Debate Club is a column that pits writers head-to-head on questions that matter to students. Though it lacks the shaky knees and microphone feedback screeches that typically accompany any oratory competition, rest assured that Debate Club is not for the faint of heart.
“Be it resolved that Valentine’s Day is stupid.”
Ariel Gomes (AG)
Sean Smith (SS)
*Disclosure: Our editors are dating each other.
SS: Love for the sake of love is one of life’s greatest pleasures. To stop for a day in celebration of this fact should not be demeaned or considered stupid. I invite you, my cynic, my love: voice your objections so that I can teach you the value of a day dedicated to what you profess to feel for me.
AG: The love anyone feels for another person cannot be demonstrated in a day. It is stupid to assume that the celebration of one day of love adequately portrays the heart’s emotions, especially since true adoration is a chronic affection.
SS: Of course it is impossible to contain the love that I feel for you in a day — or even a lifetime. But, we do not diminish our love for our mothers by celebrating Mother’s Day any more than we limit our love for each other by celebrating Valentine’s Day. We celebrate Valentine’s Day not to confine our loving relationship to a 24-hour period, but to spend a day honouring each other.
AG: Theoretically, a day spent honouring each other and our relationship is a very attractive prospect — realistically, sweetheart, this day is nonexistent. Valentine’s Day functions only as a platform for retail and the media to commercially capitalize on. Because it is celebrated by anyone and everyone, Valentine’s Day results in a cycle of mass production and consumption that overrides any true heartfelt emotion. February 14 and the days leading up to it are excessively laden with flowers, chocolates, hearts, gifts, dinners, promotions, and gimmicks that only remove the personal aspects of love from the equation. You and I, however, possess our own personal days in which we can relish in our love for each other — exclusive anniversaries that we have cultivated on our own accord, that we shall continue to cultivate throughout the rest of our lives.
SS: I concede that Valentine’s Day has commercial ramifications, but this isn’t a bad thing — certainly the chocolatiers and the florists would agree with me. If you find it impersonal to consume these things while celebrating your love, then celebrate Valentine’s Day without partaking in the commercial aspect; a romantic walk along the boardwalk, for instance, is not any less a celebration of love, or of Valentine’s Day, than buying chocolates or flowers. Our anniversaries are wonderful, but they are much like Valentine’s Day in that they are celebrations of us being together. How can you argue in favour of one and then not the other?
AG: There is a crucial difference between our anniversaries and Valentine’s Day — ours are completely genuine. We do not seek each other’s company on Valentine’s Day to escape a sense of vulnerable loneliness, simply to ‘Netflix and chill’ or to toss in a last-ditch effort at finding true love. Those applications of the holiday are stupid at best, consequentially harmful at worst.
SS: Those “applications” are not unique to Valentine’s Day, and you cannot vilify a holiday for the misfortunes of romance that happen everyday. Hopefully I have made some headway, because we have a reservation for 8:00 pm, and you’re going to like it.
AG: I’ll see you there, babe.