Hallmark, Cole Porter And George Gershwin Got It All Wrong

At 30 your world looks like a piece of ripe fruit. At 60 ripeness may seem more like mealiness. Is this the produce or us…?

Well, I hate to say it, but as I check the evidence in the lives I know, it’s pretty hard to agree with our great balladeer’s lacy lyrics about love being the ultimate emotion. For instance that delicious George Gershwin classic: “…In the end the Rockies may tumble, Gibraltar may tumble, They’re only made of clay, But our love is here to stay.” [Incidentally we have since learned these 1937 lyrics by his brother Ira were privately dedicated to George who tragically died just a short time later].

Love is a much used and abused word, squeezed through the mores of whatever time and place it’s being sung. Still, we are expected to believe it is the fulfillment of our humanity, be it with a man a woman a deity or variations in between. If you find love — as our heroes always do in the movie’s final clinch-scene — we can once more reassure ourselves this supremely intoxicating emotion trumps money, power, status, even evil.

But you see, if that were true, why then did the Romans crucify Jesus, the Popes impose the Inquisition, Henry VIII behead his ministers, and Hitler slaughter the Jews? Contrary to what we wish to believe, uncertainty is the more probable emotion you and I are left with throughout the triumphs and trials of our life. That restless sense of unease, even impending danger. If we have succeeded at something we harbor doubts about hanging on to it; and if we have failed, we throb with the threat we will do so again.

Functioning in an uncertain universe, uncertainty not love may be our most rock-deep and enduring emotion. Which is perhaps why we reluctantly become so involved with with arguably amoral anti-heroes like Raskolnikov, Holden Caulfield, Hannibal, Dexter Morgan, Ray Donovan and pretty much whatever Clint Eastwood is playing. We can secretly identify with their flamboyant amorality, but still attend the local PTA meetings.

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