Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Your Anti- Valentine's Day Party Is Still A Valentine's Day Party

The photo above, an excerpt from my "thought book," provides a portal into my current state of mind.

Another non- issue I have been stewing over is the relative benefits of optimism and pessimism.

The party line of self- described intellectuals slants toward pessimism, such as capitalist robber baron John Kenneth Galbraith's dime- store philosophy o
f "We all agree that pessimism is the mark of superior intellect." This means that if you're somewhat evolved, that you swam up to the shore, brave little fishy that you were, and slithered upwards, eventually growing little fish feet, then you bear witness the relentless injustice and ultimate futility of the human project. Or as Jean- Paul Sartre named our charge on this mortal coil, "anguish, forlorness, despair." Evidence abounds to support this claim and requires no further explanation, unless you are retarded or maybe an optimist. The pessimist's favorite holiday- Valentine's Day- swiftly descends upon us. Wait a goddamn second, whaddya mean?! Pessimists don't fall for fuzzy bears 21st century "email me" conversation hearts and corporate commercial crap. Exactly! It's their favorite because it's so easy and so obvious to hate!

Pessimists, in this case, take the path of least resistance. It’s easy to criticize things as they are without offering any alternatives, while you marinade in your ego and haughty self- satisfaction, while you drink your VitaminWater, the official haterade of haters. No one explains this lazy impulse of the psuedo- intelligentsia better t
han the hero of the Elegance of the Hedgehog, who also goes by Paloma, which is the name of all heroes everywhere! She contends that all pessimists were once optimists, and then one day they realized that shit like hardly ever works out and most people are a huge disappointment. They then turn to "pessimism," a ready- made ethos that coddles you and keeps you safe from the hairy, scary outside world because you will automatically dismiss everything as shit, and you never have to try and fail again.

Pessimists sneer at Valentine’s Day, either because they’re cheap (“It’s a Hallmark holiday), lazy (“I don’t need a special day to say I love you!”) or single (obvious). New York City in February is a veritable purgatory, except it’s somewhere between hell and hell- er. It’s bleaker than Co- op City in an ice storm. One finds herself pondering not so much “why do I live here?” but “why do I live?”

Valentine’s Day, with all its frothy trimmings and gaylord lovey dov
ies to distracts you for one glorious day and stops you from listening to “Needle in the Hay” on repeat. It is meant to make one feel special, and not special education special.

I looooooooooove Valentine's Day because I love love, and my mom still sends me a Valentine every year. I know this is essentially like going to prom with your cousin because you can't get a
normal guy to ask you out, but I'll take it. I never met a marshmallow heart I didn't like.

I know, I know, such an overwhelming display of sweetness is garish, gauche even. But guess what smarty pants? Even Sartre saw anguish and despair not only as ubiquitous and palpably real, but also as a humanism, because you get to decide what to do with it all, and even help out all the philistine ignorami that surround you: "I am responsible for myself and for everyone else. I am creating a certain image of man of my own choosing. In choosing myself, I choose man." Well, if that doesn't just drip with gooey optimism then slap my ass and call me Susan!

So you can, like, have an anti- Valentine's Day poopy pants festival with all your best single gal pals and catch the Jennifer Aniston marathon on Lifetime, guaranteeing you a life of spinsterdom and inevitable lesbianism, or you can send a Valentine to a lov- ah or family member of platonic friendo or a friendo with whom you want to get familiar and stop being an insufferable bore! Or have it both ways, like some Antonio Gramsci: "I am a pessimist because of intelligence, but an optimist because of will."

No comments: