Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Why is a pancake unlike a marriage?

Yesterday, in the UK and other countries, was Pancake Day, a secular celebration of the tastiness of pancakes.

It was also, of course, Shrove Tuesday, the last date in the Christian Calendar before the start of Lent. Traditionally, pancakes would be eaten to use up stocks of rich foods before the start of Lent fasting and repentance.

The secular co-option of the fun bits of the tradition in a way that almost entirely inverts the point of the tradition is not unique to this particular event, of course, but I wasn't able to find anyone anywhere complaining that the celebration of Pancake Day was taking away from the meaning and seriousness of Shrove Tuesday and Lent.

Meanwhile, the usual forces of Christianity-excused heterosexism were campaigning strongly that their particular current definition of marriage should be the only legally-supported and state-recognised one, on the grounds that allowing other definitions - even trivial amendments which entirely retain the stated1 point of the tradition - would weaken their own.

It's an interesting contrast.


1 There are arguably certain points - more common historically - regarding the control of women which same-sex marriage would subvert, of course. But they will deny if asked that this is the particular point that would be weakened.