Thursday, February 14, 2008

Unvalentine's Day

Charlie Brooker in the Guardian argues for having an Unvalentine's Day. He's a pretty good curmudgeon.
This week, millions of people across the country will celebrate the crippling delusion known as "love" by sending flowers, booking restaurants and placing stomach-churning small ads in newspapers. Valentine's Day - the only national occasion dedicated to mental illness - is a stressful ordeal at the best of times.

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What's required is something to redress the balance: an Unvalentine's Day, if you will. A day that actively celebrates love's festering undercarriage. February 15 is ideal: there will be plenty of willing participants by then. Of course, if Unvalentine's Day is going to succeed, it will require commercial backing - which shouldn't be a problem, because there are loads of money-spinning opportunities here.

First off, how about a range of Unvalentine cards containing bitter messages for ex-lovers? Typical example: a mournful cartoon bunny with a harpoon lodged in its chest cavity, staggering blank-faced into oncoming traffic, with YOU RUINED MY LIFE printed across the top in massive, scab-red lettering. Or perhaps a Photoshopped image of Hitler snoozing in bed, accompanied by the words HOW CAN YOU SLEEP AT NIGHT? Naturally, each card would have a little poem on the inside, something such as: Roses are red/Violets are blue/I'm a meaningless robot/Molested by you.

There would also be a range aimed at disillusioned long-term couples: epithets include I CAN'T TAKE MUCH MORE OF THIS, IT ISN'T REALLY WORKING, and our-bestseller, the starkly effective DYING INSIDE.

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n summary, Unvalentine's Day promises to be the most coldly practical celebratory festival in history - a far healthier affair than Valentine's Day itself. True love is so uncontrollably delightful, there's no need to set aside a mere day in its honour. As for love's torments - well, it's probably best to compress and release them in a single, orderly burst, once a year. And that day is February 15. Mark it in your diary. Next to the tearstains.

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