So, Doogie Howser finally gave it up. Way to go, bud! You've been handing out IUDs since Little League, but until now you haven't scored. I'm glad for you, Doogie, but I must say I'm kinda edged over the networks and other broadcasters not airing ads for condoms because they think the commercials are too controversial (Calendar, Sept. 25).
I guess I understand their point of view. They've got sponsors to look out for, ratings to look out for, audiences to look out for. They probably feel that since sex and condoms are discussed all the time on shows like "Roseanne," "Beverly Hills 90210," "Blossom," "True Colors" and "Doogie," that the message about safe sex is getting through to the people who need to hear it. Well, unfortunately, it isn't.
This is the worst of times for people in my age group, 18-25. There's so much sex out there you wouldn't believe it, and yet we receive nothing but mixed messages. Madonna touches herself in her videos; Prince chills with his butt hanging out on the MTV Awards while a Roman orgy goes on behind him, and all across America kids are saying, "Daddy, I wanna do that." All they hear back is, "Shut up! That stuff can kill you."
But the kids go out and have sex anyway and nobody's going to stop them. Stopping the spread of AIDS and getting people to do the right thing is everyone's responsibility, and, maybe television broadcasters can help. If running condom ads helps that effort, then, hey, let's do it. I don't know if condoms work 100% of the time, but they may be the best solution we've got right now.
In my stand-up act, I ask the audience if they've gotten an AIDS test. Hardly anyone ever applauds. That shows how much the "it-can't-happen-to-me" syndrome is in effect. People need to hear the message: Use condoms, have safe sex, get tested, don't take risks. But they need to hear it from some beat-up looking dude who looks like he's had sex, saying, "Put the rubber on, man." Someone like me, who can be a real role model for the average horny kid.
I'm serious about this. I've been in touch with condom makers to become a spokesman. But they say, "We don't have a TV campaign because we're not allowed on the air."
MTV has aired ads and public service announcements encouraging the use of condoms. Why not the networks and other broadcasters? We can't be so afraid of offending someone that we censor condom ads and jeopardize other people's lives because of this "kindness."
I hope broadcasters realize condoms aren't controversial. Actually, AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases are quite one-sided. They destroy lives, pure and simple. So, let's put condom ads on the tube. I guarantee broadcasters one thing: Nobody's gonna bolt out of the room to grab a snack while those ads are on.