A long, long time ago, I was a journalism major at Baylor University, which, as you may know, is the world’s largest Baptist university. Baylor is located in Waco, Texas, which many folks in the Lone Star state like to call “Jerusalem on the Brazos.”
It didn’t take long, as a young journalist, to realize that stories linking Baylor to anything having to do with sin and sex were like journalistic catnip in mainstream news newsrooms.
Even in the world before search-engine optimization, it was rare for copy-desk professionals in Texas, or anywhere else, to pass up each and every opportunity to put, let’s say, “Baylor” and “Playboy” in the same headline. It appears that this a subject that never dies, decade after decade, as journalists have fun with the whole idea of Baptist co-eds choosing to pose for this noted feminist publication.
Well, Playboy isn’t planning another visit to Waco — at least, not that I have heard about — but Newsweek recently ran a rather depressing little story that could have been seen as an update on this whole Baylor and the Sexual Revolution riff.
Don’t get me wrong. I am rather glad that the publication didn’t choose to push that button. Frankly, I am amazed that Newsweek didn’t push that button — so much so that this rare act of inky restraint actually made me pay more attention to this story than I normally would have. Paying attention made me think that there could be a ghost in this mini-feature.
So here is the top of the report, complete with the B-word. The headline sets the stage: “New App Helps Cheaters Cover Their Tracks.”
Great News for all you current and aspiring cheaters out there! Neal Desai, a 25-year-old pre-med graduate of Baylor University, has a smartphone app designed to help keep your dirty little secrets a secret.
The app is named CATE, short for Call and Text Eraser — which pretty much explains its basic function. Once set up, CATE keeps hidden any and all contact from certain special friends until the user inputs a secret access code. Better still, the app isn’t even visible on the phone until you enter the code, providing an extra layer of protection from snooping spouses.
So a graduate of the world’s best known Baptist school has come up with a way to help husbands cheat on their wives or wives cheat on their husbands (since the story later notes that about 70 percent of the downloads, so far, appear to be by women).
Meanwhile, what the potential impact of this technology on those who, at any given point in time, are being tempted to this sin for the first time? How about those who are trying to walk a path to recovery after a marital crisis?
Anyway, I am glad — I guess — that Newsweek passed up the Baylor angle, although it certainly would have been valid to note this irony, briefly. However, I now question whether theis news story should have been written in such a values- and ethics-free manner.
So, readers, thumbs up or thumbs down on omitting the Baylor irony? How about the editorial decision to make this a rather lighthearted, jolly report about the destruction of marriages? Would mentioning moral concerns be dangerous, since that might validate the views of those who consider adultery to be sin?