Ichabod's Kin
A place for politics, pop culture, and social issues

What’s Love Got to Do with It?

Author: Bagande

Image via Wikipedia

Think of Tina Turner’s hit song: “What’s love, what’s love, got-to-do, got-to-do with it…”

Cometh Valentine’s Day, and storefronts are sick with every shade of red. Gosh, we’re a loving people. You can tell from our music, literature, rhetoric and scriptures. We sing and rhapodize about it, and look for it in all the wrong places. Tons of money is spent for perishable blooms and with confections that give to lovers what they want least: more weight.

Love is common but a mystery; can hurt as much as it heals and bring as much pain as pleasure. It’s hard to predict but guaranteed to happen, yet isn’t guaranteed to last: just ask wealthy divorce lawyers. There are loves long and brief, and the sole difference between them is longevity or the lack thereof.

“Puppy love,” so-called, is said to be no love at all, perhaps an illusion, which is terribly unfair to the young; their love is real but comes at a time without benefit of experience and maturity, but felt nonetheless. Puppy love is love, and should be so honored. I had it, and a damn bad case it was.

Speaking of puppies, what about animals, especially family pets–our love for a different species, but the companionship and mutual affection are real and powerful. They comfort and save us from loneliness and are among the truest of our objects of endearment. Unlike humans, they are less affected and hurt by our overprotection, spoiling and co-dependence. Such a deal.

Perhaps most unreal is adult human love, ruined by over-romanticization and generalities that touch our emotions but are highly unrealistic. We say that if it sounds and feels good, then do it, even get married on it, believing it is both good and true. But one wag has suggested that getting hitched while “in love” (or lust) is like getting married while drunk.

The troubadours, by means of a lethally effective combo of art, poetry and song spoke out for love in individual people. Before that, love and marriage were arranged, in the name of custom, convenience and family, which often resulted in bonds of deep love. Indeed, love can be arranged, and history is testament to that.

When love became democratic it meant we preferred to come to it by choice or, as we say, by the call of our hearts. Yet it is no more functional and workable and lasting than love arranged. In our free society, over one-half of marriages do not last because romantic love doesn’t tend to last.

So, in our freedom, we are the ones who find love and lose it, honor and dishonor it, respect and disrespect it, nurture and starve it. And not because it was arranged for us, for it is now our way in love that we give ourselves to each other, and take ourselves away.

So now love is a challenge for even the closest of lovers, let alone those who aren’t. It is what some religion calls the highest but most challenging of all, the love of the extraordinary, those with whom there is little or nothing in common, and values and customs are separated by differences: people hard to love, even unlovable, to our minds. After all, it is clear that most people love and marry those who are most like them.

Love of the extraordinary is not easy, and those who do it are extraordinary themselves, though we often have unflattering names for them and the objects of their affection. Think of the labels you have and use for whoever you don’t like–other races, nationalities, social classes and sexual natures.

American history is one of early dislike, even hatred, for Asians, blacks and Jews, and later for Mexicans, as well as gays and lesbians. Mention transgendered persons today and most people don’t even wanna go there. Muslims are on our latest shit-list; we’ll put up with just about anybody and everybody before we’ll abide them or the presence of a mosque. Who’ll be next?

Christmas is the centerpiece of our biggest holiday season, when we sit patiently for obligatory readings of Isaiah’s vision of universal brotherhood–the hope that “all nations” will come together, in peace, at one place. But each religion wants that to happen at its holy place and not someone else’s. Yet each claims to believe in love and brotherhood, but insists that all the others agree with them just how this should come about.

One of the oldest love stories is about a young woman whose mother made a potion to cause the daughter to fall in love with the king whom she was arranged to marry. As luck would have it, her lowly escort ingested it and all hell broke loose. Tristan and Isolde aside, it might be nice were there a potion for the world’s people and all of us would drink it.

Right now, love doesn’t seem to work and has little to do with it.

Or, okay, so prove me wrong.

One Response to “What’s Love Got to Do with It?”

  1. Each paragraph explodes like fireworks – new slants on the same theme.

    I won’t try to explain love in less than a fifty kazillion words. But, I agree: puppy love was ENORMOUS. JUST HUGE.

    Thanks for taking the time to make us smile.

    Ohhh, and lust-love! Whoa! That was something else too. Another kazillion words required/ Whoa! Send picture of boat.

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