An Academic Rant

Do you even know how many people think Valentines Day is a sham? I mean really. I’m so glad that there are all those ooshy gooshy people who love each other oh so much; but, why on earth does there have to be a holiday devoted to making singles abundantly aware they are single? Some of us think we enjoy being single until February comes around and, through the power of manipulation of society and our media, makes us feel like poo. What a load of hooey. It’s not fair to the psyche of those married or single. The pressure of finding the perfect card, the perfect flowers, the perfect candy, the perfect ring… it’s all a clichĂ©. Why conform? Do you want to know what the holiday that promotes itself with the colors of venereal disease really is? Let’s find out the truth behind the lovey dovey holiday:

When Rome was founded, it was nothing more than a vast wilderness among seven hills. As shepherds watched their flocks, they feared the packs of wolves sniffing away in the distance for a lamb chop. One of the Roman gods was Lupercus, watcher of flocks. In honor of the god, and in the hopes for more protection from the wolves, Romans held a great pagan feast every February and called it the Lupercalia. Because the calendar was different back then, February came later in the spring. Some historians today believed other of the gods honored was Faunus or Pan, who also guarded herds and crops. Records show that Mark Antony even chose Lupercalia in the year of 44 BCE as the time to offer Julius Caesar the crown.

According to Roman legend, this is the same day Romulus and Remus founded Rome. You know, the ones nursed by a she-wolf? Anyway, in Latin Lupus is the word for wolf.

Point 1: Those who celebrate VD are really celebrating the ancient Roman worship of a naked faun playing a lute OR the celebration of infant boys suckling the nipples of a she wolf. Pretty picture, eh?

The month of February was named after an ancient ritual at that time of year involving youths of noble births running through the streets in goat skin thongs called februa. Young women would gather in the streets in the hopes they would get lashed by the februa; the lashing was called februatio. This lashing was supposed to make them better able to bear children.

Point 2: Those who celebrate VD are also celebrating the actions of naked Roman boys flogging little girls in the streets with their underwear.

In 269 CE, the Emperor Claudius (also called Claudius the Cruel) summoned the citizens to go forth in battle. After a year of fighting, many Romans were unwilling to go. Husbands didn’t want to leave their wives and boys didn’t want to leave their sweethearts. Claudius was so disturbed by the Romans’ unwillingness to fight that he
decreed that all engagements be broken off immediately. A priest named Valentine felt bad about the whole ordeal and married a young couple in secret despite the direct order of the Emperor. The secret didn’t stay quiet long and Claudius had the priest dragged from the temple and thrown into the dungeon; on February 14, the priest Valentine died.

Point 3: Those who celebrate VD are celebrating the condemnation and death of a priest.

So there you have it, folks. Doesn’t it sound like a fabulous day to celebrate? Unless your idea of a good time is wandering naked on the Palatine Hill while sacrificing fatty animals to a pantheon of angry gods, or sucking on the nipples of she-wolves while being flogged by goatskin thongs, or applauding the actions of a Tyrannical ruler for ordering a priest to be assaulted and then left to die in a dank dungeon, I suggest you think twice before making such a huge deal about a pagan holiday completely transformed by the media in order to manipulate society and make money; instead, show your loved ones you care EVERY DAY. You shouldn’t need a ridiculous holiday to remind you.


4 thoughts on “An Academic Rant

  1. And happy Singles Awareness Day to you! Yeah, happy SAD. I’ve been observing SAD for about ten years, now.

    One positive thing—VD makes it such that I can, feasibly, observe the nuisance that is SAD only once annually.

  2. Interesting history lesson. And well said. Valentine’s Day is a stupid holiay. In college we called romantic – “romance without the man” – ‘ro-tic’. And we did stuff for ourselves like long hot baths, shopping, etc.

    And we should show our loved ones how much we care every day of the year! Besides, romance as such is kinda hokey. It really should be about building intimacy and trust. And that surely goes against the shallow marketing of Valentine’s Day.

  3. So let me see in order to truly catch the spirit VD, I need to wear black and wait for a naked roman boy to thrash me with his “used” goat skin thong while suckling on a wolf’s nipple…sure I can do that! Sounds a lot easier than trying to get a date. Seems, now days, even the steady Eddie guys try to find that one absurd reason to have a fight with you VD morning so they don’t have to explain why they didn’t get you something or take you somewhere, which of course if they simply explained was because they treat you so well every day of your intimate, loving lives together, you’d forgive, but they don’t so here’s to VD…may all the worshipers get it and the sneak thieves catch it!!!

  4. That’s exactly the kind of fun I want to have. I just can’t find someone who wants to do it with me.

    Seriously, I always hoped for a good VD but it has yet to happen. So I give up. I celebrate for my kiddos and my sadness at not getting flogged by goatskin thongs dampens just a little more every year.

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