THE INTERNET MONK SATURDAY BRUNCH
”It is talk-compelling. It puts you in a good temper, it makes you satisfied with yourself and your fellow beings, it sweeps away the worries and cobwebs of the week.”
Mother’s Day and brunch — they just belong together, don’t they? Well, our gastronomic and consumeristic observances of the holiday today may miss the point of the original Mother’s Day, according to an article at National Geographic from 2014, marking the 100th anniversary of the commemoration.
As Mother’s Day turns 100 this year, it’s known mostly as a time for brunches, gifts, cards, and general outpourings of love and appreciation.
But the holiday has more somber roots: It was founded for mourning women to remember fallen soldiers and work for peace. And when the holiday went commercial, its greatest champion, Anna Jarvis, gave everything to fight it, dying penniless and broken in a sanitarium.
It all started in the 1850s, when West Virginia women’s organizer Ann Reeves Jarvis—Anna’s mother—held Mother’s Day work clubs to improve sanitary conditions and try to lower infant mortality by fighting disease and curbing milk contamination, according to historian Katharine Antolini of West Virginia Wesleyan College. The groups also tended wounded soldiers from both sides during the U.S. Civil War from 1861 to 1865.
In the postwar years Jarvis and other women organized Mother’s Friendship Day picnics and other events as pacifist strategies to unite former foes. Julia Ward Howe, for one—best known as the composer of “The Battle Hymn of the Republic”—issued a widely read “Mother’s Day Proclamation” in 1870, calling for women to take an active political role in promoting peace.
…Largely through Jarvis’s efforts, Mother’s Day came to be observed in a growing number of cities and states until U.S. President Woodrow Wilson officially set aside the second Sunday in May in 1914 for the holiday.
“For Jarvis it was a day where you’d go home to spend time with your mother and thank her for all that she did,” West Virginia Wesleyan’s Antolini, who wrote “Memorializing Motherhood: Anna Jarvis and the Defense of Her Mother’s Day” as her Ph.D. dissertation, said in a previous interview.
“It wasn’t to celebrate all mothers. It was to celebrate the best mother you’ve ever known—your mother—as a son or a daughter.” That’s why Jarvis stressed the singular “Mother’s Day,” rather than the plural “Mothers’ Day,” Antolini explained.
…Anna Jarvis’s idea of an intimate Mother’s Day quickly became a commercial gold mine centering on the buying and giving of flowers, candies, and greeting cards—a development that deeply disturbed Jarvis. She set about dedicating herself and her sizable inheritance to returning Mother’s Day to its reverent roots.
To mark this Mother’s Day weekend, here’s a video tribute to ten of the top TV moms who showed us the way (or not) from the small screen:
BEST COMMENCEMENT SPEECHES EVER
May is also the month when schools have commencement ceremonies to recognize their graduates and launch them into the world.
NPR has put together a site with a hand-picked selection of over 350 commencement addresses, going back to 1774, which you can search by name, school, date or theme. You can also randomly scroll through some of the most memorable quotes from the speeches. Here are a few:
OPEN TABLE TOPIC OF THE DAY: GIVING UP THE “FRIGHTFUL FIVE”
In the NY Times Tech section, Farhad Manjoo is fretting the power of the “frightful five” in his life — Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google (Alphabet), and Microsoft.
This is the most glaring and underappreciated fact of internet-age capitalism: We are, all of us, in inescapable thrall to one of the handful of American technology companies that now dominate much of the global economy. I speak, of course, of my old friends the Frightful Five: Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Microsoft and Alphabet, the parent company of Google.
So he engaged in a thought experiment: “If an evil, tech-phobic monarch forced you to abandon each of the Frightful Five, in which order would you do so, and how much would your life deteriorate as a result?”
If you’d like to participate and answer this, you can go to his column and take the companion quiz. And of course, we’d like to hear how you respond to this game of choices.
OTHER QUESTIONS OF THE WEEK…
The mayor of an Italian village who proposed paying people €2,000 to move there has begged people to stop ringing him after thousands tried to take him up on his offer.
Daniele Galliano floated the idea on Facebook in a bid to encourage more people to live in Bormida, a hamlet of 394 in the mountainous region of Liguria in north-west Italy.
With the nearest major city – Genoa – more than 50 miles away, the village’s population has dwindled. Under mayor’s scheme, tenants would be paying as little as €12.50 a week in rent as part of a scheme to boost numbers.
But in just four days 17,000 people from around the world called the local council eager to find out more about the mayor’s offer. His Facebook post has been deleted and Galliano has insisted: ‘It was only a suggestion.’
…’The news has been reported incorrectly and reached a worldwide audience. Italy is a wonderful country but, like others, it is in an economic crisis. Thanks anyway for your interest.’
Oh man, and I was looking for an affordable way out of Trumplandia.
A FEW OTHER STRANGE STORIES FROM THE WEEK
FIGHTING BACK AGAINST “WEAPONIZED” CHURCH DISCIPLINE
In response to a new pastor, who led a top-down implementation of change in this congregation from a traditional Baptist church to a neo-calvinist 9-Marks system, a group of folks in the church started a blog called The Sapulpa Messenger to warn others about these kinds of “takeovers” that threaten Baptist congregations.
Here is the video they produced to get people’s attention:
A MOVING TRIBUTE TO MOMS IN GOD’S CARE
Most sons send their mom a card or maybe some flowers for Mother’s Day. Film composer Stephen Edwards, a Catholic, wrote his mom a requiem Mass, complete with 50-voice children’s choir, a 100-voice adult choir and 50 musicians.
Oh, and he got it performed at the Vatican and it aired on Italian television.
This weekend, “Requiem for My Mother,” an hourlong documentary about Edwards, his mom and the staging of the requiem, airs on most PBS stations. Edwards, who is 55 and has scored dozens of films and television shows, talked with RNS about his mother, Rosalie, who died somewhat suddenly of ovarian cancer in 2006. He talked about how writing a requiem — a musical Mass for the dead — helped him both honor her and move beyond his grief.
I encourage you to go to the RNS piece and read about how writing a requiem — a musical Mass for the dead — helped Stephen Edwards honor his mother and process his grief. HERE you can watch a trailer of the PBS presentation that will air on Mother’s Day.
For our musical selection today, we present the lovely “Pie Jesus” from Edward’s work. If you are remembering your mother today in the communion of God and all the saints, may the Spirit of comfort grant you and your family peace and hope.