amongst books

amongst books

Monday, May 14, 2012

5 minute rant: holidaze

I have no problem with the idea  of people celebrating their good mothers on any given day; however, holidaze always make me uneasy. when I used to watch television regularly, I also became queasy when I was faced with an onslaught of commercials for gifts & greeting cards to help the masses celebrate these "special" days. now with social media, the onslaught of sameness when encountering holidaze, celebrity deaths & discussions of reality tv makes me wary. I call this a Halmark, a play on words with the Hallmark greeting cards & the "mark of Hal." Hal being the robot that takes over in Arthur C. Clarke's Space Odyssey saga. To me the masses' preprogrammed response to holidaze is a worrisome example of group think, of conformity & of a lack of individuality. Of having a time dictated to us when we should celebrate, of thinking that buying a greeting card & taking mom out for a bucket of deep fried chicken is a substitute for showing her love. I do know that this is not what it means for some, but this is what makes me queasy, uneasy. I'd like to see evidence of celebration that is not preprogrammed by some external authority.

a wise & lovely friend on FB who also happens to be a mother pointed out to me that Mother's Day comes from a pacifist reaction tothe American Civil War, which is excellent, but that's not what it has become. if on this day mothers, fathers, grandparents, sons, daughters etc engaged in massive protests against war, against the current right-wing inhuman governments across the world, voter suppression etc, I would be very much in support of such a celebration.
someone else on Twitter mentions that the reason to celebrate mothers is because we wouldn't exist without them. while this is true, I can't help thinking about children who have been abused and murdered by parents, shoved in buckets & drowned, sold into sexual slavery. I can't help thinking about wonderful people who would make excellent parents, but who suffer miscarriage after miscarriage, who don't have the big bucks necessary for fertility treatments or adoption. I can't help thinking about children whose parents died or parents whose children have died & these damn holidaze are reminders every year of how much they ache for the ones they love. so yes, holidaze make me uneasy.

at the same time, I do enjoy rituals & celebration (but I will also eat turkey in the middle of July) & I also paradoxically enjoy knowing that there are people out there who share my thoughts & my values. I am fortunate to be married to a man who is my kindred spirit, thank goodness, because without him there are times when I think I'd have to become a hermit, so disenchanted am I by the bah bah bahs.
Another FB friend and her husband don't celebrate these arbitrary celebrations but they find that they miss celebrations, so have come up with their own, such as Big Orange Rock Day. I like the idea of this. I think celebration is important. I am a big fan of International Yarn Bombing Day or holidays that haven't been co-opted by Halmark, but that incite creativity & individuality.

Another group of friends organized a poetry show in support of mothers & I thought that was fantastic. I think there's great scope for love, creativity & imagination in this world.
to some extent, I am disappointed by social media. I thought when I joined FB that I would see evidence of creativity & individuality, when what I've seen most is evidence of similarity, of group think & bandwagonism. there are some rays of light around though & I cling to them.


Pearl said...

Big Orange Rock Day. That sounds excellent.

I find I excuse myself from social media around holidays like this. not much I can do about the 3 months of christmas but yeah, I hear you.

Amanda Earl said...

yes, it has occurred to me to stay away from social media during holidaze but i don't want to let the droids win.

Amanda Earl said...

& i'd like a tee shirt that says "Big Orange Rock Day" :)

Victoria said...