donderdag, februari 13, 2003

The Inside Dope on Valentines

I was going to wait until tomorrow but, in order to beat the holiday rush and especially because I want to get off the war/terrorism/saddam exercise wheel for a day or two, here is Desultory Turgescence's list of Valentine's Day resources:

First of all, just so you have a little historical context, here is where you can find that Valentine's Day started in the time of the Roman Empire.

Under the rule of Emperor Claudius II Rome was involved in many bloody and unpopular campaigns. Claudius the Cruel was having a difficult time getting soldiers to join his military leagues. He believed that the reason was that roman men did not want to leave their loves or families. As a result, Claudius cancelled all marriages and engagements in Rome. The good Saint Valentine was a priest at Rome in the days of Claudius II. He and Saint Marius aided the Christian martyrs and secretly married couples, and for this kind deed Saint Valentine was apprehended and dragged before the Prefect of Rome, who condemned him to be beaten to death with clubs and to have his head cut off. He suffered martyrdom on the 14th day of February, about the year 270. At that time it was the custom in Rome, a very ancient custom, indeed, to celebrate in the month of February the Lupercalia, feasts in honor of a heathen god. On these occasions, amidst a variety of pagan ceremonies, the names of young women were placed in a box, from which they were drawn by the men as chance directed.

If you'd like to know a little bit about the person responsible for the advent of Valentine's Day turning into a disgusting, capitalist exercise in insincerity here in America, look no further than Esther Allen Howland who began the first American Valentine's out of paper lace and floral decorations.

For the more practical-minded among you, perhaps you could try a constructing a Valentine out of duct tape and plastic sheeting.

For those of you sick and tired, cynical and resentful, or just plain lazy and looking for a cheap way out, try the anti-Valentine to send via email to an insignificant other.

More in tune with heartbreak and loss? Try to read through your sorrows in this anthology.

In some countries, like Iran, for example, where police ordered shops to remove heart-and-flower decorations and have confiscated other symbols of what religious authorities consider a decadent, Western event, you needn't bother worrying about what to get your loved one for Valentine's Day.

If you really hate the idea of Valentine's Day, you could always join up with the Shiv Sainiks, who today made a bonfire of Valentine cards and threaten to disrupt the celebrations on the Valentine's Day which they claimed was being used by multi-nationals to corrupt Indian youth.

If all else fails, try Uncle Ozzy's advice, found in today's NY Post:

"I hate fucking holidays like Valentine's Day. It's all bullshit. Don't send cards or any of that fucking nonsense. Treat your mate special every day of the year and get her gifts for no special occasion. That's the fucking best."

In the days before Ozzy's sort of eloquence and passion, people often had to rely upon things like poems to express such thoughts of meaningful emotions. You may not find it on a Valentine's card, but for those of you who want to cheat a little, you can probably write it in on the margins...

by Margaret Atwood

Marriage is not
a house or even a tent

it is before that, and colder:

the edge of the forest, the edge
of the desert
the unpainted stairs
at the back where we squat
outside, eating popcorn

the edge of the receding glacier

where painfully and with wonder
at having survived even
this far

we are learning to make fire.

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