Rant & Rave

By Sechyi Laiu

Tuesday, December 21, 1999

Sex, violence not
youthful obsessions

A few weeks ago, I read in the paper about the "Lost Generation" of the 1930s, whose parents called them drug-addicted, sex-crazed fools. They went on to win World War II and become responsible members of society.

It seems that since Aristotle's time, adults have always "predicted" youths would become shiftless, worthless members of the human population.

In the Dec. 7 Rant and Rave, Yoon Jee Kim wrote about sexual obsession as evidenced by the appearance of more R-rated movies, poor taste in posters and the presence of sexual images in the media. I agree, but another letter that ran on Dec 11 made me realize people seem to think this obsession is something ... new.

Have we become obsessed about sex? Yes, and always will be. How would we have survived as a species if we weren't obsessed with creating more of ourselves? But as we focus on this "obsession" and other issues surrounding us, we will miss the forest for the trees.

In the atmosphere of the Xerox and Columbine murders, it does seems like we are in a society that is headed in the same direction as the Titanic.

Yes, I have joked about sex with my friends in ways worse than "a poster containing reference to chocolate-flavored sperm" that your writer mentioned. And while at the arcade, I commented to myself, "Wow, there's not a lot of games not involving death or violence."

But I also participated in a conference mentioned in the Dec. 7 article. The conference gathered youth leaders around Hawaii to discuss issues that concerned us. All 170 students discussed problems that affect us, such as bathroom sanitation, voting rights and teacher evaluations. I assure you, no one was making out and fondling at the State Capitol, where the talks were held.

At that conference, I also saw how we keep certain values. While staying in the University of Hawai'i dorms, I noticed all of us were very careful where we took off our clothes -- enter the shower, take off our clothes, then put on our clothes inside the shower.

Noticing this reminded me that although there was no one of the opposite sex in there, we valued privacy so highly that we took time and energy for some privacy. Which was a good thing, for I had no intentions of going blind.

The media isn't always obsessed over violence and reproduction either. Rice vs. Cayetano is not about sex. The Hawaii International Film Festival wasn't full of sexual movies -- have you seen "Princess Mononoke"? Granted, there were some acts of violence, but the theme was not about heads blown off. "Forrest Gump" had a scene with sexual connotations, but that was not the story's theme.

Maybe movies like "Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo" and "The World is Not Enough" seem to argue sexual obsession is pervasive, but what about "Toy Story 2" or "Sleepy Hollow"? When "Toy Story 3" comes out with a Playboy in the plot then ... well, we might have a problem.

All that is portrayed in the media is part of who we are. The willingness for us to become open to discuss it in public makes it seem like we have become more obsessed over sex or that there has been a moral decline.

At my all-male high school, yes, of course the students enjoy the topic of sex, but our concerns also extend toward having a family, getting a job, going through college, reading the local news, and eventually, getting married.

Some of us are are even vocal about local issues. Do a search at, and search for letters written by me.

Sechyi Laiu is a senior at Damien Memorial High School.

Rant & Rave is a Tuesday Star-Bulletin feature
allowing those 12 to 22 to serve up fresh perspectives.
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