The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

L-o-v-e is just a four-letter word

On My Way Out There
 L-o-v-e is just a four-letter word
L-o-v-e is just a four-letter word

L-o-v-e is just a four-letter word

As a preface, I need to apologize for some of the things I said in my commentary last Friday about the “Linguistics of Tolkein’s Middle Earth” class being taught at the University of Texas. Apparently the class isn’t quite as Tolkein-specific as I labeled it, and is actually closer to a Middle English class than anything else. In addition, I have been further informed about the UD/UTD/SMU class being taught this summer (which I rather ignorantly maligned). According to Professor Bonnie Wheeler, the class will study the medieval epics and romances from which Tolkein drew his sources, and”will draw on the expertise of medievalists at all three campuses to focus on Tolkien as a myth-maker whose sources were the medieval texts he spent his life editing and teaching.”

So, there’s the real information, and you should probably never listen to anything else I have to say. Ever. That said …

During my first year at SMU, I wrote a truly embarrassing column (“Valentines for a Beautiful Loser”) about how much Valentine’s Day depressed me. The year after that, I wrote a nostalgic column about decorating shoeboxes and passing around Valentine’s cards in 6th grade, which was equally embarrassing. Last year I came down with a fever, thus sparing The Daily Campus readership from having to read further editorial flagellation.

Between my sophomore and senior years, however, my viewpoint seems to have shifted. I no longer need Valentine’s Day to contemplate how much of a loser I really am. I see it as a holiday that highlights one of the most flagrant deceits in our culture; that deceit is the word “love.” We can’t really define it, and I’ll bet you that five people put together in the same room wouldn’t be able to reach a consensus about what it is. The Oxford English Dictionary gives it one of the most convoluted definitions I’ve ever heard, calling it a “State of feeling … which manifests itself in solicitude for the welfare of an object, and usually also in delight in his or her presence and desire for his or her approval.” It really says something about a word when the English language’s foremost dictionary writers can’t convincingly define it.

Worse is the flagrant way that we as a society throw the word around. Never mind that romantic love doesn’t have the same meaning today as it did a millennium ago. We say that we “love” our parents or “love” our friends with the same conviction as we say that we “love” our Prada bags. And what does Valentine’s Day do? It further drains the word of any meaning, confuses “love” with “lust” and substitutes real affection with chocolate. (And, strangely enough, eating too much of that chocolate might decrease someone’s feelings of “love” toward you, which probably means it wasn’t present in the first place. Irony rocks!)

Don’t believe me about what a dumb “holiday” this is? Fine. But how much do you really know about Valentine’s Day? Did you know that red roses are actually symbols of the blood of St. Valentine, an early Christian martyr beheaded for performing marriage ceremonies? That this is the largest seasonal card-sending day of the year next to Christmas? That the idea for men and women choosing their mates on Valentine’s Day came from the Medieval belief that birds chose their mates on the same day?

Hey, today marks the 74th anniversary of the St. Valentine’s Day massacre! Not such a pretty holiday now, is it?

I don’t know very many people with different opinions on this subject. It seems to be official – Valentine’s Day sucks. Now, would you like to do something about it? Join the Anti-Valentine’s Day Coalition! Visit http://www.smu.edu/jdewbre/vday.htm and sign your name to our petition. I want to take this all the way to the President of The United States.

And if this works, who knows? Maybe we can convince somebody up there not to start a damn war. (Don’t count on it, though.)

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