Thursday, February 14, 2008

I thought I had it in for Valentine's Day

Let me just put it out there - I am not a fan of this holiday. I never really got who that saint Valentine was, or why he was the saint for lovers, or why I was supposed to think "be my valentine" was such a romantic request. Bah humbug! (Mind you, I am also the one who listens happily, even eagerly, to Christmas music from Thanksgiving through Boxing Day - I am nothing if not reliably inconsistent.) And I know I'm not alone - there's an anti-Valentine's Day movement out there, a veritable phalanx of protesters armed with slings and arrows, not of love, ready to take down the day. I just know there is.

The following report, however, rather takes the cake (only an excerpt - for the full experience, read on MacDuff):

Last year in Malaysia, a government official, Muhammad Ramli Nuh, declared, according to the Bernama News Agency, that “celebrating the Day could be regarded as recognizing the enemies of Islam because Valentine or Valentinus took part in planning and attacking Cordoba, once a well-known centre of Islam in Spain, causing its downfall.” Actually, St. Valentine was a third-century Christian martyr in the Roman Empire, but give Muhammad Ramli Nuh points for imagination.

Evidently we have Chaucer to thank for this holiday -- speaking of which, if you haven't seen Paul Bettany playing Chaucer in A Knight's Tale (also starring the sadly belated Heath Ledger), I highly recommend it. It was written and directed by Brian Helgeland (who wrote L.A. Confidential and Mystic River, among other things).

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