Friday, February 13, 2009

Who Are the Scolds Who Want You To Boycott Valentine's Day?

Another example of how our culture is "winning" in the Middle East:

Members of the Sudan Ulema Authority, an influential body of religious leaders, called on young men and women to ignore the event on February 14 and resist the temptation to mark it by taking romantic strolls in parks.

"Valentine's Day comes from Western countries. I call on Muslims not to imitate Christians," said preacher Sheikh Hassan Hamid in a statement released to Reuters on Wednesday.

"The money that is spent on Valentine's Day would be better spent encouraging young people to marry," he added.

The lovers' holiday has become increasingly popular in recent years among students and young people in the capital, with Valentine cards available in Khartoum shops.

Not with guns and bullets, but with greeting cards will we win them over in the Middle East.

So, Valentine's Day is the greatest holiday in the world. That's why the clerics are so afraid of it. Oh yeah, them, and some scold at MSN Money name MP Dunleavy:

The problem is that Valentine's Day, like many other American occasions, has grown from being a celebration that once aspired to some meaning, to being a trashy, materialistic extravaganza.

Think about how much pressure there is to participate:

* Every schoolchild, practically, is expected to make or send cards to their classmates or bring treats to class.

* Some single women feel so left out on Valentine's Day that they've been known to send flowers to themselves, so they won't look like losers.

* And don't assume couples are happier: For many, Valentine's Day is a yearly excuse to have a nasty fight, with partners feeling unloved . . . because they didn't get a stuffed bear or some candy. What?

"Pressure"? Seriously? In the Sudan, millions have been displaced from their homes and been victimized by unspeakable brutality and violence, and this "Woman in Red" is concerned about fighting over stuffed bears and "the children" being "expected to make or send cards to their classmates" (shouldn't they send the cards they make- I don't understand her wording there. if they make the cards, wouldn't they then send the cards as well- or are they keeping the cards they make?).

The Woman in Red gets worse:

This year consumers are expected to spend $102.50 on the same stuff as last year:

* About 36% will buy flowers.

* 16% plan to buy jewelry.

* About half (47%) will eat out.

* 58% will buy cards.

According to the National Confectioners Association, consumers will spend about $1 billion on candy alone. Good grief, Charlie Brown!

If my husband spent $100 on gifts instead of putting it into our emergency fund -- a far greater gesture of love -- I would make him eat the oil bill for breakfast.

Mr Woman in Red is a lucky man indeed.

She goes on to suggest some ways of spending that money that she deems appropriate. Not surprisingly, one of her suggestions is to invest in the stock market (with helpful links to other MSN Money articles).

If you're so concerned about spending a lot of money on this made up holiday, you can do what I do: Every February 15 I head out to the grocery store and buy packs of Valentine's Day candies for half price. Then put those candies away for a year- they're all sugar anyway, so they're not going to go bad- (I hide them amongst the cleaning supplies where my GF will not find them) and then when the big day rolls around the next year, I'm all set. And I've spent a total of 20 bucks on mountains of candies and other Valentine's tchotchkes and paraphernalia. Then I spend the other $100 or so paying my credit card bill or something.

Seriously, the only people who dislike this holiday are religious zealots and uptight scolds. They both think they know what's best for you- and that you need a stern lecture about it.

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