May 09 2005

Another Triumph For American Banality

Mother’s Day. What a crock.

Yeah, it’s a profit-driven, manufactured holiday, which makes it no different from any other holiday in America, but that’s not even the whole reason it sucks. What really chaps the Twisty hide about Mother’s Day is its full-blown manifestation of the weepy, disingenuous, hypocritical, and highly commercialized sentimentalization of American motherhood. That, and the fact that society has it rigged so that if you say something as astonishing as “Mother’s Day. What a crock,” you are compelled to add, lest you are taken for a monster, “I love my mother.”

I love my mother!

Julia Ward Howe, of “Battle Hymn Of The Republic” fame, came up with Mother’s Day in the mid-19th century as a call to disarm. It was a peacenik thing, Mothers Unite To End War, etc. Guess how long that lasted? It is now about pastel teddy bears and cheap crap jewelry from Wal-Mart.

What does a grown woman want with a pastel teddy bear?

As is the procedure with other holidays, for Mother’s Day Americans lay in an extra-sappy supply of the saccharine they usually reserve for Supporting Our Troops and slather it all over themselves. Garrison Keillor, for example, does a syrupy duet about “God and Mother’s eyes” with someone who sings like Emmylou Harris. The family shoves a trite orchid and an overwrought Hallmark card with glitter-covered flowers at Mom and she gets taken to an overpriced brunch. This is supposed to make up for the important and difficult work she does all year for free in return for which she is marginalized, infantilized, undervalued, judged, blamed, patronized, drugged, overcharged for dry cleaning, beaten, preached to by assholes like Dr. Phil, abandoned, put in a home, or murdered.

By mid-afternoon Mother’s Day has worn off, and Mother is off the pedestal and back in the kitchen. Nobody even tells her that she’s still got glitter stuck to her nose from the cheesy-ass card.

If it weren’t for the greeting card industry, you wouldn’t even be getting the brunch, lady!

Brunch, you will recall, is the worst meal ever invented.


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  1. frobisher

    I’m almost afraid to ask you what your opinion of Fathers Day is . . .

  2. Ray

    Some years I cook a four course brunch for my wife and her mom. I even set the dessert on fire intentionally.

    Then while I do the dishes, they sit on the back porch and drink mimosas and cackle.

    You’d hate it.

  3. Twisty

    It’s always nice to hear about individual exceptions to the pattern of evil that the annual mother’s day crock whitewashes, especially when flaming food is involved.

    My larger point, of course, is that within a patriarchy, any “celebration” of motherhood is necessarily hypocritical, since misogyny is built into the system.

    Interesting choice of words, “cackle.”

  4. Ray

    My mother-in-law, when she’s had a bunch to drink, she cackles. It’s true. My wife and I had this conversation a few months back:

    “I don’t mind being around drunk people. It’s just that your mom, when she’s drunk, and she starts laughing…”

    “She cackles.”

    “I wasn’t going to use that word.”

    “No, you’re right, it’s true. She cackles.”

    “I love your mom, but that drives me up a wall.”

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