Valentine’s Day—Consumerism At Its Worst

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For every fan of Valentine’s Day, there’s a social misfit or iconoclast who derides it as a tool used by corporations to take advantage of the consumer and take their money.
Whenever the word ‘valentine’ is uttered in the arena of undergraduates, the debate arises.
Those with boyfriends say, ‘It’s so cute,’ and those with girlfriends say, ‘But I don’t get paid until next week.’
And there remains the outspoken group of history of art and visual culture majors who say, ‘It’s just a reason for companies to make money. There’s no love in it.’
They are absolutely right. Valentine’s Day has become an excuse for Americans to turn off their iPods, rush out of their homes which they purchased from the Irvine Company, get in their Suburbans, take a drive down to the Spectrum to search for a Hallmark greeting card before seeing a Dreamworks movie and buying a CD released on Atlantic Records.
Afterward, these Casanovas drive home, present their mass-produced goods to their lovers, go out to dinner at either Chili’s or Chipotle, return home (first stopping at the Texaco gas station to fill up the tank) and get on their Dell computers to visit Google or Yahoo.
They’ve become slaves to a system that does not use slavery. They’re zombies that haven’t died.
It isn’t enough that these people are willing to do what they’re doing, but they actually continue when they know that Valentine’s Day has created famine, destroyed New Orleans and made Canada a fascist state.
Why can’t the evil companies that perpetrate these crimes just leave couples alone? Why is it that, on the one day of the year allocated to love, they have to launch their aggressive, nauseating ad campaigns?
It’s a relief that there are those few icons that know when enough is enough. I don’t know how many times the world has been saved by these same inventive, free-thinking heroes.
I, for one, will join those courageous and warm-hearted rebels who have the balls to say, ‘I won’t fall into the capitalist bear-trap this year.’ People just don’t understand.
It’s not because we’re all bitter for being single yet again, or that we really like chocolate but no one buys it for us.
It’s because we have principles, unlike the rest of the Western world. We don’t succumb to the persuasive TV commercials that work so well on everyone else.
We don’t eat candy, wear jewelry or give gifts because we care about someone.
We don’t buy things.
I propose that, in addition to Valentine’s Day, my comrades and I boycott the institutions of American greed, where the awful beasts called ‘corporations’ have tainted purity: Christmas, Independence Day, New Year’s Eve, Labor Day, Memorial Day, Veteran’s Day, Easter, Hanukah, Halloween, Thanksgiving (stick it to the supermarkets), President’s Day, Columbus Day, weekends, birthdays, seeing movies, watching TV, reading, spending time with friends and family, sanitation and hygiene, water, driving, eating and sleeping.
Yes, even sleeping should be avoided. After all, Larry, the guy who owns the Sit ‘n’ Sleep mattress stores, takes advantage of America’s ‘biological’ need for rest.
We live in a world where our convictions and morals are in serious jeopardy. Let us not forget that old proverb, ‘You can buy wood to build a house, but that does not count as sticking it to the Man.’ I implore anyone with an ounce of decency to lay dormant your charity this Tuesday.
Perhaps only a few convincing arguments have been made, but consider this: every time you buy a card, a corporation gets $2 of profit. Most of the money goes to their employees, but 10 cents is given to terrorist organizations in the Middle East, and another 10 cents is donated to drug traffickers in Colombia and Tijuana.
Essentially, buying from Hallmark is going to help Osama bin Laden build a hydrogen bomb and make your children coke addicts. Do you want to be responsible?

Jacob Beizer is a second-year English major. He can be reached at jbeizer@uci.edu

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