Monday, May 10, 2010

Sorry Anna.

Ahh, Mother's Day. Every early May, Hallmark aisles across the country explode with customers, as they buy plastic dedications with poetry about as deep as a toilet bowl. At CVS, I looked into the aisle, which was constantly filled with people yesterday, and thought to myself, "Where did this holiday come from?" I mean, who decided there needed to be a day to force people to cherish their mom?

Fake fun fact: Tupac started it.

Here in the US, the holiday was rallied on by a woman named Anna Jarvis. She started her campaign on May 12th, 1907, 2 years after her mother died, when she honored her mother in a memorial. She felt it was necessary that there be a day for moms everywhere to be celebrated.

Keep in mind that in the early 1900s, women were only capable of being babymakers, foodcookers, and threadweavers, and were still about 2 decades away from being able to vote.

So they kinda needed Mother's Day back then.

Jarvis got her wish in 1914, when Woodrow Wilson saw Jarvis' efforts in West Virginia, where she'd manage to get her local church and later the governor to recognize the holiday through various letters. He approved the resolution which celebrated Mother's Day as a national holiday.

One down, one to go!

Unfortunately, it didn't take long for Jarvis to start bitching; she began attacking various groups and people for abusing Mother's Day as a way to generate money. She clashed with the likes of "American War Mothers Association" for their overuse of the term in their fundraisers, and even Eleanor Roosevelt of "crafty plotting" to use Mother's Day as a means of fundraising for the research of high maternal and infant mortality rates.

Oh Eleanor, you clever cunt!

Admittedly, Jarvis was a bit out of line on the last one; she was practically foaming at the mouth whenever she saw any situation where Mother's Day was used as a money-generator. But who can blame her: The simple holiday, which was in honor of a mother she so deeply loved, was beginning to look like a major cash cow, and she didn't want her mother to be a seed for that. So perhaps her volcanic bitching was a little crazy. But it was understandable.

She went on to spend her entire inheritance to campaigning against the commercialization of Mother's Day for the rest of her life, until she passed away in 1948; never becoming a mother of her own.

It's been 101 years since Jarvis decided her mom deserved a special day. To see it now become the focal point of companies such as Hallmark, Sears, Best Buy, and dozens of others is anti-Jarvis, and by association, anti-Mother's Day.

In short, write a letter. Hug your mom. Take her to a special place. Whatever you do, just keep your wallet in your back pocket. And if you didn't do it yesterday, make sure you utter these 2 words:

Sorry Anna.

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