Saturday, February 14, 2009

Everyone Says I Love You

So my Encyclopedia of the Saints lists three St. Valentines, but one has a feast day in January so we can dump him right off the bat. Valentine of Rome was supposedly beheaded by Claudius in 269, while Valentine of Tierni was beheaded somewhere in the same temporal neighborhood, during the persecutions of the Emperor Aurellian (who ruled 270-275), indicating that the two may be the same guy. Neither would be particularly pleased to discover that their feast day is embodied by the pagan Greek deity of erotic love and beauty (who, per wikipedia, is either the son of Mars and Venus and known for his pranks and spreading love, or the child of Nyx (night) and Erebus (shadows) and known for his debauchery, or possibly both).

And we wonder why our holidays are so screwed up.

But that's nothing more than an excuse to embed this video of the four Marx Brothers (Groucho, Chico, Harpo, Zeppo) from their movie "Horse Feathers". The reed-thin plot of the movie is that Groucho is head of the college. Zeppo, his son (let us pause for a moment to reflect on the innate weirdness of that statement. OK, moving on), is on the football team, and they recruit icemen Harpo and Zeppo on football scholarships to win the big game. All four brothers romance the "college widow", Thelma Todd, over the course of the movie.

Anyway, each of the brothers in turn perform the song "Everyone Says I Love You", and it tells you about the brothers screen personas. Romantic lead Zeppo gets the straight version of the ballad, undercut by Harpo whistling to his beloved, followed by comical Chico (pronounced Chikk-o) using it to flirt, then a long beautiful harp solo by Harpo (that's what movies need these days - more harp solos). And finally sarcastic Groucho finishes it up with a caustic reflection on romance.

Here, enjoy. And happy Valentine's Day, whoever that is.

More later,