[I]f Nickelodeon keeps Spears on its airwaves, the network will seem to be saying that unmarried teen pregnancy, a major American problem, is negotiable if the unmarried teen is a good earner....Wait. What's "unbelievably stupid" here? Having sex when only 16, not acing birth control, or failing to have an abortion?
It's not that Nickelodeon has ever lived in some '50s sitcom world where kids never face tough issues like sex. Spears' character in "Zoey" has faced them herself.
But Nick, unlike many other media, doesn't wink at ill-advised behavior or ignore its potential consequences, and that's what the current Spears flurry is really about: consequences.
All 16-year-olds make mistakes. They all need forgiveness, from others and themselves. But forgiveness does not erase consequences, and Jamie Lynn doesn't get a pass because she was unbelievably stupid, even allowing for the fact brains don't run in her family.
It also doesn't excuse her that she has little experience with consequences, though it's true. First, there's her sister. Second, there's her mother, who got a contract from a Christian publishing house for a book on parenting while her older daughter was turning into an international poster girl for lunatic hedonism.Is this a moral principle you want to apply across the board? Extra punishment for offenses committed by individuals whose family members have committed similar offenses? Why not extra forgiveness?
Speaking of forgiveness, a Christian virtue, it is the Christmas season, when we celebrate the birth of a child to a 14-year-old girl.
ADDED: Lots of comments inside. Let me add a few things. First, you don't know how careless she was about birth control (or whether she chose to get pregnant). Pregnancy can happen to any fertile woman who does not practice abstinence. If you insist on harsh consequences, what are you doing? You may push some young women into abstinence, but you will push others toward abortion. I'm all for teen abstinence, but I also believe in looking at the world that is and being practical and compassionate. They made some mistakes. So did you. So did your kids.