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Episode 22 Gimme All Your Love

November 24, 2011

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Words and Music Allen/Barratt
Produced by David Barratt at the Abattoir of Good Taste

Vocal and Guitar–William Thaumatrope
Ukulele and everything else–David Barratt

NARRATIVE

Anthropology is, in a way, stacked in favor of relationships between an older man and a younger woman: men tend to favor good-looking women as sexual partners; women tend to favor wealth status and power in a potential mate. Furthermore, as a man gets older and the realization of mortality kicks in sometime in the late 30s or early 40s, the thought of possessing the beauty of a young woman (a beauty that is celebrated in countless works of art) seems to carry with it the elixir of immortality. Indeed a young woman has a deeply poignant value to an older man that she perhaps did not possess in his youth, such that the woman herself might feel at her most desirable and loved. For these reasons, these are also relationships that countless works of literature and especially nineteenth-century opera valorize above all others.

So how can relationships that seem to provide a societal ideal of romantic love appear so tawdry? I have discussed Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo already in this blog, and the tawdriness that lurks just the other side of the romantic ideal when that ideal is merely an idealization and nothing more. So many operas require the young heroine to die (say of consumption) to guarantee immortality to idealization, lest it appear only skin deep. It is as if the very precariousness of this desire, the sense in which it is founded on an impossibility that defies questions of age and compatibility, renders it so romantic: the sense of wanting to have one’s cake and eat it too. But what is masked most of all in this romantic ideal is its fundamentally patriarchal character. It is constituted from the position of male authority and power even as the woman may seem an equal partner in the illusion.

Reality seems so prosaically far from the myth. We are treated these days to a seemingly unending spectacle of public men getting their rocks off with women young enough to be their daughters in varying stages of depravity from Woody Allen, to Morgan Freeman, to Bill Clinton, to Eliot Spitzer, to Silvio Berlusconi, to Dominique Strauss-Kahn.  Of course not all these cases are the same. Nonetheless, it is extraordinary how in the 21st century machismo is alive and well, and it seems, in Continental Europe at least, still believed in by large swathes of the population including women. There still exists a class of women for whom a certain kind of behavior in powerful males seems to be accepted, even indulged: boys will be boys. It reminds me of a line early on in A Touch of Mink (1962), where a woman who runs a charity for orphan children observes of Cary Grant who has just donated $200,000 to their cause that a man of such generous wealth is entitled to fill one of their vacant slots with the unwanted offspring of his own philandering.

Aside from the question of infidelity, which invariably helps to stage and fuel these relationships, what is wrong with them is that even where the woman wants it and/or the older man pays for it (and let’s be honest, the older man is nearly always paying for it one way or another), there is still, in most cases, a radical asymmetry in power and authority between the man and the woman. The young woman in such a situation may indeed be self-servingly manipulative, but such manipulation is a strategy of the weak and not the powerful, and issues from her subordinate status, as the case of DSK painfully attests. In other cases, she may indeed be deeply in love and this may be a wonderful thing, but the responsibility for that love is still not an equal one and, one suspects, neither is the love itself.

LYRIC

Can’t think can’t breathe
She’s got me down on my knees
It just ain’t right
But I want her loving tonight

My brain says no
This ain’t a good way to go
My gut says so
Why don’t you love her real slow?
Love her real slow

Gimme all your love and I’ll take more
I’m crazy girl for what you have in store
I’m ready to do what you want me to do
So why can’t I make love to you

I’m old she’s hot
She’s everything that I’m not
Live the dream, live the lie
I won’t be that kinda guy

My gut says so
Why don’t you love her real slow?
My brain says no
That ain’t a good way to go
Way to go

In my mind when we’re together
Time stands still in her embrace
And when it seems that it’s all over
She takes me to another place

If you give me all your love I’ll take more
I might be crazy girl but I’m out of the door
I ain’t ready to do what you want me to do
Why can’t I make love to you?

If you give me all your love it will end in tears
Dont’ wanna live to confirm my worst fears
I’m free to do what I want to do
That’s why I won’t make love to you

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From → Thaumatropemusic

One Comment
  1. Geoff permalink

    Hey, a good rock song. I love the drums. geoff

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