My name is danah boyd and I'm a Principal Researcher at Microsoft Research, a Research Assistant Professor in Media, Culture, and Communication at New York University, and a Fellow at Harvard's Berkman Center for Internet and Society. Buzzwords in my world include: privacy, context, youth culture, social media, big data. I use this blog to express random thoughts about whatever I'm thinking.

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deth to roses, candy and Hallmark cards

I have never been a fan of Valentine’s Day. My resentment began in middle school when i was forced to get those awful miniature cards and craft an individual one for everyone in my class. Nothing helps me detest a holiday more than forced gifting and cards are the ultimate worst. As i grew older, i started justifying my disinterest – it’s what happens when all of my unrealistic romantic dreams crash head on with my anti-corporationalism. Valentine’s Day tarnishes my foolish fantasies and i resent things that get in the way of dream states.

In 1998, i had the opportunity to shift my expectation of Valentine’s Day. For me, it became V-Day and for five years, i spent this season preparing a production of “The Vagina Monologues” in some form or another. I was able to turn the corporate V-Day on its head and use the time to really think through masculinist hegemony. I was able to work with battered women, with women who had gone under the knife, with women fighting for their freedom. I was able to work towards my dream state of a life without violence. This is the first season that i’m not attending a V-Day and it makes me truly sad. Unfortunately, my only excuse is my current state of hibernation and need to work.

This morning, i awoke to NPR as always. I should’ve known better because there’s nothing like a Valentine’s Day special to make me dive deeper under the covers. But there was something disturbing about it that me unable to turn it off. The discussants each wrote a book about a different psychological / neurological aspect of ‘love’. I love science and i love scientific analyses of emotional states, but now the attack of my dream state was coming in two directions – attack on my fantasy and attack on my sleep explicitly.

It’s funny – i definitely believe in the pursuit of knowledge and i definitely realize that much of my fantasies are complete social constructions. But i don’t want to give them up to the sterility of science even though i love science. I don’t actually want to be rational about everything – i want passion (however hormonally manifested) to drive me in at least some ways. Instead, my day began with the nice scientists telling me that falling in love is simply a rush of hormones and love is simply the state you reach when two people have managed to balance each other’s hormones in a positively cyclical fashion. I don’t want to think about the hormones – i want to feel them. So, instead, i buried deeper into the covers.

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4 comments to deth to roses, candy and Hallmark cards

  • bah. This is exactly why I left science. Certainly there are exceptions to this, but by and large science has a way of turning magical and mysterious things into something – to borrow a phrase from my friend Scott – “slightly less exciting then watching dry paint (not paint dry, but actually looking at paint that is already dry).”

    Love is not “merely” co-mingling of hormones any more than the universe is “merely” a bunch of quarks. Speaking as a recalcitrant cynic and curmudgeon, one who wholeheartedly subscribes to the andy warhol philosophy of love (“love and sex are business”), and one whose hopes/dreams/fantasies of love have been continually dashed/disappointed/let down (including quite recently!) – somehow, through it all – faith yet remains in love. I can’t explain why and it rather confounds me as it would be sort of convenient to just give up on it altogether, but still… I’m open. Don’t know why. :) I guess… the world is big, and time is long. If there’s anyone else out there who happens to fall into the pragmatic yet spontaneous, intensively immersive yet intensely independent, committed yet non-monogamous, non-clingy yet total hopeless romantic category… surely I might collide with them? If not in this universe, perhaps a parallel one? It shouldn’t be a comforting thought, yet it is somehow. YMMV. ;)

  • Erica

    The real challenge is to learn how to balance the right amount of reason – to deal with the material world, and the right amount of passion/love/magic/mystery. One is not taught that, but learns by him/hersefl, everyday, litlle by little. Some even say we never learn until the end. We need science and we need reason, but we so need passion and mystery

  • Erica

    The real challenge is to learn how to balance the right amount of reason – to deal with the material world, and the right amount of passion/love/magic/mystery to deal with “the rest”. One is not taught that, but learns by him/hersefl, everyday, litlle by little. Some even say we never learn until the end. We need science and we need reason, but we also need passion and mystery

  • Muito legal o seu o seu diario!!! Eu faço Enfermagem na Univercidade Paulista do Brasil- Pretendo fazer mestrado em oncologia em cuba e futuramente trabalhar nos EUA. Pois dizem que mercado de trabalho nesta área e muito boa!!

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