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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentine's Sham

Really, what is the big f-ing deal about Valentine's Day? It is another day where commercialization and consumerism make us into zombies. blergh.

So, here's a novel idea. Why don't we tell our loved ones how much we love them EVERY day of the freakin' year? Why don't we learn to live each day like it's Valentine's Day, like it's our or our loved one's last. A little depressing and sad? Yes, but we all are mortal, right?

So why do most of us get caught in that web of mania on V-day and go (LADY) gaga looking for the perfect card, the perfect gift. Then, next year you will outdo your gift from last year. I mean, why not buy jewelry tomorrow to tell your wife you love her? Why not get some champagne this weekend to show your boyfriend how much you care? Take your loved one out to dinner on some other day of the year. For F#$@'S sake, give an IOU for a foot or back rub on a day of the recipient's choosing.

I mean, really, isn't this day a clever ploy made up by Hallmark or some other big corporation like 1-800 Flowers or Godiva. C'mon people!!

Does anyone even know the origins of the damn holiday. Or has it become like Halloween, St. Patrick's Day, even Cinco de Mayo, AND Christmas, where all origins and religious ties have mostly been broken.

I spared you the hard work, and I did some research, reading articles on both NPR and The History Channel, I edimicated myself on Valentine's Day. According to the NPR article, the Romans were very keen on observing the Feast of Lupercalia, which is thought to be some form of an origin of our Valentine's Day. (1)

The Romans observed this feast from February 13th to th 15th by killing and sacrificing dogs and goats. The best part, however, is when the men celebrating would beat the women with the hides of the animals that were killed for the sacrifice. Brilliant, right? It gets better. The women were willing particpants (and they were naked); they believed that being beaten with dead animal hide would increase their chances of getting pregnant and having children. Women and men were also paired off together and copulated for the duration of the festival. Sounds like a hootinany, huh? Well the sex, drugs, and rock 'n roll couldn't have lasted forever. Later, Pope Gelasius I combined St. Valentine's Day with the pagan Feast of Lupercalia in an attempt to discourage people from practicing pagan rituals. (1) I think he was just an old prude! Who doesn't like a good orgy, anyway?

Where does 'valentine' come from? Well, glad you asked. Supposedly, according to the NPR article, Claudius II, a Roman emperor, had two men killed who were both (ironically) named Valentine on two separate occasions. (1) Why were the men killed? It is thought that one of the Valentines was a priest who was banned from performing marriages because Claudius II thought that single men made better soldiers than men who were married with kids. I guess they were more focused? More energized? Why couldn't he have just given them Red Bull? I guess Claudius didn't want his men to start weeping at the thought of never seeing their dearest loves ever again if. If they were loners and losers, then they'd fight better, right? Well, Valentine countinued to perform marriages against Cladius's decree and 'off with his head'. (2)

It is also possible that one of the Valentines helped break Christians out of Roman jails. It was fashionable back when Christianity wasn't so popular administer torture and abuse to Christians. Then when, Christianity became more popular, they returned the favor by torturing and abusing non-Christians. Persecution is the gift that keeps on giving. Anyway, so it is also thought by some that Valentine, himself, was put into prison and fell in love with a girl who may have been his imprisoner's daughter. He apparently wrote her 'the first valentine', but sources are very unclear about this. (2) If you ask me, it sounds like a horeshit kind of story.

And the card thing? Shakespeare and Chaucer mentioned it in their writing, and the art of sonnets and card making became the vogue thing to do in the Middle Ages. Then during the Industrial Revolution, card making took up speed in America. Hallmark started to churn out cards by the hundreds in 1913, and so you can blame them for all those sappy Cathy, Ziggy, and cute cat/dog Valentine's cards. In 2010, this country spent 17.6 billion buckaroos on this damn holiday.(1) Now we have our current Valentine's holiday of pink, red, and white puke-o-rama. Can't you tell I love it! Actually, in high school I used to paint my nails black, dress in all black, and go around the hallways quoting Edgar Allan Poe. How ROMANTIC!!

I guess I should end this entry by listing some great tunes/videos to listen to on this day of February 14th. I'll leave it as a top 10 list of great V-day songs (no particular order of best to worst..just a list). Some are covers, some are songs you've never heard of or may not associate with valentine shmalentine..well I don't give a f-! Deal with it!

10. Harry Nilsson- 'Without You' (especially the visual from the movie 'The Rules of Attraction':THE FOLLOWING IS GRAPHIC AND NOT SUITABLE FOR 18-
9. Stabbing Westward- 'Shame'
8. Cameron Stenger- 'Wicked Game' (original by Chris Isaak)
7. Portishead- 'Sour Times' (this was my MS anthem)
6. Eddi Reader- 'Nobody Lives Without Love'
5. Miles Davis Quartet- 'My Funny Valentine' (the Chet Baker version is great, but it's overdone)
4. Nirvana- 'Heart-Shaped Box' (the video is BRILLIANT)
3. Nine Inch Nails-'The Perfect Drug'(again, the video is BRILLIANT)
2. Radiohead- 'Exit Music (for a Film)'
1. Stevie Wonder- 'Part-time Lover'

There ya go folks. Happy Valentine's Day however you choose to spend it (or not spend it). I will end with something one of my friends said on Facebook on Valentine's Day:

"Feb 14 is just another day....a day we should use to tell the people we care about that we care about them. Husbands, wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, friends, siblings, parents, family, children, students, people we work with.... Etc etc....doesn't need tone written in chocolate or rose petals.... Doesn't need to be on a card.... Just a smile as you walk by.... Stopping to sincerely ask how someone... is doing or a good laugh in your office. I personally like a special day in the middle of a dreary month that focuses on the positives of being human... Our remarkable ability to cherish the people around us. And if you choose you can just treat it like any other day....."
(Thanks, Kristyl)

All the best for a peaceful existence!

Yours truly,



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