Sometimes life is funny in its synchronicity. As anyone who knows me already knows, I am currently enrolled as a full-time college student, pursuing my bachelor’s degree. This semester, I am taking a class on gender studies. This is noteworthy because this past week, and for much of the semester, we have been discussing in that class non-binary genders and LGBTQ folks in that class. People who have one set of organs but feel inside like they belong to another gender, for one example, or people who were born with both sets of sex organs, for another, or homosexuals. It just so happens that this week’s focus for my U2 Vidworks article is on the video for “Love is Bigger Than Anything in its Way,” which focuses on non-binary and LGBTQ+ youths in Dublin, Ireland, where U2 is from. The video was directed by David Mushegain, a photographer whose name might be familiar to U2 fans as the man responsible for the images in the lyric video for “You’re the Best Thing About Me.”
I’ll be honest, when I first saw the video that Mushegain made for “Love is Bigger Than Anything in its Way,” I didn’t know quite what to think. On one hand, it is a fun video, almost silly at times. The reason this is a problem is that “Love is Bigger Than Anything in its Way” is not a silly song. I think of it as a very serious song, with a serious albeit hopeful message. At the time that the song came out, I didn’t even think about the lyric referring to LGBTQ+ people and their struggle for equality and fairness. I was all wrapped up in my concerns for my own country, where hate seemed to be blossoming everywhere I looked. After living with the message of the video for a few years, I have come to realize that these two messages aren’t mutually exclusive. The same Americans who are consumed by hatred for anyone and everything that doesn’t fit their definition of normalcy would be filled with disdain for the kids shown in this video. So I’ve arrived at the conclusion that this is a song about battling all kinds of inequality, wherever it might rear its ugly head. Frankly, it doesn’t matter what anyone thinks about these marginalized individuals. My acceptance or lack of acceptance is not the issue. We all just need to get out of the way and let people be themselves.
In addition to the main video for “Love is Bigger Than Anything in its Way,” there were a handful of other videos made for remixes of the song. Some of them are by Broken Fingaz, the collective responsible for the lyric video for “American Soul.” Some of them are very abstract, and some of them tell a story. Some of them are barely worth watching, while one or two are actually quite moving. I particularly like the Broken Fingaz video for Beck’s remix of “Love is Bigger Than Anything in its Way,” so I hope you will consider checking it out if you haven’t seen it. I wish all of my fellow Americans a safe and happy Thanksgiving this coming week and to everybody else, I wish you joy and peace. Stay safe, my friends.
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