ISMISM New concepts for the Nineties

No. 26: calendarism

Share
Calendarism: an eruptive disease characterised by the spontaneous appearance of spurious feast days. Similar to anniversitis, an inflammation of the commemorative glands, calendarism is believed by some authorities to be a response to the increasing secularisation of British society, a social development that erased from pocket diaries the italic register of church feasts and saints' days. In obedience to the First Law of Hype ("Publicity abhors a vacuum") new red letter days have evolved to fill the vacant space.

Sunday, 23 July, the Seventh Sunday after Pentecost, now also marks the inception of National Ice Cream Week (the Feast of the Consumption) and serves as Disability Awareness Day. St Dominic's Day, 4 August, has become merely a curtain raiser to National Condom Week, which begins three days later and during which the congregation is invited to reflect on the sacramental meaning of tautly-stretched latex. Yesterday was the fourth annual "Bog Day", a date set aside for the offering up of prayers for the world's endangered peat wetlands. Today marks the beginning of Spina Bifida Week. And we still have National Thomas Day (12 August) and National Left-Handers Day (13 August) to endure.

Some epidemiologists argue that the current virulence of the disease (the lesions have spread to every area of the calendar but for those colonised by the most tenacious public holidays) is a result of an unhappy combination of two relatively innocuous conditions - the desire of special interest groups for media attention and the debilitating addiction of newspapers and broadcasters for "topicality". Finding that supplies of official anniversaries were running dry, the better-adapted special interest groups began to produce their own.

The symptoms vary considerably in severity. Some outbreaks reach epidemic, even pandemic, proportions, while others will pass entirely unnoticed by the general population, remaining inactive and dormant in the events diaries of major news organisations.

National No Spitting Day (7 November), for example, is known to have affected only one person - Mrs Anne Billet, founder member and life president of the British Anti-Expectoration League. Others have had a striking effect on national culture: Red Nose Day now threatens to oust frailer native organisms such as Princess Alexandra's Rose Day. The disease is highly opportunistic, taking advantage of the enfeebled editorial vigour of its carriers. All organs of the press are susceptible; the Today radio programme has been identified as a particularly dangerous vector of infection, above all during the summer months when its immune system is weakened by a drop in MP antibodies.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Technical Author / Multimedia Writer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This recognized leader in providing software s...

Recruitment Genius: Clinical Lead / RGN

£40000 - £42000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: IT Sales Consultant

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT support company has a n...

Recruitment Genius: Works Engineer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A works engineer is required in a progressive ...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

An unelectable extremist who hijacked their party has already served as prime minister – her name was Margaret Thatcher

Jacques Peretti
 

I don't blame parents who move to get their child into a good school

Chris Blackhurst
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent