I’d get pregnant for $20,000
If I could, but if I actually could I probably would not. Unlike Bristol Palin’s honorarium, pregnancy is no laughing matter, despite making for a great reality TV show. Supporting and funding a speaker on abstinence education rightly provides a more balanced view toward sex and sexuality on campus. It promotes one of those “dialogues” about the choices available to students, one of Student Union’s favorite justifications for funding events. Unrelated to the abstinence part of the event, paying Bristol Palin to come and speak about her pregnancy and related problems raises an issue for creating an informative dialogue. She is no more qualified to sit down and talk about abstinence in a college setting than she is to be on “Dancing with the Stars.”
I will give her some credit where credit is due: She is more qualified than I am to sit around and talk about abstinence. She was actually pregnant. But when did we start giving $20,000 to people who barely meet the minimum criterion for a speaker? If all we required to be qualified to speak about abstinence was having once been pregnant, there would be a lot of available applicants, many of whom would be willing to talk for a few hours for less than $20,000. Some of them probably have more interesting personal narratives involving their pregnancy and its interference with their life. Alternatively, we could probably get 20 speakers and still have money for pizza.
So if the criterion to speak about abstinence was that easily met and Student Union actually cared about being frugal, why did not they opt for the less expensive option? Simple. Bristol Palin is a celebrity in the loosest sense of the word. She is a celebrity in the same way Paris Hilton is a celebrity. The 20 other speakers I vaguely proposed are not famous in the same way Bristol is. With event planning, there is often a tradeoff between providing substantive content and attracting a large crowd. Celebrities tend to attract crowds. However, I do not know if Bristol Palin will actually attract a crowd. Simply, who really gives a damn about Bristol Palin besides those who would have already gone to a panel on abstinence? What I do know is that Bristol Palin will not provide content more substantial than what I could acquire from watching an after-school special, except after-school specials are free. For this event, Student Union and the Student Health Advisory Committee have decided to bait the event with an abstinence celebrity, a super star of abstinence, in order to attract a larger crowd, robbing us of an actual opportunity to take a moment and reflect upon abstinence and its merits.