MODERATOR: Thank you all for being here. The subject of love is discussed more than any other theme in literature, theater, film and music. To debate its intrinsic meaning, and hopefully answer that age old question “What is love?”, we have two experts in the field. On one side we have the self-proclaimed “Free Encyclopedia,” Wikipedia, and on the other side we have Nestor Alexander Haddaway, whom Wikipedia describes as a Eurodance artist famous for his worldwide 1993 hit, “What is Love.” Welcome gentlemen.
WIKIPEDIA: Thank you, it’s great to be here.
HADDAWAY: Likewise. I look forward to our discussion.
MODERATOR: We will begin with each debater stating their position on the query, “What is love?” Following that, we will allow separate cross examinations and conclude with final statements from each debater. The audience will decide the winner. Wikipedia, please begin.
WIKIPEDIA: Thank you moderator. The word “love” can have a variety of related but distinct meanings in different contexts. Often, other languages use multiple words and cultural differences in conceptualizing love thus making it doubly difficult to establish any universal definition. And although the nature or essence of love is a subject of frequent debate — obviously [laughs] — different aspects of the word can be clarified by determining what isn’t love. As a general expression of positive sentiment, say a stronger form of like, love is commonly contrasted with hate as a less sexual and more emotionally intimate form of romantic attachment; and as an interpersonal relationship with romantic overtones, love is sometimes contrasted with friendship, although the word love is often applied to close friendships. In summation, love may be understood as part of the survival instinct, a function to keep human beings together against menaces and to facilitate the continuation of the species. [Light applause from audience]
MODERATER: Eloquently put, Wikipedia. You certainly made a strong case. Haddaway, please enlighten us.
HADDAWAY: Thank you moderator. That all sounded very nice, but how many of you all out there have been in love? [Scattered hands raise] —
MODERATOR: Haddaway, please refrain from involving the audience, this is a one-on-one debate.
HADDAWAY: Apologies, moderator. Anyways, to me, love ain’t about a bunch of words and it certainly ain’t about survival of a species. For me, and remember I did write the song “What is Love” [Someone screams “Baby don’t hurt me” from the audience] —
MODERATOR: Decorum! Please, decorum!
HADDAWAY: Exactly. Love is a visceral response. It can hurt. It can please. It can make you do things that are right and things that are wrong. Love is both a sword and a salve. It can wound and it can heal. Love is not wanting to be hurt, but knowing that it could happen. Love is dangerous. Love is an open vest and a bare chest. Love is a nightclub with a synthesizer playing the same chords over and over again. Love is a back-up singer in a lycra unitard singing “whoa-oh-ah-oh” in a strained voice. Love is a music video that might be about vampires but is probably just a cocaine fever. Love is a 1993 hit song that reached number 11 on the Billboard Hot 100. [Enthusiastic applause, whistles and screams from the audience.]
MODERATOR: Well… we could not have more opposite viewpoints. This is exciting. To confirm, Haddaway, you are saying that love is —
HADDAWAY: Electronic music —
MODERATOR: Okay thanks for —
HADDAWAY: — preferably played in a packed nightclub with minimal lighting and maximum dancing. [Strong applause]
MODERATOR: Thank you. We will now proceed to the cross-examinations. Haddaway, you have the floor first.
HADDAWAY: Wikipedia, you seem a little lonely over there — how you doin’?
WIKIPEDIA: Excellent. I am such a fan of your work. I also enjoy the “Roxbury Guys” sketches on the NBC program Saturday Night Live. They are very funny.
HADDAWAY: Thanks but what do you know about love?
WIKIPEDIA: As I said previously, love is an emotion of strong affection and personal attachment —
HADDAWAY: You ever do it with a girl in the bushes because you just couldn’t wait to get home after the club and there just happened to be some bushes around? [Audience gasps]
WIKIPEDIA: No. No I haven’t.
HADDAWAY: You ever been in love, Wikipedia?
WIKIPEDIA: [Deliberate pause] No. No I haven’t. [More audience gasps]
HADDAWAY: I rest my case your honor.
MODERATOR: Very interesting strategy Haddaway. Wikipedia, you may now proceed with your cross-examination.
WIKIPEDIA: Haddaway, after you released your first eponymous record on November 23, 1993 with Arista Records — can you name your following albums?
HADDAWAY: Of course. After that was The Drive, then I had Let’s Do It Now, then My Face then… hold on. After My Face I did… I… I don’t remember. [Audience gasps]
WIKIPEDIA: On July 2, 2002, you released the album Love Makes. Does that ring a bell now?
HADDAWAY: Yes… yes it does. Your honor, is this allowed? This is character assassination…!
MODERATOR: Agreed. Wikipedia, please arrive at your point.
WIKIPEDIA: This man standing before us is a sham. How can we believe that he knows what love is when he doesn’t know what Love Makes? [Audience groans “ohhh”] Secondly, in 2008 the song “What is Love” was featured in a Pepsi commercial. [Audience screams of horror] Does love come in a fizzy can? Does it last 30 seconds? I rest my case.
MODERATOR: Everyone please quiet down! There must be decorum. Final statements please. Wikipedia?
WIKIPEDIA: To reiterate, love may be understood as part of the survival instinct, a function to keep human beings together against menaces and to facilitate the continuation of the species. People with developmental disorders may have a limited or minimal capability of experiencing love… [Audience grows hushed, boos] I mean… sorry let me start over, that was out of context… biological models of love tend to see it as a mammalian drive, similar to hunger or thirst… no wait, I meant to say, Kamadeva is often pictured holding a bow of sugar cane and an arrow of flowers; he may ride upon a great parrot… [More boos from audience]
MODERATOR: I think that’s enough, your time is up. Okay —
WIKIPEDIA: — sexually transmitted diseases can cause, among other effects, permanently reduced fertility.
MODERATOR. That’s completely off-topic Wikipedia! Please don’t make me disqualify you. Haddaway, go ahead.
HADDAWAY: I’m going to keep this short. To quote a musician friend of mine, “Yellow diamonds in the light/And we’re standing side by side/As your shadow crosses mine/What it takes to come alive.” Do you know what she was talking about? Love. And synthesizers. And hypnotic break-beats. And dancing and bright lights and more dancing. Did you ever think you’d find love in a debate room? You probably thought it was hopeless — but now — we found love. This is love.
[Haddaway throws switch and the house lights are replaced by strobe lights, a turntable emerges from his podium and Rihanna’s “We Found Love” starts playing. Everyone dances, even Wikipedia.]