It’s not news that all sorts of supposedly fun activities — going to the gym, playing video games, maintaining a social-media presence — have grown harder to distinguish from work.

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The hippies “tore down walls,” but “did not build a new world.” You are currently viewing this article as a guest. If you aren't, please subscribe below and get access to the entire Harper's archive for only $45.99/year.

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Weigel suggests, for instance, that the infamous hookup (defined, she notes, not so much by actual promiscuity as by the obligation to project nonchalance about whatever sex you do have) is a reaction to economic insecurity.

College students must now be ready for careers in which “they cannot count on anything,” and must therefore cultivate “steely” hearts.

Free-love types mostly re-created the gendered power dynamics of earlier generations, and they put too much emphasis on the individual freedom to do what you want, which Weigel equates with consumerism. Sign in to Customer Care using your account number or postal address.

It’s no coincidence, she claims, that Jane Fonda and Bobby Seale moved seamlessly from radicalism to commerce: free-market evangelists and free lovers were essentially sisters under the skin.

She traces its beginnings to the late nineteenth century.

In chapters loosely organized around themes (“Tricks,” “Likes,” “Niches”), she moves through the frantic, competitive dating of Twenties and Thirties co-eds, the more stable pairings of the Forties and Fifties, and on into the fractured present.

Its dissatisfactions are similar to those involved in many a job: a vast investment of time, effort, and emotion for inadequate reward; a lot of responsibility and not much power; and a setup that feels rigged against you. New York dating, at least from the sidelines, looks taxing enough, but I hear that in California there’s such a thing as a running date, where, presumably, instead of grabbing a drink or a coffee, you throw on your spandex and sweat until the best man wins.