Monday, April 04, 2011

"What more in the name of love?"

The Song: "Pride," Nouvelle Vague. Words & music by Adam Clayton, Paul Hewson, Larry Mullen, & David Evans (U2). Track 11, Disk 2 of Best of Nouvelle Vague (Limited Edition), 2010.
When/how acquired: Gift CD, 2010.
Listen here.

"Nouvelle Vague" means "New Wave," and this French group specializes in bossa nova ("new wave" in Portuguese) arrangements of 1980s classics. A little precious? Maybe, but I love them, and was delighted to get this CD last Christmas from the friend who'd originally turned me on to them.

It's the only version of this song I own, because — and this might surprise even people who know me well — I am not a particular fan of U2. I've seen them live (once), and The Joshua Tree will always be part of my personal soundtrack of 1987, but I never loved them as much as I felt I was supposed to.

That said, this is a great song. It commemorates the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., 43 years ago today. My twin sister Kathy and I were not even two and a half when Dr. King was assassinated, but my earliest memories come from that time. I just don't know what I actually remember, and what are confabulations from stories I heard later.

Easter 1968 fell on April 14, ten days after Dr. King's assassination. I know I remember that Easter: my new blue coat, which I loved; my hat, which was not as pretty as Kathy's; and my shiny patent leather shoes, which pinched.

The big event of that Easter, though, was that we got a puppy, a German Shepherd/Alaskan husky mix. My mother called him Boyfriend, because he would be her company while our father was at sea. She was two months pregnant with what would turn out to be my sisters Peggy and Susan.

I wish so hard that Mom was still alive — for so many reasons, but I wish I had asked her more about that time. Did she know she was pregnant when Dr. King was assassinated? Was she afraid, alone in a working-class neighborhood in Norfolk? Was that why Daddy bought the puppy?

It would be good to think that the world is a better place, 43 years after Dr. King's assassination. But this weekend brought news of Americans killed in retaliation for an American cult's burning of the Koran, and of the murder of a Catholic police officer in Northern Ireland. People are still killing each other in the name of love, and the thought of that makes me feel very sick, and very tired.

Dr. King would be 82 if he were alive today.

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