The New York Times is turning into a veritable sociology journal. There are several noteworthy articles I'd like to point out. Up first, is the Sunday magazine's cover story on the dating and sexual habits of teenagers. The twist in the article is the role of technology in facilitating casual sex and the re-definition of certain sexual practices as "not sex." Not to sound prudish, but if this article has any generalizability, it reflects a growing individualism of sex not as a sacred activity, but rather as a means to satisfy physical urges. Teenagers, regardles of genders, seem highly skeptical of emotional engagement and seem to go through extensive lengths to avoid any hint of emotional and physical commitment by "hooking up" rather than dating. Hooking up is a no-strings attached sexual encounter. When asked what she would do if someone asked her for a date, this teenage girl responded: ''It would be so weird if a guy came up to me and said, 'Irene, I'd like to take you out on a date...I'd probably laugh at him. It would be sweet, but it would be so weird!''
In many ways, the teenagers seem to be playing in the options market, where they like to keep their choices open and be able to back out of commitments with relatively low transaction costs.
The second set of articles is based on a three-part series, American Dreamers: The Lure of Las Vegas. The series is about the America's fastest growing city, Las Vegas. Apparently, the new California is Nevada. The series describes the city of illusions as: "America's strangest, most mythic magnet city - a tourist town that doubles as a beacon for the American dream. A vast migration of newcomers pursuing better jobs, bigger homes and easier lives in the desert Southwest has made Las Vegas and its suburbs a land of unmatched opportunity and extreme dysfunction."
Finally, there is an wonderful editorial about a subject that is of great interest to me. It is a celebration of Studs Terkel's great book--Working. If you haven't read it, you should. The book is a classic and describes how everyday individuals make meaning out of their work.