TODAY, EVERY TIME you search for it, it’s the gift that keeps on giving.
Google celebrates Mother’s Day with a warm animated Doodle that bears multiple viewings. You could call it “Arms and the Mom.” Or ”Mother O’ Invention.”
Either way: Gee, it’s embraceable.
It may be Google’s best yet for the holiday — more open and inviting than the static single buds and bouquets of some years past. And because the Doodle’s pearls-wearing “G” receives simply a flower, it also rings as a historically fitting tribute, nearly a century after President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed Mother’s Day a national holiday in 1914.
That’s because the woman who led the push for the U.S. holiday, Anna Jarvis the younger, wanted the celebration marked by, and largely restricted to, the simple giving of flowers and other acts of understated thoughtfulness — “a day of sentiment, not profit.” (According to lore, Jarvis launched the wearing of white carnations to celebrate the day because it was her mother’s favorite type.)
Once Mother Day’s began to blossom into a full-on commercial gift-a-palooza, Jarvis was said to be mighty miffed. She regretted having spawned the holiday, and was arrested as she campaigned furiously to have the day abolished. (Too late, of course — the commercialization and overpriced brunches had taken root.)
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What today’s Doodle reminds us, too, is how poetically and poignantly motherhood has been celebrated in art. Is any iconic image in modern art quite as maternally nurturing to the eye as Mary Cassatt’s “The Child’s Bath” ? Or is any painter’s parent visually referenced as often as Whistler’s mother? (James Abbot McNeill Whistler gifted her with immortality when he painted 1871’s “Arrangement in Grey and Black No. 1.”)
When artists seek to conceive of that great idea — to summon that inspired seed of creation — somehow few things emerge quite as organically profound as the creation of life linked to motherhood.
Happy Mother’s Day to moms the world over — including those who inspire and nurture our art.
Comic Riffs’ TOP TEN ‘GOOGLE DOODLE’ ANIMATIONS EVER (*before today):
1. PAC-MAN: VIDEO-GAME GOOGLE
2. GOOGLE BALLS: THE MYSTERY DOODLE
3. JOHN LENNON: IMAGINE THIS DOODLE
4. MARTHA GRAHAM: THE DANCING DOODLE
5. FREDDIE MERCURY: THE MUSIC VIDEO
6. JIM HENSON: THE CLICKABLE MUPPETS
7. ART CLOKEY: THE “GUMBY DOODLE”
8. JULES VERNE: THE DEEP-SEA DOODLE
9. STANISLAW LEM: THE ANIMATED SCI-FI GAME
10. VALENTINE’S DAY: THE “COLD, COLD HEART” DOODLE
[TIME’S CONTROVERSIAL COVER: What do you think of the new attachment-parenting “breastfeeding” cover?]