Everyone does it sooner or later, why not write about it?

by Ana J. Beard

Quick catch-up: In the University of Montana’s newspaper, The Montana Kaimin, a student journalist Bess Davis has been writing a column revolving around sex and relationships called “The Bess Sex Column”. Law professor Kristen Juras has brought up a complaint to the publication of this column and said in the Missoulian, “Freedom of speech is not absolute.”  Juras questions the educational value of the column. You can read more about it in the news story published in the March 12, 2009 issue of the Missoulian.

Rob Natelson blogged on Electric City Weblog saying, “The Kaimin is now running a regular series promoting sex among students…” I’ve read of few of Davis’ columns, and yes, she give sexual positions, yes, she talks about the actual act of having sex, but she doesn’t “promote” it. In one column she gives a 19 year-old advice about “cashing in the V-card”, telling her to wait and do it with the right person (someone they like and care about, make sure losing it is for the right reasons, and skip the alcoholic beverages). Sounds educational to me. She’s not telling people to go get drunk and do it, or even to go sleep around, she’s writing about the “street smarts” to dating and sex.

As for Davis’ columns being called “state-funded pornography” by Natelson, I think not. So it describes a position or two – look at all of the stuff on tv and the thousands of easily accessible sex-related websites. What she is writing about is something that any curious person can hop on the Internet and look up. The Kaimin is a newspaper for college students. College meaning typically 18+. These people can legally buy porn if they want to, so what if they’re reading an entertainment peice in a newspaper? It is clearly about sex, if someone is uncomfortable about the topic, then they can choose to skip the story.

Thanks to Juras and Natelson, I will be picking up a copy of the Kaimin to read Davis’ column and share it with friends. Also I want to thank Juras, Natelson and the other people challenging this column, actually. They are giving Davis an important experience. They are helping her grow a tough skin to opposition and to know and defend her First Amendment rights, and her rights as a journalist. I hope she’s learning a lot from this, and I hope it helps her stay strong and keep writing the thing that’s on nearly every college student’s mind.


  1. Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers!

    JurASS and the Nutty Perv are really to be pitied, NOT villified. For you see, they are much like the Luddites of old who vandalized mechanized looms in an attempt to preserve their jobs during the Industrial Revolution. The two pervessors are striving like hell to hold on to their self-appointed, self-annointed jobs as self-righteous arbiters of sexual morals for EVERYone. And just like with the Luddites of old, twenty years from now, technology will render their silly arguments moot. I mean, think about it. We are nearly to the point where virtual sex will compete for equal time with real sex if not replace it altogether! It’s a brave new world, and ready or not, it’s comin’! JurASS and Nasalsound just aren’t ready for it. SO, I have termed folks like JurASS and Nasalsound not Luddites, but Puddites! They are living in a world that no longer exists.

  2. Ed Childers

    Are Ms. Juras & Mr. Natelson members of the “Coalition for Community Responsibility” and the “Truth Consortium?” Or are high school organizations for repression kept separate from those at the college level?

  3. One of Natelson’s commenters made short work of getting to the heart of his issue, for them: they decreed that someone (the great evil ‘them’) are turning people into sluts. Funny, I’ve rarely known that term to be un-ironically applied to our young males. And if the words of our young generation of women are to be believed, those non-slut males are the ones who could best benefit from a frank education in sex and sexuality. That should start with instruction that the more knowledge young women attain about rightful control of their own sexuality, the more everybody benefits.

  4. ed- i find it ironic that 100% public salaried prof natelson complains about public funds partially funding information disseminated from a column in a college newspaper.

    the opinions of a man so sequestered in the politics of the far right while cashing our taxpayer supported paychecks should bear no weight whatsoever. likewise the opinions of the adjunct professor who is so immersed in the ultra right wing sects of fundamentalist religion should be dismissed out of hand by a state funded institution.

    politics and religion have a place but it should not dominate decisions made by the trustees or the administers of our publicly funded schools of higher learning. just as politics and religion should not dominate the decision-making bodies of the missoula public schools.

    if you want to impose your beliefs on students as a teacher then the best route is to seek a job in privately funded institutions where your particular brand of politics and religion is supported. public schools at all levels by definition should not be dominated by any particular beliefs. as long as the article imparts information which is popular with the students and it harms no-one why should busy-bodies like natelson even get involved? unless it is for ego-boosting and the chance to elevate his blog numbers?

  5. anabanana2

    checked it out, and no, natelson is not on either of those committees.




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