Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentine's Day 2011

Tomorrow I suppose the Valentine's themed display at Chapters will be taken down. I didn't make an inventory of titles but if there was anything about love I didn't see it. Unless love is just an old fashioned word for sex... because all I could see were books on sex, and how to have good sex. As opposed to bad sex, which seems to be the norm judging by the necessity to provide advice. And all directed toward women. On a table not far away from the Valentine theme were books dedicated to losing weight and shedding flab, the prime motivation being to enhance one's chances of having sex. More sex, or better sex, one infers. Come to think of it I didn't notice a single item directed at men... unless you count the boxes of chocolates in another display nearby. Maybe the fitness books are for use after the candy is eaten, and the sex books are for use in case the one who was supposed to buy the chocolates didn't, because it obviously means he doesn't love you.
Personally, I think it's a sad commentary on modern life that sex is thought of as synonymous with love. I'm not referring so much to the moral issue as the issue of lack of imagination, the shallowness and the inconsequentiality we have grown so used to. Is romance dead? Then so is poetry and depth of feeling and that hackneyed expression 'spirituality.' No wonder that the children's section is so bland. They can't have anything telling children how to have good sex, so they stick to teddy bears, and mice- anything to avoid drilling down to the core of the human soul. That's because we're no longer allowed to have souls, I guess. That would be subversive of the new world order which strives to dissolve the differences between the sexes.
Of course, it is romantic love that Valentines Day is about, and, well, the beast with two backs will never be called love, will never inspire a play entitled Romeo and Romeo. Somehow, I think men will always be inclined to fall in love with women no matter what. None of the poetry works otherwise.
Still, I can't complain too much. At least in the west it's not illegal to send Valentine's, like it is in Iran. It is frowned on in Pakistan, too, but they are making an exception for the governor of Punjab who was shot because he publicly advocated religious tolerance. But it wasn't the governor who got the valentine, it was his shooter.

Mumtaz Qadri shot dead Punjab province Gov. Salman Taseer in January while serving as a bodyguard. Qadri has told authorities he killed Taseer because the governor spoke out against harsh Pakistani blasphemy laws that impose the death sentence for insulting Islam....
A small group of college students gave police flowers and a Valentine's Day card they wanted delivered to the defendant.
"Happy Valentine!" read one of the banners....

In my religious training I was taught that I was commanded by God to love my neighbour as myself, and to do unto others as I would have done to me. Could it be that there is something fundamentally different between the teachings of Christ and the teachings of Mohammed? Am I allowed to say that?
At any rate, there are many people who I have loved through my life- friends, family, and even a few romances (mostly unrequited), for whom I would like to wish a coming year full of love and happiness. And I'll try to pray for the souls of the Pakistanis who took so much pleasure in the death of a man who tried to bring justice to his country. That's something I was taught in catechism, too.

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