Culture Clips: Love Circa 2017

Well, it’s February 14—Valentine’s Day. And that can only mean one thing: Yup, it’s time to check in with the researchers at Barna to get a statistical snapshot of what romance looks like circa 2017.

Barna’s researchers found that the percentage of 25- to 39-year-olds who are single jumped about 10% since 2000. Cohabitation is now the norm, not the exception, with 65% of adults “strongly” or “somewhat” agreeing that living together is a good idea before marriage. Among the 35% who don’t view shacking up as a good idea, “religious reasons” top the list for objections to that practice. And even though it might seem like online dating is something many singles are doing these days, the majority of those polled, 52%, said they would never go that route.

“Romantic love isn’t going anywhere,” Barna Editor-in-Chief Roxanne Stone said. “But the state of romance—the reasons and mechanics for how we date, the when and why of getting married, the places we find love—has changed dramatically in a very short period of time. Marriage itself has seen the greatest impact. While once viewed as the primary end goal for romantic relationships, the institution of marriage now seems to be under great scrutiny. People are getting married later and later in life, they are dating and breaking up with more people before they commit to a life-long relationship. The ‘trials and errors’ of dating now include living together as an assumed, final hurdle before marriage.”

Meanwhile, author and sociology professor Lisa Wade’s new book, American Hookup: The New Culture of Sex on Campus, examines the factors driving casual sexual activity among college students today. Talking with Salon, Wade said, “There has always been casual sex on campuses. That has been true since the minute there were campuses. But a hookup culture is one in which everyone is expected to be participating in some sort of casual sexual engagement. So it’s not just an option, it’s an imperative. And like all cultures, hookup culture manifests at the level of ideas—how people are thinking about what they should be doing —and then the rules for interaction, how people interact with one another. And it also becomes institutionalized.”

Perhaps no recent television show has dramatized that young adult culture like HBO’s Girls, which has just begun its sixth and final season. The show has followed the lives of four twentysomething young women in New York City. Writing for Time, Eliana Dockterman says of its “massive influence,” “Girls was the millennial generation’s TV debut, and not always a flattering one. … Simultaneously self-aware and self-absorbed, the characters became memes for the hookup generation, the selfie generation, the ‘me, me, me’ generation.”

Occupying what will likely be an altogether different slice of television programming, CBS has ordered a pilot for a sitcom called Living Biblically, based on journalist A.J. Jacobs book The Year of Living Biblically. It’s just one of several shows planned by networks who are aiming at so-called “heartland” viewers. The Hollywood Reporter says other shows in this category include ABC’s forthcoming drama The Gospel of Kevin and NBC’s drama For God and Country.

And when it comes to shout-outs to God on network TV, those unfamiliar with Chance the Rapper might’ve been surprised by his acceptance speech for Best New Artist at this year’s Grammy Awards. In truth, the rapper’s work is filled with references to the Almighty. “Glory be to God,” he said, “I claim this victory in the name of the Lord.” The rapper was joined on stage by gospel stars Kirk Franklin and Tamela Mann as they led the gathered audience in several songs, including one using the Chris Tomlin chorus “How Great Is Our God.”

In other Grammy news, mistakes compelled Adele to restart her George Michael tribute. Still, the British singer won in each of the five categories in which she was nominated, including categories in which she was going head-to-head with fellow megastar Beyoncé. After winning the Artist of the Year award, she said, “I can’t possibly accept this award. … My artist of my life is Beyoncé.” She broke the trophy in two, presumably to share with the other singer. But that has hardly stopped criticism of the Grammys for awarding white artists more frequently than black ones recently.

And one of the night’s stranger matchups paired Lady Gaga with Metallica, a performance that reminded some of the fact that rock has had a diminishing presence in pop culture and at the Grammys for decades now. The Atlantic’s Derek Thompson not only unpacks that performance, but describes how a change in chart methodology back in 1991 paved the way for rap, pop and country to challenge rock’s radio hegemony.

Finally, if you’ve been wondering this week what actor Chris Pratt’s favorite Bible verse is, well, wonder no more. It’s Philippians 4:13: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” The Guardians of the Galaxy and Jurassic World star shared the verse on Instagram in the form of a wooden tray his brother made for him. The tray features a picture of Christ with a crown of thorns as well as that verse.

Who wrote this?

Adam R. Holz is a senior associate editor for Plugged In. He also writes for Focus on the Family’s Clubhouse magazine and has been a Boundless contributor. In his free time (which there is sometimes precious little of) Adam enjoys playing guitar and constructing LEGO kits with his son. Adam and his wife, Jennifer, are the proud parents, in fact, of three children, one boy and two girls.

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