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“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.”
JJ Editor's Daily Picks
"Thousands of gay rights supporters gathered in heavy rain outside parliament in the capital, Taipei, to watch a live broadcast of the proceedings. Supporters shouted “First in Asia!” after the article was passed."
"It’s increasingly clear that Roe v. Wade, the U.S. Supreme Court decision protecting a woman’s right to choose abortion, is in jeopardy. But what is Roe all about? Privacy? Liberty? Women’s equality?"
"Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is being cautious about engaging Israel in the US-Iran tensions, though he would surely not object to an American attack on Iran."
"Hello. I’m a person who has never watched Game of Thrones. You’re a person who has watched every episode. Here is what I have learned about you through the cultural osmosis..."
"The vacation rental industry is mired in claims that it harms neighborhoods and housing markets. Can a nonprofit co-op make the tourist trend a community asset?"
"One of the many important facets of special counsel Robert Mueller’s inquiry is his observation that President Donald Trump’s use of Twitter and other mass media could subvert the criminal-justice system."
"Even in a profession where major commissions rarely materialize before a man (and, beginning only recently, a woman) is well past fifty, it is hard for anyone alive today to remember a time when I.M. Pei was not a dominant, commanding figure."
"If you’re old enough to remember the Soviet Union, you’ve probably wondered why so many young people today seem attracted to socialism. One influence is Howard Zinn, who published “A People’s History of the United States” in 1980..."
"Moms and dads may be new to microdosing, but the trend has been bubbling for years in Silicon Valley. The tech set claim that taking 10 to 20 micrograms of LSD every few days makes them more creative..."
"In 1983, the Italian-Israeli professor Sandra Debenedetti Stow stunned the scholarly world with an explosive article that proposed that Jews introduced pizza to the European diet."
"During a military mission, whether in peace or in war, if a pilot or soldier can’t identify an object, they have a serious problem: How should they react, without knowing if it is neutral, friendly or threatening? "
"Wouk, an Orthodox Jew, embodied the new postwar possibilities for American Jews and his writing helped normalize Judaism within the larger American landscape..."