David Bowie’s Under Pressure and the Challenge of Love

david-bowie-zoolanderAs much as I loved David Bowie’s role as Cultural Icon David Bowie in Zoolander and would have enjoyed seeing him do a cameo in Guardians of the Galaxy 2, David Bowie’s collaboration with Queen in Under Pressure is one of the most influential songs I’ve ever heard and has remained in my all-time Top Ten for years now. It’s the ending that gets me.

In a cold, cold world, Bowie’s slowly rising voice at the end of the song define love and strife and struggle in a shared fashion that doesn’t so easily lend itself to platitudes and thoughts of ‘happily ever after’:

‘Cause love’s such an old-fashioned word
And love dares you to care for
The people on the edge of the night
And love dares you to change our way of
Caring about ourselves

And now it turns out that Alan Rickman passed away. Rickman was known for many roles, especially in Die Hard, but his turn as Professor Snape in the Harry Potter movies that teaches us about the sacrificial nature of love. Snape was rejected by the one girl he loved most, Lily Potter, and even though she chose his enemy James Potter, he never stopped loving her. He chose to be Potter’s supposedly great enemy in service of Lily. Part of Snape probably loathed himself as much as he loathed Potter. It was undoubtedly the hardest thing he had to do.

It is perhaps cold comfort to realize that desire cannot be negotiated. But that doesn’t mean that love comes naturally, whether it is romantic or not. It’s still work.

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