March 23, 2019

Rethinking Love on Valentine's Day

“Nine out of 10 Americans will celebrate Valentine’s Day this year. We will spend an average of $143, up from $135 last year. Even the few of us who don’t celebrate might go to an anti-Valentine’s Day restaurant to enjoy the “break-up” menu or buy ourselves something to show our #selflove.

All this romantic consumption will bring us to a near-record $19.6 billion on chocolates and greeting cards and the like on February 14, despite the longest government shutdown on record and a cooling global economy.

Why are we spending money we don’t have on images of cute but armed cherubs and expensive dinners out? The answer is both complicated and surprisingly simple: We think true love will make our futures safe and secure.

Since the beginning of the American nation, our sense of self has been tightly tied to romantic love. That’s why in 1857 President James Buchanan sent troops to Utah to destroy polygamy and it’s why there are still over a thousand federal rights and privileges granted to married people even as a majority of Americans are unmarried.”

Read more

JJ Editor's Daily Picks

"Historic buildings and structures dating from the Byzantine era to the 20th century have been subjected to disastrous restorations in recent years here, prompting public outcry and fostering a cynical attitude toward planned projects."

"Fox News, normally the object of presidential praise on Twitter, was subjected to an unusual tweet-lashing over the weekend when the president went after three of its anchors."

"Opinion: I am not willing to cast a ballot for this current crop of scandal-mongers, gossips and PR-obsessed dilettantes who are tearing the country apart - don't we deserve better?"

"Listening to The Joe Rogan Experience is sort of like crashing an intense, intimate dinner party in which the only courses are whiskey and weed."

"At the Jewish Museum in London called “Jews, Money, Myth.” The show explores the ways in which Jews have been associated with money over the past 2,000 years."

"Footage of last week’s massacre in New Zealand, which the shooter streamed in real time via Facebook Live, quickly proliferated. The original 17-minute webcast was viewed fewer than 200 times and wasn’t immediately reported, Facebook says."

"When I hear that Jews are too powerful, my response is, we are not powerful enough. When I hear that AIPAC is too influential a lobby, I say it must become even more influential."

"Lost in migration: When Walter Benjamin fled France in 1940, he took a heavy black suitcase. Did it contain a typescript? Where is it now?"

"Someday my daughter will be asked if she wants to have a bat mitzvah. I’m inclined to let her make up her own mind... It's a lot of work to learn Hebrew, memorize parts of the Torah and prepare for a pressure-packed performance at such a young age."

"Tablet's Unorthodox Podcast: Gail Simmons, Shalom Auslander, Jill Kargman, Gil Hovav, and more on the Jewish foods that mean the most to them."

""Hitting someone is a foundational moral violation," Yale University Psychologist Paul Bloom wrote in a comment to the paper. "Indeed, these sorts of physical infractions are found to be morally wrong by the youngest babies we can test."

" Ilhan Omar in particular has garnered attention for tweets widely viewed by the Jewish community as trafficking in anti-Semitic tropes. The result has been the most media coverage of anti-Semitism in a decade..."