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March 09, 2005

Vegetable attraction

"Then a sentimental passion of a vegetable fashion
must excite your languid spleen,
An attachment a la Plato for a bashful young potato,
or a not-too-French French bean!"
Gilbert & Sullivan, Patience

My kids are not going to be guinea pigs in the new sex-ed curriculum in Montgomery County, Maryland, so I have the luxury of taking an objective look at it. Of course, my long-time readers will know that, for me, an objective look actually means a juvenile look.

The two most controversial parts of the new curriculum concern homosexuality and condoms.

Bethesda Chevy-Chase High School in Bethesda, Seneca Valley High School in Germantown and Springbrook High School in Silver Spring will take part in the high school course in which 10th-graders will be shown how to put condoms on cucumbers.

Martin Luther King Middle School in Germantown, Tilden Middle School in Rockville and White Oak Middle School in Silver Spring will participate in the middle school curriculum in which eighth-graders will learn that homosexual couples are the newest American family.

What have these two things got in common, other than being controversial? Teaching kids the proper use of condoms by showing them how to put one on a cucumber perhaps invites reference to a couple of mildly off-color jokes but seemingly has nothing to do with homosexuality. Or so I thought until I read an article in a month-old issue of the New Yorker magazine (typically lousy reading materials in the gym) that discussed the British press's opposition to joining the EU. The article, titled "Pigs Must Play," has this to say about the EU:

Much speculation surrounds the future of the E.U.—how many extra members it can support, and whether its goal is, as opponents claim, the forging of a European superstate. Yet these are trifles compared with the ambitions that are made manifest on its Web site. On bananas: "The diameter of the fruit is a way of measuring its maturity/development." On cucumbers: "Cucumbers do not have to be straight."

So, you see, condom instruction and homosexuality turn out to be related, after all, and the Montgomery County school system seems to be importing the radical ideas of the EU. Maybe I should actually be concerned.