“The Game of Love”

All is dolorous this morning: the world is going to hell, I’m cranky, Matthew is cranky, I have no duck, I can’t eat food today, and so on. As the old joke “Jewish telegram” goes: start worrying: details follow. So, to cheer myself up, I’m posting this song, written by Gregg Alexander and Rick Nowels and featuring Michelle Branch on vocals and Santana on guitar. It was a huge hit in September and October of 2002 (15 years ago!), and shows that good music is still being made in this millennium, even if it requires the help of old folks. I heard it on my iPod while walking to work this morning, and it put a spring in my step.

Branch’s voice is off a bit, but that’s compensated by Santana’s licks on the guitar, including a terrific solo. Note how well he accompanies the vocals, too.

I quote Adam Gopnik from the New Yorker* (my emphasis):

If atheists underestimate the fudginess in faith, believers underestimate the soupiness of doubt. My own favorite atheist blogger, Jerry Coyne, the University of Chicago evolutionary biologist, regularly offers unanswerable philippics against the idiocies of intelligent design. But a historian looking at his blog years from now would note that he varies the philippics with a tender stream of images of cats—into whose limited cognition, this dog-lover notes, he projects intelligence and personality quite as blithely as his enemies project design into seashells—and samples of old Motown songs. The articulation of humanism demands something humane, and its signal is disproportionate pleasure placed in some frankly irrational love.

What he means, of course, is “atheism is like religion, too.” But what he doesn’t realize is that preferences for things like cats and Motown songs are not—and cannot be—irrational. They are preferences, which are not subject to the strictures of rationality. Now if I thought that Michelle Branch loved me back, that would be irrational.

Isn’t it curious that those who are soft on religion, or believers themselves, denigrate science and atheism by saying “it’s just like religion.” Don’t they realize that by saying that they’re denigrating religion?

______

*See rebuttal by Isaac Chotiner in the New Republic

24 Comments

  1. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted October 9, 2017 at 6:07 am | Permalink

    That’s funny, I was just yesterday thinking of Gopnik for a random fleeting moment while pondering a comestible – and then I read about his favorable words for PCC(E) …

  2. Andy Lowry
    Posted October 9, 2017 at 6:17 am | Permalink

    I thought he was being funny. He was being serious? I don’t know that I’ve read any of his stuff, so maybe I guessed wrong.

  3. Posted October 9, 2017 at 6:29 am | Permalink

    I prefer the Ike & Tina Turner song of the same name:

  4. Posted October 9, 2017 at 6:33 am | Permalink

    Come on – someone in Chicago give PCC[E] a hug for goodness sake! 🙂

  5. BobTerrace
    Posted October 9, 2017 at 6:33 am | Permalink

    The articulation of humanism demands something humane,

    Supreme Deepity !

    Of course it does! That is what it is all about. The word is right in there.

  6. Posted October 9, 2017 at 6:37 am | Permalink

    “strictures of rationality” – things can be internally rational yet with increased knowledge turn out to be irrational. Is a fear of spiders rational, as in some places they are dangerous, venomous? Or is it irrational as in some places they are harmless to us?

  7. Randy schenck
    Posted October 9, 2017 at 6:44 am | Permalink

    I know I’m out of it when the only name I recognize is Santana. Don’t know if they are denigrating religion any more than it already is but it denigrates atheists saying just like religion.

    By the way, the list for rock and roll hall of fame is out and Dire Straits finally is on this list. Also Moody Blues.

    • Randy schenck
      Posted October 9, 2017 at 6:53 am | Permalink

      Oh, I would say go over and vote but only if you are voting for these groups among you 5 selections.

  8. Posted October 9, 2017 at 7:27 am | Permalink

    Always liked Gregg Alexander’s “You Get What You Give”.

    Love a bit of Santana, who is part of a triumvirate of rock acts that helps me remember the protagonists at the Alamo: Santana (Santa Anna), Travis (William B. Travis) and David Bowie (James Bowie).

    There was also a Welsh indie band called The Crocketts, but sadly they never achieved sufficient fame for me to include them in this aide-memoire.

  9. Michieux
    Posted October 9, 2017 at 8:15 am | Permalink

    Ike and Tina by a country mile. The first one would be great, if it weren’t for the “vocalist”.

    I greet each day with the question Dorothy Parker is quoted as asking, “What fresh hell can this be?”

  10. Frank
    Posted October 9, 2017 at 8:29 am | Permalink

    Interestingly the original Game of Love was recorded with Tina Turner on vocals, not Branch. But, as is often the case in an ageist industry, the record company wanted a younger, hip name. This was apparently against Santana’s wishes and he finally released the first recording five years later. I think it’s far superior and you can hear it here…

    • Posted October 9, 2017 at 8:32 am | Permalink

      I had no idea; that’s really good. I still like the recording with Branch better, though.

    • Cate Plys
      Posted October 9, 2017 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

      Wow, I was just going to thank PCEE for posting this song–I’ve always felt like it was a guilty pleasure song because somehow Michelle Branch made it feel like a pop song for kids that I liked anyway. I love Tina’s version. I won’t stop listening to the Branch version, because there’s no reason to choose. But I may listen to Tina’s more, admittedly.

  11. Posted October 9, 2017 at 8:32 am | Permalink

    Why can’t you eat food today; getting a colonoscopy? That’s enough to totally ruin your day right there.

  12. eric
    Posted October 9, 2017 at 9:59 am | Permalink

    its signal is disproportionate pleasure placed in some frankly irrational love.

    Don’t religious defenders ever consider that maybe comparing religion to personal preferences undermines the very concept they’re trying to defend?

    I mean look, I spend some Sundays watching football. I stand up. I sit down. I cheer. I chant. Now if some believer wants to argue that I’m behaving just like them, that I have my Sunday ritual event too and thus my nonbelief is in the same boat as their belief, I’ll acknowledge that the ritual conduct has a lot of similarities. But IMO that comparison trivializes and denigrates religion, it doesn’t trivialize the watching of football. Football watching was already trivial.

  13. Liz
    Posted October 9, 2017 at 10:26 am | Permalink

    Good song. Santana has a calming type of sound. There is a different song called “Game of Love” by The Mindbenders and it makes me think about how love is actually not a game. I don’t know what it is but it’s not as much of a game as it is something else. On a different note, I don’t think atheism is like religion. I’m very hard on religion and it’s not the same for atheism. I haven’t asked too much but like to know how people came to be atheists. It’s interesting to me why people are religious or not. I initially thought Gopnik was trying to be kind. It was confusing at first.

  14. Posted October 9, 2017 at 10:32 am | Permalink

    Re “Isn’t it curious that those who are soft on religion, or believers themselves, denigrate science and atheism by saying “it’s just like religion.” Don’t they realize that by saying that they’re denigrating religion?” Uh, forgive them, they know not what they do?

    I have taken to calling Christian apologists “Christian spin doctors” as that is a more accurate label. But, just as there has been a “brain drain” in the clergy, there has also been a brain drain amongst the Christian spinning community. While the Internet has given voice to many new and interesting and erudite atheist voices, it has also given voice to more and more lame Christian spin doctors.

    What I find amazing is the lack of awareness and understanding of Christian history and dogma these people have, including former apologetics. Their lack of knowledge of scripture (“It is too in the Bible!”) is unassailable now so apparently they are exploring new wellsprings of ignorance. I have always been taught to respect an opponent, but it is getting harder and harder to do in this arena.

  15. Posted October 9, 2017 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

    Carlos Santana looks completely different in a Cleveland Indians uniform! 🙂

    • Diane G.
      Posted October 9, 2017 at 11:15 pm | Permalink

      Lol!

  16. chris moffatt
    Posted October 9, 2017 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

    “…images of cats—into whose limited cognition, this dog-lover notes, he projects intelligence and personality”

    Cats don’t have intelligence and personality? That is so wrong it isn’t even wrong! Clearly this arrogant narcissist has never lived with a cat and knows nothing, less than nothing, of them. He doesn’t know much about dogs either, I’d bet.

    “The articulation of humanism demands something humane, and its signal is disproportionate pleasure placed in some frankly irrational love.” – Word salad. Does he get paid for this shite?

  17. Ken Kukec
    Posted October 9, 2017 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

    Nice tune.

    I love Carlos Santana. Sure, he can spout some inane spiritual nonsense from time to time. But he seems like a genuine mensch. And dude can play!

  18. Vaal
    Posted October 9, 2017 at 7:53 pm | Permalink

    I love all types of music and rarely hate on any musician…but!….IMO…every single time I ever see Santana play I’m immediately struck by how over-rated his is as a “guitar God”

    Yes he has his distinctive sound and style – and that is a lot in of itself in the music business. It’s pleasant enough in short amounts.

    But simply on a technical level he strikes me as if he’s still learning how to play guitar. There is a bigginner’s cramped stiffness and lack of fluidity to his playing. And also, a fairly random sense of rhythm to boot. He gets far more out of just tone and bending a few notes forever.

    It’s the same kind of limited facility on the guitar that so many pop and rock guitarists showed in the late 60’s into early 70’s, when guitar gods were being forged and we were seeing more achingly extended guitar solos.

    For me Santana’s obvious limitations tends to impart a monotony to his soloing that I can’t get past.


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