Is it ethical to celebrate Valentine’s Day?

Ethan Greenhart

Topics Politics

Dear Ethan,

It’s that time of year again, when the birds twitter in the trees, the chocolates in pink, heart-shaped boxes fly off the shelves, and lovers stare longingly into each other’s eyes over a glass of champers. I want to celebrate Valentine’s Day with my Civil Partner John, but I want to do it in an eco-friendly fashion. Any advice?

Paul Mayfield

Dear Paul,

First of all, let me congratulate you on being a homosexual. I often wish that I was a friend of Gertrude instead of being cursed by Gaia with the burden of swaggering, tobacco-chewing, baby-making, foulmouthed heterosexuality. (Not that I’m like that, you understand – but if you have ever unwisely ventured from the Gay Quarters of town into the straight ghettos (Bermondsey, for example, or the whole of Eco-Unfriendly Essex) you will know that most straights are.)

As every half-decent eco-columnist is aware, it is far more ethical to be gay than straight. You queers – I’m sure you won’t mind me using that empowering word! – have mastered the art of sex without consequences, whereas every time a man lies with a woman he runs the risk of creating what one eco-feminist correctly calls a ‘screaming shit machine’: another mouth to feed; another bottom to wipe; another screeching greedy toddler to adorn in the latest Burberry jumpsuit; another teenager who will smoke and drink and vomit and take a cheap, skidmark-emitting flight to Faliraki where he will fight with members of his own sex and fuck members of the opposite sex (and the planet, too).

Believe me, Paul, if Gaia hates anything more than the sound of a greasy-haired member of the underclass zooming along one of the tarmac scars on Her face on a CO2-coughing Suzuki, it is the sound of the pitter-patter of tiny carbon footprints on her blemished, beleaguered surface. So well done you for being born with the most advanced human gene there is: Homosexuality. I am convinced – and so is my good friend Professor Judith Wells (formerly Professor Jude Wells), a lecturer in Homosexual, Transsexual and Environmental History and Consciousness at the University of South-West-West Middlesex – that the Gay Gene evolved as a desperate attempt by Gaia to remedy the horrors of Industrial Terrorism and its ugly, demented cousin: Overpopulation. How else do we explain the fact that brave queers smashed out of the collective closet in the late 1960s and delivered a stiletto-heeled kick in the balls of our patriarchal, muscular, rapacious, overpopulated, polluting society? Yep, just as Gaia reached Her tipping point, their Gay Genes kicked in, and like a well-coiffured Band of Brothers, Sisters and Non-Gender Specific Siblings they began fighting back against the tyranny of hetero-reproduction.

Gaia is relying on the gays to deliver her from man-unkind’s bondage, from the terror of yet more little black, white, brown and yellow babies (see, I’m not prejudiced – every new baby, whatever its hue, is an affront to my moral sensibilities). Forget Clause 28; it should be compulsory to educate school pupils about the wonders of homosexual living. Then, maybe – just maybe – we can reduce the number of people being born by nurturing an eco-aware society of queers.

Having said that, Paul, I don’t care HOW planet-friendly you and your Civil Partner are – if you celebrate Valentine’s Day you will be no better than the suede-headed straight thugs on council estates who buy a bunch of roses for a fiver from some cockney on the side of a smoggy motorway and then hand them like unthinking slaves to capitalist desire to their ponytailed ‘birds’ (probably called Chelsea or Britney) before having intercourse with them on a dirty bed surrounded by empty cans of ‘Nelson Mandela’ (Stella).

Paul, Valentine’s Day is a CRIME against the planet, a capitalist conspiracy to dupe the masses into thinking that ‘love’ justifies everything – including £50 lovey-dovey meals in a restaurant that serves up the bloodied hides of murdered cows or the torn-out stomachs of choked-to-death geese and calls it haute cuisine. Paul, you and your Civil Partner should know better than to take part in this annual ST VALENTINE’S DAY MASSACRE of the planet.

I’m going to give it to you straight (no pun intended): St Valentine’s Day is the worst day in Gaia’s calendar (not that Gaia lives by the human-centric Roman calendar, of course; She knows full well that the moon, wind and tides, which control us humans and our menstrual cycles and personality traits far more than we know, are the real timekeepers of this ball we have arrogantly labelled ‘Earth’). Valentine’s Day is even worse than Christmas (all those presents, wrapping paper, alcohol-fuelled arguments over slaughtered turkeys, and seasonal suicides – which, I suppose, at least have the benefit of reducing the population a little bit). It is even worse than EASTER – that ridiculous celebration of a man coming back to life (isn’t ONE LIFE of carbon crime enough for you greedy bastards?) with its speciesist denigration of rabbits who are turned into pink, fluffy-eared carriers of chocolate eggs, which is STUPID because everyone knows rabbits do not lay eggs!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Valentine’s Day – let’s just fittingly called it ‘VD’ for short – is worse than those other celebratory days, because where those days at least involve a little bit of self-flagellation and self-denial (big up those CofE bishops who called for a ‘carbon Lent’ recently!), Valentine’s Day dresses up narcissistic greed, buying, giving, eating and fornicating in the language of love (or ‘luuurve’, to give it its properly vulgar popular-culture title). VD disguises our innate human insanity as something loving and beautiful – the lie of the century!

VD involves giving wasteful cards – all that paper, glitter, ink, the disgracefully animal-phobic illustrations of rabbits, chipmunks, unicorns – to people just so you can say ‘I love you!’. I have estimated that because people are too lazy or bashful to say those three words with their vocal chords instead of with a piece of factory-produced pink card, we are burdening Gaia with 78.234444444 (recurring) tonnes of CO2 every year as a result of VD cards alone! I learned very early on, Paul, what a monumental planetary waste of paper a VD card is. At school, I left one in the locker of a certain young woman whose name I shall keep secret in order to spare her blushes. I wrote with bright yellow highlighter ink: ‘BE MY VALENTINE… meet me on the school allotment tonight between the turnips and the beetroot.’ She never showed. I learned two important lessons that night, Paul: 1) VD cards are pointless; 2) allotments are very good places in which to cry and wail and unleash your angst.

VD also involves the committing of numerous Chocolate Crimes. Do you know, Paul, that some people – including a very good friend of mine (well, he’s not my friend anymore) – insist on buying chocolates that are flown in from BELGIUM! They think there is something ‘special’ about Belgian chocolates, so they hand them to their ‘special’ loved ones on VD. I’ll tell you what is ‘special’ about Belgian chocolates: their production and their transportation BY AEROPLANE over distances of hundreds and thousands of miles leave a ‘specially’ enormous skidmark in the weeping blue sky. I don’t see the point of Belgium. We saved them from demented German armies – TWICE – and they repay us by flying CO2-centred chocolates and apple-flavoured beer to poncy shops and restaurants frequented by eco-unaware lovers and losers. Thanks, Belgium.

Even worse, Paul, some people celebrate VD by taking trips abroad!!!!! Seriously, they go to Paris by train (travelling through that monstrous tunnel under the English Channel which has been causing massive outbreaks of PTSD – Post-Tunnel Stress Disorder – amongst cod, octopus and dolphin communities) or they fly to Rome or Prague and spend £500 on eating, drinking and securing a hotel bed for their annual ‘special’ fornication. The cost of their super-shag to the planet is phenomenal. What is wrong with staying at home, I ask you? With celebrating VD in one’s garden, or at a local park (first report any shifty-looking youth to the police), or floating on a river in a handmade coracle constructed from renewable wood sources? Why go abroad? What are you running away from, people?!! If you can only say I love you over slabs of meat in a Parisian restaurant, rather than face-to-face everyday, then clearly there is something wrong… Do yourselves AND the planet a favour: split up and live the single life, or even better the eco-friendly Queer Life with one of your ‘mates’.

Paul, take a tip from me and Sheba. Every year we purposefully and dignifiedly resist the lure of VD by TAKING A BREAK from one another! I stay in the garden for a 24-hour period and show my love for my lentil plants and Mother Earth in general, while Sheba spends the day with her good friend Eamon with whom she talks about eco-politics into the earlier hours before sleeping on his couch. Both of us feel refreshed the next day, me with satisfyingly muddy hands and a cold chill, and Sheba with a red glow on her cheeks and a spring in her step. That’s how to do VD.

Ethan Greenhart is here to answer all your questions about ethical living in the twenty-first century. Email him at {encode=”” title=””}. Read his earlier columns here.

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Topics Politics


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