Thursday, February 14, 2008

On this day

Loyal blogreaders know that a daily feature of IntLawGrrls is a survey of past events on the day at hand. Now that we've completed a full-year's cycle, we continue the feature under a new name, "On this day." Each day the text beneath this title will begin by stating the date in hand -- and that date will be hyperlinked so that you can look back and see what historical nuggets we unearthed last year. Then it'll proceed to offer a couple more.
So here goes:

On February 14, ...
... 2008 (today), a chunk of the world celebrates Valentine's Day. For some the day marks the martyrdom of St. Valentine, a name shared by at least 3 individuals. Its association with lovemaking seems as much as anything a matter of timing:

The popular customs associated with Saint Valentine's Day undoubtedly had their origin in a conventional belief generally received in England and France during the Middle Ages, that on 14 February, i.e. half way through the second month of the year, the birds began to pair. Thus in Chaucer's Parliament of Foules we read:

For this was sent on Seynt Valentyne's day
Whan every foul cometh ther to choose his mate.

... 1962, 3 out of 4 U.S. households tuned into to the 1st ever televised tour of the White House, conducted by 1st Lady Jacqueline Kennedy. Video of her walkthrough of artworks and antiques in the Presidential mansion is here. As noted on the website of the Chicago-based Museum of Broadcast Communication, the program

then moved on to syndication in more than fifty countries around the globe. In all, it was estimated that hundreds of millions of people saw the program, making it the most widely viewed documentary during the genre's so called golden age. But the White House tour is also notable because it marked a shift in network news strategies, since it was the first primetime documentary to explicitly court a female audience.

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