American Calendar: Philosophical Short
These United States reward individual accomplishments. Each of us is asked/told to define the "individual," "original" me through our style, thoughts, and career. Success is often measured in creation or work ethic, beauty or fortune. Often, through pop culture we are shown that the successful person is the independent super-person whose grace and talent is mixed always to the ideal solution. Balance that leads to well-rounded, attractive success. This is television, and business, and well... everything in American culture.
What strikes me is the way our calendar attempts, if archaically, to bring maintain/revive the concept of American Family. Of course, not the calendar itself, but the holidays we print and celebrate on our calendar. For all of our lauding of personal success, individuality and originality, each year our date-system tells us to stop, for one day, usually per month, and do something for the family and extended family... or to partake in religious celebration/observance. Each of us is pushed throughout our lives to exceed, and though much of this drive is inborn, it's as much or more through the nurturing of our society. Our calendar tells us to not to do that... not to forget about people, religion, history. America claims to be two things, disparate things, at once: A country of families, and a country of epically-strident individualists. The calendar acts to mitigate that conflict, but it seems nearly impossible given the polarity of the two ideologies.
Instead, we're asked to branch out from our parents in young adulthood to succeed and go full speed at all times. And then, we're stop and remember via Mother's Day, Father's Day, Grandparent's Day, and all the religious holidays. All of them about bringing the family back together. It's a bit of a confusion of concepts. I am not attempting to argue against these holidays... merely point out the way they diverge from what modern life is like. When was the last time we added a holiday anyway? Mother's Day was created in 1912, officially. (Though to be fair there were numerous celebrations of women/mothers throughout pagan history.) There aren't many modern, non-historical holidays. And there aren't really any holidays set in secular fun either. Why is that? Why are we not supposed to set aside a day for having fun without the expectations and requirements of religious/semi-religious celebration? I mean, what about National Relaxing Day, but have it on a Friday and give the power to close every institution of business?
This is getting beyond the point. The calendar and it's holidays and notations in the United States just seems sort of archaic. Maybe 50 years ago, before America had fully assembled the image of individualism, and of the "army of one," the calendar would feel more realistic. But now it seems like it keeps dates from years ago, nostalgically, that don't mean what they once did. (Or, I could be making a crass, negative and aggrandizing assessment of a yearly list of days and numbers...)
- ► 2012 (48)
- ► 2011 (121)
- ► 2010 (95)
- ▼ April (6)