"Boys and girls in America have such a sad time together; sophistication demands that they submit to sex immediately without proper preliminary talk. Not courting talk -- real straight talk about souls, for life is holy and every moment is precious." -- On the Road, Jack Kerouac, p. 58
Shit, man, although this quote is from over 50 years ago (published in 1957), it was already hitting the mark on American culture. I don't think it's a stretch to say that it applies even more today than it did back then.
Today we live in an on-demand consumer culture. The advertising industry is a multi-billion dollar industry; just look at the ever-burgeoning price per minute cost of Super Bowl ads as evidence. Whether we like it or not, we are defined by what we have, what we own, what we possess, and how we look. And we want it all now. Or at least that's what the advertising execs and their consumer-driven clients want us to believe.
On top of that, we live in a highly sexualized culture. Open a new tab right now and you can find porn in about two seconds. Although music videos seem to be a relic of the late 20th century, a brief history shows the evolution of the music video from the theatrical production that was Thriller by Michael Jackson to the booty-shaking hip-hop videos and sensual erotic videos of pop and R&B female singers. And the music industry is just one angle, just one illustration of how sex sells in America.
To say that we aren't effected or infused with these values and expectations is to ignore the cultural sea around us even as we swim through it every day. So, when you combine those two cultural values (on-demand, I want it now + sex, sex, more sex), we get the observation from Mr. Kerouac above: "Boys and girls in America . . . submit to sex immediately without proper preliminary talk."
And this, in turn, naturally leads to the procreation of children and thus the creation of modern-day families. Let's say this shit straight: many families in America today were built on lust. Not love, lust. Think about the ramifications of this. Because as Mr. Kerouac rightly suggests, a relationship on a foundation of love would be based on "real straight talk about souls."
The next logical step, then, from lust-based families is the inevitable, eventual breakdown of the relationship and the resultant family, since lust will eventually lose its luster. Conditioned in our consumer culture, either (or both) partner(s) will want a new product to consume (i.e. a new person to hook up with) until that eventually gets old. Rinse, repeat.
So, when's the last time you had some "real straight talk about souls?" Maybe it's about time we did some more of that, and I don't excuse myself from this suggestion. We could all use it, I'm sure, for "life is holy and every moment isprecious."