Patrick McIlheran links to an essay by Joseph Pierce at the website of the journal First Things in the sexualization of childhood and to the report of a study which supports the common sense notion that sexually explicit and violent entertainment encourage, you know, sex and violence.
What struck me was a statement attributed to a hip-hop executive who said that "explicit music lyrics are a cultural expression that reflect "social and economic realities ...."
Isn't this the prototypical argument of the social libertine? Permissive practices on, you name it, sex education, sex and violence in music, tv shows and video games, drugs are all defended in the name of "reality." You've got to know what time it is out on the street. You've got to be with what's happening today.
This isn't completely wrong. Clinging to the ideal in ignorance of the actual can lead to a great deal of misery.
But it is wrong in that it is not complete. What we regard as acceptable shapes reality as well as reflects it. Those in authority haven't just recognized the loss of innocence; they have helped to bring it about.