Since it’s just too fucking early to think about the implications of Mar-A-Lago members posting photos of and details about the guy in charge of the Nuclear Football to Facebook, let’s talk about love. Or what they’re selling it now as, anyway.
American Consumer Holidays are weird, because they aren’t really holidays. Valentine’s Day isn’t really a declared celebration of love, it’s an advertising campaign.1 Halloween takes a beautiful foreign tradition and makes it about buying candy. Days dedicated to parents are more about buying cards or neck ties than giving the parents a day off from work. These are just examples to show how entrenched capitalism has become in our sense of humanity; our very notion of celebration starts with purchase power and opportunity as opposed to creative expression or individuality.2
At 34 now, I’ve had a fair share of relationships with a variety of women and nothing I’ve ever seen advertised on television or the aisle of a store remotely resembles how I’ve felt about them.3 The reason our world is so fucked up is because of how money has consumed our concepts of value. This mechanism of consumer power being a metaphor in our personal relationships (i.e., what you buy for Valentine’s Day being a reflection of how you feel) takes our most intense and personal feelings and attaches a social value scale measured in trinkets and flowers that we watch die.
I’ve been watching Planet Earth II and one of the segments constantly featured is a mating ritual of some weird-ass species. On Valentine’s Day, all I can do is imagine a Planet Earth like documentary about humans, but instead of talking about the instinctual nature of a desire to impress, David Attenborough instead says, “The human. With the ability to conceive original thought and create unique objects, there are seemingly limitless ways to express emotion. Despite these advantages, their decisions on how to display an appreciation for their most intimate relationships often fall to the expectations of the cultural status quo; a gutless view of love often designed by slick advertising campaigns. An early dependence on these social traditions will at first appear ironic and unique until they join the rest of year-to-year life as a heartless custom. Eventually, the relationship serves only as individual reinforcement that each partner would be worse off without the other.”
Run through walls for people you love. If they really love you back, the bricks and dust will be a sign enough.