The curse of the marketer

Of all the saints there are only a few we celebrate. The few that people can make money off. Pure capitalism or religion doing what it does best.

St Valentine, the meaning of overpriced chocolates in heart shaped boxes, cuddly bears with sickly motifs and cards with messages that make any sane person want to vomit. Yes, it’s that time of year again. The first day in the New Year when companies try and part us with our hard earned cash.

But we can’t blame St Valentine. If someone thinks they can make money off someone’s name they will. St Patrick sells booze and St George sells nationalism. Commodities which combined on the same day would lead to rioting and lynch mobs.

Celebrities perform a similar function.

For those that are terminally single Valentines Day is especially depressing. The thought of trudging from restaurant to restaurant brandishing an ArmaLite AR10 A4 rifle pumping rounds of 7.62mm into the punters happy faces may seem a promising way to relieve the agony.

But wait. Who are the real victims here? Forced by convention into taking their other halves to a restaurant, paying over the odds for the privilege, they have unwittingly been suckered in to the system. We may blame the bankers for economic collapse but we are all part of it. Adhering to convention, doing what we’ve been told. Bankers were just better at it than the rest of us. Is that a crime?

No one likes being told what to do, but when we are convinced in to believing it is right, we obey without question. Automatons led by an invisible hand. So fluffy bears are sold, chocolates munched, and it’s all back to normal the following day. The icy stares and silence over the breakfast table.

There are however many other saints to choose from, with less, some with lesser vices. Get yourself a good hagiography. Flick through it and find one that takes your fancy. Celebrate their day in your own way.

There’s St Abanoub, St Anianus, St Congar, St Guthlac, St Josse, St Roger and St Waningus to name but a few. All aching to be taken out. But condemned to share their triumph with all the rest on All Saints Day. Go on, make their day, date a saint.

I for one, if I’m feeling a little religious, and on a Catholic bent will always opt for St Jude. St Jude, patron saint of lost causes.

Because, if I really can’t be bothered to celebrate, it doesn’t really matter.

In the words of Ambrose Bierce – ‘Saint n. A dead sinner revised and edited.'


  1. Interestingly, outside of the UK and the USA, Saints Days are celebrated by way of Name Days - that is, rather than receiving gifts on the anniversary of your birth, you receive them on the day of the saint you are named for (more research may be required to verify the specifics).

    I only learned of this having been involved with a Hungarian girl, who pointed out that my birthday and my name day are actually two days apart (Dec 4th and Dec 6th respectively).


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