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““Where is the love?” Donny Hathaway and Roberta Flack sang in an unforgettable hit from 1972. Their breakup ballad could now double as an odd anthem for American culture. Its people, art, and entertainment have rejected romance and sexual intimacy as subjects worthy of celebration and investment. In a sad commentary on an increasingly dysfunctional society, love has all but vanished from pop culture.
In 2014, the Journal of Advertising Research published a study documenting an odd decline in references to love throughout popular music. The word had fallen below phrases such as “good time” and epithets such as the N-word on the list of most commonly sung terms in the chart topping hits of the 2000s.
Music critic John Blake took notice seven years ago of how R&B—a genre that once gave the world Al Green and Aretha Franklin—no longer produced or broadcasted songs of romantic passion. The only four letter word impermissible in hip-hop is “love.” Sexuality is primarily a means of misogynistic conquest; committed bonds of affection are not worthy of pursuit.
Film is equally sterile and chaste. Leading men are more likely to wear face paint and capes than tuxedos or cowboy hats, and starlets jockey for “transgressive” roles as tattooed, gun wielding action heroes, rather than brides-to-be or even femme fatales.”
JJ Editor's Picks
"Not even what one might think of as the most basic tenet of any religion, a belief in the existence of God, is a prerequisite: Agnosticism is a key principle of at least one major school of Hindu philosophy."
"The presidency of any particular incumbent is relatively short... but the precedential consequences of impeaching a president without complying with the specific provisions of the Constitution “as it was written” are enduring."
"After news that a judge allegedly provided sexual favors to Bar Association president Efi Nave in exchange for her appointment, several politicians said in their responses that the Judicial Selection Committee needed to be the “Holy of Holies.”"
"Two new documentaries take on Billy McFarland and his disastrous music festival... the secret villain of this story all along: the subtle menace of social media marketing."
"Eating out, ordering in. Throw in a bagel here, a coffee there, and it all adds up. "It's definitely a challenge for people my age to save on food.""
"Popular music is shrinking. From 2013 to 2018, the average song on the Billboard Hot 100 fell from 3 minutes and 50 seconds to about 3 minutes and 30 seconds. "
"Here in the good old U.S. of A, the third annual Women's March planned for Jan. 19 is in serious trouble, thanks to irreconcilable political disagreements."
"Nature, however, with its endless cycles of death and rebirth, fascinated her. Walking in the woods, she developed a method that has become the hallmark of her poetry, taking notice simply of whatever happens to present itself."
"Modern parents haven’t stopped playing favorites; they’ve just stopped doing it openly. Though few parents today will admit they have a favorite child, studies indicate that about two-thirds of parents do."
"The first science-based diet that tackles both the poor food eaten by billions of people and averts global environmental catastrophe has been devised."
"Sphen and Magic looked like they would make great, diligent, careful egg-warming parents. They made the biggest nest, and they sat on it constantly."
"How YMHAs, followed by synagogue-centers, and finally JCCs have tried—in different ways—to balance Judaism and Jewishness, by bringing Jews together in intellectual, spiritual, and physical pursuits"