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Old 12-02-2016, 02:42 PM
Jinx Jinx is offline
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My Name is Luka...?

I'm surprised the consensus in the comments on the official video on Youtube of "Luka" is sure this song is about child abuse. I always thought it was about spousal abuse. Maybe the SD can enlighten me. Why would so many be so sure this song is about child abuse? Personally, I don't see why it can't be both. Is there some clue I missed in the lyrics that makes it clear one way or the other? Your thoughts?

Last edited by Jinx; 12-02-2016 at 02:43 PM.
  #2  
Old 12-02-2016, 02:50 PM
Crotalus Crotalus is online now
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Did you watch the video you linked to? There's a dark-haired boy all through it. It seems like a reasonable assumption that his name is Luka.

I agree that the lyrics don't rule out spouse abuse.
  #3  
Old 12-02-2016, 02:54 PM
Loach Loach is online now
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If this cite is accurate Suzanne Vega was pretty clear she meant it to be about an abused child.
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Old 12-02-2016, 03:04 PM
Marlonius Marlonius is offline
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For what it's worth, I was abused as a child and I immediately understood the song's meaning, though I've never seen the video.

I see several lyrical indications that it's parental abuse:

One is the use of the word "they" in the "They only hit until you cry" line. If it were intended to be interpreted as spousal, I'd expect "He only hits until you cry" in its place.

The second is about talking too loud and being clumsy.

Abused children try to fly below the radar of their abuser and often don't know why or how they've set their parents off. In desperation to understand, they blame themselves and invent reasons. A battered spouse will tend to do the same, but I would expect them to find different reasons in the search for understanding and might be more likely to call themselves stupid or ugly than loud and clumsy.

The third is the desire to be alone. All I wanted as a kid was to be alone.

Writing this has made me wonder about Susan Vega's own childhood. She writes with a certain amount of insight and understanding though it is more articulate than an abused kid would be. If I'd read the lyrics as poetry at age 13 in the worst year of my life, I don't know that I'd, even then, have understood it though it's terribly obvious right now.

I did post on this forum one time about my childhood and you could look that up if you ever cared to. Short version - my dad had a bad temper and later scared himself straight. We're okay now and I think he carries more long term scars than I do.
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Old 12-02-2016, 03:33 PM
terentii terentii is offline
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Luka sounds like a little boy's name; ergo, it's about a child.
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Old 12-02-2016, 03:50 PM
Chronos Chronos is offline
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For what it's worth, when we were teenagers, my best friend and I thought it was about lycanthropy.
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Old 12-02-2016, 05:06 PM
Skammer Skammer is offline
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Having fortunately experience with neither child nor spousal abuse, I assumed the latter when the song came out. I can make myself hear it as child abuse, and I know the intention, but I think the spouse abuse perspective has been ingrained in my brain too long to change.
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Old 12-02-2016, 06:02 PM
Arkcon Arkcon is offline
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Suzanne Vega sang it, I always assumed it was an abusive husband/boyfriend song. I know the video included ab little boy. I know Suzanne Vega said it was about child abuse. But I always assumed it was about the abstract concept of women in abusive relationships. Seriously, what little kid show up, at their new neighbor's door. "Excuse me, hi, my name is Luca ... yes we have met, yes, regarding the noise, you didn't bring it up, but I'd like you to just let it go, its easier this way."

"Oh, sure, kid, seems like a good idea."

This is why I always like the song, Self Esteem, by The Offspring. Some guy belts out a song about how he's just used and abused by his girlfriend. She shows up, drunk, again, and looking to score. Meh, what's a guy gonna do, say no? No need for an Oprah special talk into the camera, no need to send money to any group, that's just stuff that happens.
  #9  
Old 12-02-2016, 07:12 PM
GuanoLad GuanoLad is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chronos View Post
For what it's worth, when we were teenagers, my best friend and I thought it was about lycanthropy.
My Name Is Lucan
  #10  
Old 12-02-2016, 08:11 PM
buddha_david buddha_david is offline
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Originally Posted by Marlonius View Post
Writing this has made me wonder about Susan Vega's own childhood. She writes with a certain amount of insight and understanding though it is more articulate than an abused kid would be.
Suzanne Vega on the origin of "Luka":
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suzanne Vega
A few years ago, I used to see this group of children playing in from of my building, and there was one of them, whose name was Luka, who seemed a little bit distinctive from the other children. I always remembered his name, and I always remembered his face, and I didn't know much about him, but he just seemed set apart from these other children that I would see playing. And his character is what I based the song Luka on. In the song, the boy Luka is an abused child - In real life I don't think he was. I think he was just different.
As an aside, it always chafes me a little bit whenever people assume a writer writing about abuse & tragedy must have experienced that in real life. Writers do have an imagination, you know.
  #11  
Old 12-02-2016, 08:21 PM
Loach Loach is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by terentii View Post
Luka sounds like a little boy's name; ergo, it's about a child.
Not always.
  #12  
Old 12-03-2016, 07:07 AM
MrDibble MrDibble is online now
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Man, what was it about 1987 and catchy child abuse songs?
  #13  
Old 12-03-2016, 10:11 AM
Marlonius Marlonius is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by buddha_david View Post
Suzanne Vega on the origin of "Luka":

As an aside, it always chafes me a little bit whenever people assume a writer writing about abuse & tragedy must have experienced that in real life. Writers do have an imagination, you know.
There's a difference between assuming and wondering. True, many singers can write about things that are not auto or semi-autobiographical. It is also true that some singers are Alanis Morrisette.
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Old 12-03-2016, 11:07 AM
Jophiel Jophiel is online now
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I don't have a cite at hand but I read once where Vega said that Luka was about an abused child but, if it made people think about spousal abuse (or any domestic abuse, really) instead, then she was satisfied. So I suppose it's really about "abuse" more so than any specific type despite Luka being a child.

When I was younger, I always assumed Luka was a battered wife but mainly because I had only heard the "walked into the door" trope applied to women.
  #15  
Old 12-03-2016, 12:11 PM
elfkin477 elfkin477 is offline
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Originally Posted by MrDibble View Post
Man, what was it about 1987 and catchy child abuse songs?
They were inspired by this somewhat earlier song?
  #16  
Old 12-03-2016, 12:18 PM
Siam Sam Siam Sam is offline
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I remember when the song came out and always thought it was about child abuse.
  #17  
Old 12-03-2016, 04:48 PM
AHunter3 AHunter3 is online now
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I first heard it when it was new on the radio and thought it was about spousal abuse. But I read pretty early on that the intention was child abuse.
  #18  
Old 12-03-2016, 05:06 PM
Magicicada Magicicada is offline
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I assumed child abuse from the beginning, because of the child-like voice (yeah, I know she always kind of sounds like that) and phrasing. The only thing was, I had never heard the name Luka before, and because of the -a ending it was a while before I knew the narrator was a little boy.
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Old 12-03-2016, 05:13 PM
buddha_david buddha_david is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elfkin477 View Post
They were inspired by this somewhat earlier song?
Or this one?
  #20  
Old 12-03-2016, 06:21 PM
jtur88 jtur88 is offline
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I always though at the time, with nothing to go by but the words on the radio, decades before YouTube was even imagined as an imprinter of public perception, that it was about spousal abuse.

Last edited by jtur88; 12-03-2016 at 06:22 PM.
  #21  
Old 12-10-2016, 03:58 PM
Jinx Jinx is offline
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You have to understand my area was the last to get cable, for one. And, I always despised what MTV did to music, anyhow. That said, I was raised on radio. That song aired in 1987. Since its inception, I assumed the singer, singing in first person, is Luka, a woman singer; hence,the subject is a woman. The video did nothing to rethink my position. I thought the boy in the video was the one she's singing to, such as: "If you hear something late at night, some kind of struggle, some kind of fight, just don't ask me what it was..." I think the video should have been much stronger SHOWING child abuse being acted out. I think the video is too vague. Maybe the song should be titled "My Name is Steven..."?

Last edited by Jinx; 12-10-2016 at 03:59 PM.
  #22  
Old 12-10-2016, 05:14 PM
drad dog drad dog is offline
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The CW was that it was child abuse. Nobody was peddling an alternative scenario back then be cause it just didn't sound like that.

As spousal abuse it seems rather infantilized and not as poignant at all.

It doesn't sound like a child's story?
  #23  
Old 12-10-2016, 11:40 PM
foolsguinea foolsguinea is offline
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I remember a DJ back then, Casey Kasem I think, mentioning on the radio that it was inspired by a boy Suzanne Vega knew named Luka.

This was some years before Goran Visnjic was on ER, so I wasn't particularly used to Luka as a name, let alone a boy's name, but that was what Casey said, so that's what I understood it to be.
  #24  
Old 12-13-2016, 03:00 AM
Disgruntled Penguin Disgruntled Penguin is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Magicicada View Post
I assumed child abuse from the beginning, because of the child-like voice (yeah, I know she always kind of sounds like that) and phrasing. The only thing was, I had never heard the name Luka before, and because of the -a ending it was a while before I knew the narrator was a little boy.
You'd never seen the Godfather? That's where I first heard the name and why it made more sense to me to be about a male kid rather than a female adult. I'd never seen the video but I don't ever recall hearing this name for a female so to me it added up.
  #25  
Old 12-15-2016, 01:45 PM
Jinx Jinx is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Disgruntled Penguin View Post
You'd never seen the Godfather? That's where I first heard the name and why it made more sense to me to be about a male kid rather than a female adult. I'd never seen the video but I don't ever recall hearing this name for a female so to me it added up.
Sorry... I'm Hollywood intolerant. I caught most of the Godfather on TV years ago. I don't recall any names nor specifics. I'm in the minority, I guess, but I don't get into most shows like people do. Maybe once or twice a decade (on average), a show will hook me. Star Trek, Starsky and Hutch, MASH, All in the Family, Taxi and St. Elsewhere, oh...and The Paper Chase, but not much else. Oh sure, I've seen most of the 1960's and 1970's sit-coms. Not a big fan of 1980s forward, although I grew up into the 70s into the 80s. I was raised on radio. Live and breathe for the rock era. Even on the silver screen, I'm very picky. Not a fan of Hollywood, in general.

Last edited by Jinx; 12-15-2016 at 01:46 PM.
  #26  
Old 12-15-2016, 01:51 PM
Maggie the Ocelot Maggie the Ocelot is offline
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*blink* It never occurred to me that it could be about spousal abuse.
  #27  
Old 02-08-2017, 09:34 AM
rossiewang84 rossiewang84 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by foolsguinea View Post
I remember a DJ back then, Casey Kasem I think, mentioning on the radio that it was inspired by a boy Suzanne Vega knew named Luka.

This was some years before Goran Visnjic was on ER, so I wasn't particularly used to Luka as a name, let alone a boy's name, but that was what Casey said, so that's what I understood it to be.
Oh boy, Luka Kovac... this sure brings back memories. Goran Visnjic is back on NBC, on the small screens in form of Garcia Flynn, but not as a doctor. Wrap your head around Garcia
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