Controversial topics in Billy Joel's "We didn't Start the Fire"

Topics: Menstrual cycle, Combined oral contraceptive pill, Birth control Pages: 8 (1930 words) Published: April 16, 2014
Spring 2012
English 199
Prof. Morelatto

Billy Joel talks about many controversial topics, events and people in the song “We Didn’t Start the Fire”. The topic that I have chosen to write about is the controversial issue of birth control. Contraception has been a controversial issue for many years and is still talked about in the news today. Birth control can be viewed as having a positive impact on the current society but it can also be considered as having a negative impact. Many of the arguments against the use of birth control are related to religious views. It is considered interfering with God’s plan to give life and can be seen to some people as immoral because it is used for stopping or taking away life. Without birth control life would take its natural course in the reproduction cycle. The major argument in favor of birth control is that it helps control the population. There are circumstances and situations in which people should not be reproducing and bringing new life into the world. Young couples for example do not always have the financial resources or the maturity level to give children a stable living environment. The song’s lyrics also state “no we didn’t light it, but we tried to fight it”. These also apply to this topic because this is a topic that has been argued for centuries and will never be settled. Birth control is a topic that will always be open to discussion because it involves feminist, political and religious views. The book titled “Birth Control and Controlling Lives” begins to explain a women’s point of view on the topic and how they have been subject to scientific experiments and ethical discussions. For Centuries religions have harped that premarital sex is sinful. Churches have taught that the primary blessing of marriage was offspring and the primary purpose of sex in marriage was offspring. Those who wished to bear children were supposed to marry first. The church did not see reason for fertility control because they believed in abstinence. People who believed in fertility control were assumed fornicators, adulators and prostitutes, whom were all serious sinners. This idea was not adopted by all (Maguire, Daniel).

Sidney Callahan stated in the book “The Catholic Case for Contraception” “That the communal social process of procreation and childbearing has often been discussed in a misleading context. Labeling procreation as “Rational,” the “Duty” of married peoples as misleading both biologically and emotionally. Man’s drive to reproduce him may be less maybe less strong than reproductive instinct in animals and is less tied to mating, but it does exist. Distinctively human emotions reinforce the primitive drive for offspring. Sensual delight in physical presence of one’s child fuses with the awe and delight in seeing the child’s mind and personality…….Procreation is an instinctive pleasure, a joy, a delight and a privilege-rather than a rational duty” The matter of the fact is even with influence from others, people are going to do what they want whether they decide to have sex for joy and pleasure before/after or if they have sex as only means of reproduction. (Callahan, Daniel) Reproduction of the human race is a beautiful thing and is needed to keep society going on earth. There also is an importance to population control. The world does not have the space to put people at the rate some countries are reproducing; As you see in China today there government has limited families to 1 child because their population exceeds the space of their country. A population explosion can really affect countries and families economically. We have seen examples of this in the early-1800s and recently as we deal with the effects of the baby boom in the mid-1900s. French laws and customs in the 1800s regarded both poor married and poor unmarried women responsible for providing food, clothing, and shelter for children rather than their father. Female jobs as domestic servants and...


Cited: 1. Callahan, Daniel. The Catholic Case for Contraception. Ontario: The Macmillian Company, 1969. Print.
2. Djerassi, Carl. The Politics of Contraception. Toronto: George j. McLeod Limited, 1979. Print.
3. Holmes, Helen B., Betty B. Hoskins, and Michael Gross. Birth Control and Controlling Lives. 2. Amherst: Humana Press Inc., 1980. Print.
4. Maguire, Daniel C. Sacred Rights-The Case for Contraception and abortion in world religions. New York: Oxford University Press Inc., 2003. eBook.
5. Tythan, Lilly J., ed. "Pros & Cons Of the Birth Control Pill." Livestrong.com. Demand Media, Inc., 01/03/2010. Web. 18 Apr 2012. .
6. , ed. "Birth Control Methods fact sheet." WomensHealth.gov. U.S. Federal Governent, 11/21/2011. Web. 18 Apr 2012. .
7. Karen Limbar, A. S. B.. "Seventeen is the average age at first sexual intercourse." Newstrategist. N.p., 2009. Web. 18 Apr 2012.
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