A clever marketing ploy that commenced in the late 18th and early 19th Centuries has evolved into the most exploitative, oppressive day in the Christian calendar.
Crass consumerism isn't something that usually bothers me much. Sure, there is the soulless materialism that goes along with it, but on the other hand, sometimes you can get really neat, unusual, seasonally-themed stuff at good prices. But Valentine's Day stands alone in its uniquely contrived and subtle malevolence.
Apparently it's Geoffrey Chaucer, the famous English poet whose indecipherable works no one's actually read in the last two generations, who is responsible for associating the previously perfectly pleasant and innocuous day of February 14th with the pressures of romantic love. But it was never considered all that big a deal. Not, at least, until improvements to the printing press and cheap postal rates in the late 1700's inspired some fiendish English capitalists with the devilishly clever idea of profiting from people's insecurity by making them think that unless they received a card that day, they were unloved.
Since then, just about every cynical commercial enterprise has gotten in on the act. Florists, chocolatiers, hoteliers, clothing designers, candy-makers, jewelers, perfumers; restaurateurs, you name it. Now everybody with a cash register is trying to convince you that unless you patronize them on the Ides of February, you are some sort of inferior creature.
Commercialism aside, there are far more insidious aspects to this most iniquitous day. There is a condescending, exclusionary component to its message. Some of the best and finest people on earth are single. Yet the message of Valentine's Day is that if you're one of those people, this day isn't for you. Worse still, the shameful implication of this sinister, unofficial "holiday" is that if you aren't part of a couple, something is wrong with you.
The poison of Valentine's Day begins in childhood, when pre-pubescent children are conditioned to associate self-worth with the number of Valentine's Day cards received. Or at least that's the case in places that don't compel children to give every single one of their classmates a card, taking all meaning out of the gesture. And who benefits from that? You got it- the greeting card manufacturers whose dastardly plan this all started out with!
There's also the abhorrently sexist nature of Valentine's Day. There's enormous pressure on men to make some grand romantic gesture and anxiously wait to have it evaluated, like an unfortunate soul standing before Minos, Rhadamanthys and Aeacus in the Underworld, by a woman they have to sufficiently impress. And furthermore, when was the last time a woman on a date had to pick up a tab on February 14!?!
St Valentine being martyred
As far as I'm concerned, he had it coming
Surely the time has come for this oppression to end! Starting next year, I propose that every sensible person boycott this exploitative, capitalist manipulation of the insecurities of innocent people! As of 2014, as far as I'm concerned, Valentine's Day no longer exists!
I'd say the boycott should start today, but right now, I'm in a relationship and if there were any hint I would actually follow through this year, I'd be vivisected alive.
(This was originally posted on Valentine's Day 2013 - Luckily, I'm not seeing anyone seriously right now, so I don't find today as oppressive and pressure-filled!)