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Saturday essay: Sexed-up study

| Saturday, Aug. 12, 2006

Since the new Rand Corp. study -- "Exposure to Degrading Versus Non-Degrading Music Lyrics and Sexual Behavior Among Youth" -- is not in the Carnivora order of the Mammalia class, it simply cannot be in the Mustelidae family regardless the number of weasel words.

The analysis by the nonprofit research organization that claims to provide objective analysis and effective solutions has more qualifiers ("strong theoretical justification," "there is good reason to believe that," "worrisome implication," "suggests," "could," "possible," "more likely" and, of course, "may") than drivers at the Daytona 500.

But there is one absolute.

The study all but says that exposure to sexually degrading music like songs about men as "sex-driven studs" and women as sex objects triggers teens to make inappropriate decisions. "All but says" because it cannot say that even one will, according to a Rand spokeswoman.

It all but says weasel words are a must.

There is good reason to believe the study has worrisome implications that suggest the media are more likely to ignore the facts when the story is about sex.

A Google news search this week for "lyrics" and "sex" produced hundreds of results. Headlines overflowed with "prompts," "leads," "catalyst," "linked," "steers," "tied" and "raunchy songs, early sex go together."

As do "objective" and "analysis."

-- Dimitri Vassilaros

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