herald

Wednesday 13 December 2017

Colette Fitzpatrick: Time to pay annual 'love tax'? Count me out this Valentine's

Happy couple on Valentune's Day
Happy couple on Valentune's Day
Cllr Laura McGonigle

Happy Single Awareness Day tomorrow. Well that's what Valentine's Day is for many - a reminder of the fact that you're not in a relationship.

An annual memo that your eggs are getting older and a bitchy comment that maybe you need to think about dropping a dress size.

Even if you're perfectly happy being single many will assume you hate it and that tomorrow night you're likely to be working your way through a tub of Haagen-Dazs and a bottle of vino de la collapso before drunk-dialling your ex.

gimmicky

For those of us in a relationship, we're expected to partake in declarations of love, communal swooning and public displays of affection. A slushy, mushy, collective, gimmicky, processed cheese equivalent of the real deal.

Valentine's Day now makes pawn shops look classy.

The way you actually stay in a fulfilling, long-term relationship surely, is showing love to each other every day in whatever little ways you each find meaningful. If you save it all up for one big day of the year, y'all are probably going to break up.

Valentine's Day screams at people that everyone has to have a 'soul mate' and one special person to 'complete' them.

I'll be steering clear of social media tomorrow.

Facebook has brought Valentines Day to a whole new red and pink level - pictures of oversized teddies, bouquets, heart-shaped cakes, cards, candles and editing your love life on your timeline to make it read like a Hollywood romcom?

The statement you're actually making is 'I lack attention'. Or "I don't believe in privacy so here's some snaps of us spoon feeding each other and kissing.'

Ironically, cybercheating is a thing now with Facebookcheating.com proving the theory that we seem to be less in love than ever before. (Remember that roses are red, violets are blue. If he's busy on Valentine's, the bit on the side is you).

mate

There also seems to be some lip service now paid to the idea that Valentine's Day is about all kinds of love, not just romantic love; that you should take this opportunity to express love to your friends and family.

While it's nice that a conscious effort has been made to correct the fact that many people will get left out tomorrow, it seems like it's just another attempt to get people to buy stuff.

Sort of like a Love Tax.

He was a saint, you know, Valentine. The holiday supposedly marks the day that "birds begin to pair", which is the day they choose their mate.

They can get their groove on, all they like. I'm just not spending €50 to mark it.

 

Online abuse isn't a niche problem, we must tackle keyboard warriors

If brevity is the soul of wit, the stingy character limit on Twitter would seem to mean that brevity is also the soul of outrageous and libellous online abuse. Especially for public figures. 

No surprise then that this week TD Pat Rabbitte called for the "selective targeting of public figures" to stop. He said the abuse certain politicians have been facing is "unacceptable".

Water charges seem to be the touch paper that's lit a recent bonfire of online abuse.

Fine Gael councillor Laura McGonigle faced death threats and vile and abusive language (including a call for her to be drowned in a bath of water) when she make a water charges comment. She also faced calls to be burned, comments on her appearance and had her mobile phone number published online.

There's no point in engaging with abusers like these. All you do is get involved in some sort of Twitter cage-fighting. Starving them is the way to go.

Stand up to the keyboard warriors, Twitter trolls and cyber stalkers by not engaging with them.

Sure, politics is public and all actions of politicians are subject to scrutiny - and so they should be.

But there's a difference between holding someone to account and cyberbullying. It's a particular problem for women.

A 2013 Pew Research survey revealed that 23pc of people aged 18 to 29 reported being stalked or harassed online - 70pc of these cases involved female victims.

Online harassment isn't freedom of speech and the abuse isn't a niche issue. It's behaviour that has real social, professional, personal and economic costs.

Surely we need the same sort of standards in online engagement as we demand from our politicians in, for example, the Dail chamber?

Fox must be throwing one hell of a party  

No doubt there were a  lot of happy people at Fox News after it emerged that The Late Show's Jon Stewart is retiring.

From later this year Stewart won't be around keep in check a news station that, for example, recently carried comments that parts of Birmingham were no-go zones for non-Muslims. If you haven't seen it, Outfoxed - a documentary on Fox - is worth watching. It explores the channel's motto: Fair and Balanced. Guess what? That's not so true.

I SEE there was outrage this week when Hozier was referred to by some media outlets as British. Maybe they're doing a Daniel Day Lewis on it. The actor may live in Wicklow but was born and educated in Britain. Yet we often claim him as one of our own. In fact, we generally claim anyone with the loosest of lineage to Ireland as 'Irish' - think of all those American presidents and movie stars.

HAVE you noticed that Green Coke - aka 'Coca-Cola Life' - is everywhere? It's lower in calories than the original but not as low cal as Diet Coke. I guess the idea is that it's lighter or healthier. Ironically, research shows that diet drinks are bought more by overweight people than slimmer people. Most of the healthy and slim people that you see in the ads for so called healthier foods wouldn't dream of eating or drinking them. Instead, they opt for a nutritious diet with plenty of exercise.

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