In the library of Inglewood State School – a three-hour, sleep-inducing drive west from Brisbane – Jim Lyons discusses Scarlett Johansson with students from years seven and eight. He shows them a laminated newspaper article featuring Johansson’s photograph. The headline is unfortunate: ‘Bush Bashed On Sex’. Jim paraphrases the story for the students: Johansson is outraged that the Bush administration has poured millions of dollars into abstinence education; she argues that it takes women back to the dark ages; she gets tested for HIV regularly; she urges every young woman to do the same.
“What can we learn from this young lady?” Jim asks. “What does this tell you about Scarlett Johansson?” In the back row, a skinny girl with spectacles puts a hand up. “That she’s safe?” she says. Jim raises his eyebrows. “She’s safe?” he asks sceptically. “What else?” To the side, a year-eight boy mumbles something. “She’s sexually active,” Jim repeats, so the rest of the class can hear. “Well, some would say she’s very sexually active.”