February 14, 2005
Deconstructing Valentines' Day
Are Valentines just an insincere waste of time?
Senders of greeting cards and valentines may actually use the cards to distance themselves from their feelings, reflecting a culture in which relationships, due to social and economic pressures, are "necessarily temporary," according to a new book by an Ohio State University professor.
In defense of Valentine's Day cards, the book also claims that what senders write in the cards is no less hokey or clichéd than some of the preprinted messages.
The findings, based on an extensive study of dozens of card archives and collections across the United States, indicate that Valentine's Day cards are more than just trivial love tokens. Instead, the book suggests, they represent American economic and social values since the greetings first appeared in the 1840s.
A woman's intuition is never wrong! I just knew there was some Mystic Cosmic Significance to those trite cardboard missives. Some politico-psycho-sexual metamessage that had previously eluded me.... other than the Ultimate feminine passive-aggressive Power Trap, of course:
SHE: "You didn't get me a card! [sniff] Janie's husband got her a card... AND a dozen red roses."
HE: "Well, um...my car did break down this morning on the way to work. And then I was in meetings with my boss until 7 pm, so you see there really wasn't time...."
SHE: [interrupting] "And then he took her to dinner at Rocco's. She said they talked for hours... WHY DON'T WE EVER TALK ANYMORE?"
HE: [thinking to himself] "Well, first I'd have to be able to get a word in edgewise..." [out loud] "Now honey you know I..."
SHE: Flounces off in a huff, big fat tears trembling on her eyelashes.
[Man goes out to buy card]
Of course life is never that simple - that's why we have
sociopaths sociologists to 'help us understand' the hidden motivations that lie behind the most mundane activities:
Barry Shank, author of the book and associate professor of comparative studies, told Discovery News that he began the project thinking that people were better than cards at conveying emotions.
His research, which included scouring thousands of used greeting cards housed at the Bowling Green State University Popular Culture Library, proved his original theory to be incorrect.
"Most of the time, the writings added by the card senders relied upon stock phrases," Shank said.
He also mentioned that collections of cards from individuals revealed that senders often would write exactly the same thing to different lovers.
Aha! So not only is the lousy schumck you're seeing writing hokey and clichéd phrases in your Valentine's Day Card, ladies - he's probably sending the same message to lots of different lovers!
Oh... and by way, the fact that he took the time to select a greeting card especially for you and write that trite little message inside of it probably indicates that, due to the tremendous social and economic pressures of modern life, he views your relationship as "necessarily temporary"... Otherwise he would have bought you, oh, I don't know, the Koh-i-noor Diamond.
Well, all I can say is, I hope this timely holiday offering from the smart folks at Discover Magazine has been educational. I know I learned a lot.
Have a Happy Valentine's Day!
And be careful out there, people.
Posted by Cassandra at February 14, 2005 05:55 AM
TrackBack URL for this entry:
In all sincerity, will U B mine?
Posted by: MathMom at February 14, 2005 07:25 AM
On This Day
Al Capone sent Bugs Moran a Valentines day greeting.
The Hawaiian Islanders sent Cpt. James Cook a Valentines day greeting.
Posted by: Joatmoaf at February 14, 2005 07:42 AM
*control-V* Happy Valentine's Day all. I love you so much. Please be mine.
Posted by: KJ at February 14, 2005 10:02 AM
Why yes, KJ, I will be yours! (wiggling tail feathers with delight!)
Your place or mine??????
Posted by: Gay, Happy Penguin at February 14, 2005 01:17 PM
By "Gay, Happy Penguin" would you be a female?
Posted by: KJ at February 14, 2005 01:25 PM
"~ In the 17th century a hopeful maiden ate a hard-boiled egg and pinned five bay leaves to her pillow before going to sleep on Valentine's eve. It was believed this would make her dream of her future husband."
Many a maiden, I suppose, suddenly awakened with a vision of Wolfgang Puck. And they call it a DREAM?
Oh and here's another "triviette"
"~ Some people used to believe that if a woman saw a robin flying overhead on Valentine's Day, it meant she would marry a sailor. If she saw a sparrow, she would marry a poor man and be very happy. If she saw a goldfinch, she would marry a millionaire."
And all I saw this morning was a Magpie and a Vulture. I guess it coulda' been worse: a buzzard.
Valentines is simply a doofus day, except for in the Arab countries when young people are clearly under the influence of the Great U.S.atan
I'd sure love to see Easter catch on there! Howard Dean would be flatterd by the new sound of "ululating" made by islamaniacs.
And WHY do I have that trivia if I'm not too keen on the day to begin with?...I'm glad you asked. It's called show prep. It's "relevant".
Posted by: CKC at February 14, 2005 02:04 PM
You remembered my callsign from Vietnam! How flattering! [*sigh. when, oh, when will these transparent pickup attempts cease?*]
Don't recall anybody using "Magpie"--could be this Agent Orange-induced memory loss...
Posted by: cw4billt at February 15, 2005 09:21 AM
Hey LOOK! UP there!~ A dodo bird!
Posted by: CKCat at February 16, 2005 04:28 PM