.I do not believe in sex before marriage whether it is protected or unprotected. Condoms in my view are good only when used as a contraceptive measure in marriage and in instances where one or both (married)couples are HIV positive.
    Carol, Mbarara Uganda.

  9. 9 Anthony
    March 18, 2009 at 16:17

    @ Carol.

    That mentality is the problem. Since my mom doesn’t believe in war, violence, or guns, should America get rid of their weapons? No, because there are many other people who don’t believe that was and it would be silly to believe that everyone believes the way you do.

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  10. 10 Dan
    March 18, 2009 at 17:25

    RE: Down Syndrome Sex

    The desire for sexual contact can come at a very early age for many children. Most boys dream of it in the hopes of fulfilling their desires. But how many of them are ready for the physical and emotional responsibility of it? From what little I know about Down Syndrome, the mentality of the person is deficient, in that they do not possess what we would consider a fully matured mindest. Essentially this places the person with this disability, regardless of age, at the emotional level of a child. That is, a person with Down Syndrome, with an impaired emotional disability, would not, in my opinion, be able to deal with the deep emotional implications of physical intimacy any more than young boys whose hormones outweigh their emotional maturity.

    The risk of emotional trauma is not worth the physical indulgence.

    Dan – Battle Ground, WA USA

  11. 11 Ewewale
    March 18, 2009 at 17:39

    No matter the reasons Miss Lucy gives for trying to find a sexual partner for her son, I believe she has the desperate need to be made a grand mother by him lurking somewhere in her heart, and considering paying a prostitute for such achievement is not too far for a mother.
    It’s very easy to sit somewhere comfortable and say it is tasteless or a violation of privacy but when one is faced with making life-time decisions then we’d appreciate Lucy’s Predicament.

    If society does not discriminate against both the disabled and those who date or are married to them, she wouldn’t need to go that far.

  12. 12 Luci Smith
    March 18, 2009 at 17:50

    I have worked at an institution in Copenhagen, Denmark for about 5 years in the 1980’s where a lot of people with Down’s syndrome and other forms of mental handicaps lived and this is a problem for a lot of people who do not have ‘normal lives’, in that they are handicapped in some way.
    Personally, from what I have seen, the best thing for people with mental handicaps is to hold dances and parties with music and chances to get together. At these events, people meet up with the opposite sex and have a good time. Eventually, relationships develop and then somebody needs to explain about safe sex and birth control.
    For young people with Down’s, especially men, there can sometimes be an immense focus on sex at a certain point- in reality, they are just the same as other young men who need to learn that they may have needs, but that they have to be responsible in society as well. I am not advocating abstinence but as I do not like the idea of people selling sex, I think that just like for anyone else, a real relationship is the most promising option, especially for one’s sexual debut.

  13. 13 Maingi, kenya
    March 18, 2009 at 18:31

    @ Luci smith
    what do you mean by “not liking people who sell sex”?

  14. March 18, 2009 at 23:14

    There is something terribly amiss in Vaticanland. This pope seems to keep himself on the front page by saying ignorant and uninformed proclamations.

    That arm in the air big blessing for everyone is fast becoming the gesture of the Great Pollyanna of our times.

  15. 15 Deogratias
    March 19, 2009 at 03:03

    As a Catholic and an African, I think it is preposterous for European governments to tell the Pope to stop discouraging the use of condoms. This is cultural imperialism all over again. The Pope has his well-considered view about sexuality and condoms, and the European governments have their more progressive view. In this free market of ideas, why not let the Africans listen to both arguments and then choose what suits them. They are perfectly capable of doing that. Please, Africans are not monkeys, so that “monkey hear Pope, monkey do what Pope says.” Even my old grandmother who never went to school has strong opinions about different issues, which she makes known to me in no uncertain terms. The western liberal culture is not the only option in the market. If it works for the West, it may not necessarily work elsewhere.

  16. 16 Dennis Junior
    March 19, 2009 at 07:00

    Re: OTTO
    I think he has a RIGHT to have sexual relations, but, for doing things such as hiring a prostitute; Is simply a bad if it happens, because the law doesn’t look some favourably at this issue…

    Re: Condoms aren’t the answer to HIV/AIDS
    That is somewhat true, but; Most people will have sexual relations without the protection afforded by the usage of Condoms…

    Re: Bonus culture
    I am glad, that these companies e.g. AIG is going to be forced to payback these bonuses….

    Re: Work Jargon
    It should be not allowed…Simple words and that works…

    Re: Drivebys in the blogs
    That is very good news!

    ~Dennis Junior~

  17. 17 Jim Newman
    March 20, 2009 at 21:35

    Hello again
    And hello Deogratias. Message received and understood. From this moment I shall stop telling the Pope to wear a condom.
    As far as the mother with a Down’s syndrome son is concerned I think she is like most mothers she loves her son and wants to do the best for him.
    About the bankers I think the time to move on is when justice is done.
    At least those who have made such massive failures should explain, in detail, why they deserve a golden parachute.
    Drivebys. I thought some of the gems were hilarious. It’s a bit unfair to criticise non-anglophones for grammar mistakes.
    As far as banning is concerned I’m surprised that I haven’t been banned as half of my comments have been censored. On certain subjects I have no intention of changing my views until someone has the courage to explain to me why I am wrong.

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