Perplexed at a homecoming parade

An alumni reunion landed my family and me at my high school’s homecoming parade last month. As the parade floated by, so did the memories.

Much seemed the same. Some things seemed different, and cruder. Like the sexually charged signs on certain parade floats.

“Cross country girls do it in the woods,” read one.

“I’ll show you my breast if you show me your fly,” read another, courtesy of the girls swim team.

Clever, yes. Becoming, no.

The brashness was alarming. I can sort of understand the lure of selectively flashing such signs in front of fellow students. But all the way down Main Street before grandmas and nephews alike?

On the other hand, what else should we expect from a generation whose vernacular includes the term “sexting”?

It’s naive to wonder where they get it. A BMW television ad tells the cultural trend:

An awkward, tuxedoed teenage boy presents a flower to his prom date before chivalrously opening her car door. On his way around the vehicle, he makes a series of sexual hand gestures which are captured by the car’s back-up camera (the feature advertisers were attempting to highlight).

Upon entering his side, the in-dash monitor – plus his date’s shocked expression – convict the boy momentarily. That is, until she plants a sultry kiss on his lips, as if to say she can’t wait to be slapped on the backside.

The commercial exposes pervasive attitudes in pop culture: that females, particularly youthful females, are as sexually wound as their male counterparts; and, worse, that females exist primarily to fulfill masculine fantasies.

Now, I don’t need a liberal lesson in adolescent hormone secretion. And I understand that sex sells.

But are we communicating to young people that other things sell, too: intellect, character, lofty ambition – and to a higher end clientele, I might add?

During my high school reunion weekend, I encountered several schoolmates who had been through divorces, some with young children already in the mix. I couldn’t help but connect the dots: Not much sacred separates marriage from dating these days.

So I cringe when I see “sexy” shoe polished on a teenager’s vehicle. Call me Puritan, but it seems like administrators could prohibit such displays on public school parking lots. Parents could also wake up at the wheel before cars leave their driveways.

Or has the free speech of immature minors grown to include misguided and short-sighted messages on car windshields and parade floats? Are teenagers, like customers, always right even on matters morally wrong?

Contrast the aforementioned with the cheerleaders at Kountze High School near Beaumont, Texas. They have come under fire recently for using Bible verses to inspire their football team. Heaven forbid!

The Freedom From Religion Foundation is hot on the case. A district court judge is currently mulling the girls’ fate. Question: Would the Freedom From Religion Foundation sue my high school for the spirit-of-the-age signs that offended me?

Consider the paradox: Freedom of speech advances vulgarity while freedom of religion subdues morality. Not likely what James Madison had in mind when he penned the Bill of Rights to the Constitution.

Kevin Thompson writes weekly for The Boerne Star in the Texas hill country. Subscribe to his columns at

5 Responses to “Perplexed at a homecoming parade”

  1. 1 R G R October 17, 2012 at 18:23

    Another great column, and that sentence is a real kick in the teeth.

  2. 3 Dennis King October 17, 2012 at 18:51

    I forwarded this column to all of our administrators. I am in complete agreement with you.
    Have you recovered from your egregious free throw “air ball” yet.

    Coach King

  3. 4 Mandy Hartley October 17, 2012 at 22:31

    Excellent post.

  4. 5 Christyandjeremy October 19, 2012 at 07:53

    Great article

    Sent from my iPhone

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