Momma Mia

JibJab Media Inc., a digital entertainment studio born in a Brooklyn basement in 1999 was fathered by brothers Evan and Gregg Spiridellis. Today, it operates in Los Angeles and its 35 employees work to bring its brand of political satire, sendable eCards and viral videos to those Internet users in search of the company’s unique creative sensibilities and accompanying sense of humor.

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Nearly one week before Mother’s Day (which in the United States occurs today, this Second Sunday of May) I received an email from JibJab anticipating my Mother’s Day participation. “New Mother’s Day e-Cards” read the subject line. I demonstrated my interest in JibJab’s e-offerings by clicking; revealing the following text:

“Pay tribute to mom, and make her laugh in the process! With Mother’s Day coming up this Sunday, our majorly matriarchal eCards will bring a smile to her face!!

It was the “majorly matriarchal” description that caused me to focus further on JibJab’s e-offerings. I spent a few minutes exploring the execution of JibJab’s promise — eCards that were “majorly matriarchal.”

But there was another reason my click rate increased. JibJab had isolated one of my constants; that I like to make my mother laugh. Put another way — My mother’s happiness, especially when I am its source, brings me satisfaction — Self-serving, but true.

The modern Mother's Day holiday was created by Anna Jarvis on May 12, 1907, two years after her mother's death. Jarvis held a memorial to her mother and thereafter embarked upon a campaign to make "Mother's Day" a recognized holiday. She succeeded in making it nationally recognized within the United States in 1914.

Anna Jarvis grew to despise what the holiday became. “She hated the way candy shops and greeting card companies commercialized the day. Prices for carnations skyrocketed during the holiday. Jarvis verbally attacked the florists for raising the price of carnations,” says Bringhurst Funeral Home’s description of Jarvis. Bringhurst is a funeral home whose services one can encounter at Jarvis’ final earthly resting place — Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania’s West Laurel Hill Cemetery; which borders the western edge of Philadelphia.

One of the things history affords us is the opportunity to assess the present utilizing the framework of the past. Presently, companies like JibJab, Inc. seek creative success and monetary reward by drawing upon a 20th century development credited to Anna Jarvis. While JibJab.com looks to the past, thereby summoning Jarvis’ ghost, I conclude by clicking, that this year, I will pay tribute to my majorly matriarchal mother by declining JibJab’s assistance and declaring this 21st century fact: The Internet can be a means to a non-commercial end; an end I propose would have won Jarvis’ endorsement.

Happy Mother’s Day Mom.