Friday, February 09, 2007

Two sorry extremes

"Love means never having to say you're sorry," is an oft-quoted misquote from Erich Segal's Love Story script. [Apparently, the line, as written, was, "Love means not ever having to say you're sorry."] I wholeheartedly disagree. In some circumstances, a sincere apology can go a long way.

At some other times, apologizing constitutes talking loud and saying nothing. It is those instances - when it's better to keep one's sorries to oneself and, instead, straighten up and fly right - that three prominent artists have addressed in popular publications and performances.

Ntozake Shange published these lines (in 1977) and staged them (in 1992) in: For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow Is Enuf.

(Laurence Fishburne, as) Ike Turner, snarled, "Yeah, you sorry all right," before manhandling (Angela Bassett, as) his wife/performance partner Tina Turner, in a scene from the 1993 biopic, What's Love Got to Do With It? Ultimately, the universe prevailed to right that wrong; it was Ike who was sorry when Tina pulled the plug on that discordant situation.

More recently, Madonna sang these lyrics to "Sorry" (1995) (on her Confessions albums) and feigned some feisty fist- and foot-work to underscore her point.