Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Valentine's Day

I have always been wary of Valentine's Day, especially since reading Thomas Hardy's ironically named novel Far From the Madding Crowd.

Hardy takes the title from the poem Gray's Elegy, which includes the line "Far from the madding crowd's ignoble strife" - but Hardy's characters manage to create ignoble strife even in an apparently peaceful countryside setting. And in Hardy's novel, it is a Valentine's Day card that causes all the trouble.

Isn't that just the purpose of Valentine's Day - to cause trouble?

Scott Adams sees the whole thing as a hunter-gatherer competition, in which the alpha males get the best flowers (and consequently the best women). Meanwhile Bruce Schneier sees this as an opportunity for trust to be broken, and broken trust to be exposed.

What a romantic way to celebrate the life and death of Saint Valentine!

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