John…

It was 30 years ago today.

The above line can be sung to the tune of the opening theme of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.

The irony of the above phenomenon is lost on a culture focused on relentless self-pity and proving that anything is snark-able – or who are as certain as Evangelicals are of going to Heaven that they are better arbiters of taste in good music and the right way to do politics than all those stupid Baby Boomers.

They (those dumb-assed Boomers), apparently, would (and still do) listen to and think about The Beatles with reverence and awe when it’s clear to those who really know that The Beatles are a) overrated; b) old fashioned; c) less visionaries than clever imitators with access to world wide distribution of the ideas they stole from others….

And their leader, John Lennon, was a pseudo-intellectual poseur with a penchant for cruelty – and bad taste in women. After all, he committed the ultimate wrong in this more knowing culture’s estimation – he chose someone he loved over someone hot….

Nothing that I or any other Boomer can write or say will change these opinions. They are sacrosanct with the bulk the current culture – not unlike Boomers’ silly admiration of John F. Kennedy who was, after all, just a rich kid who got the presidency by questionable means as later George W. Bush is claimed to have done.

Lennon did write some songs with silly titles. Here are a few that I’m sure commentators will find snark-worthy:

“All You Need is Love”

“Give Peace a Chance”

“Imagine”

And he once paid a princely sum to put up a billboard in Times Square that said “War is Over if You Want It.”

These are all things for which he should probably be mocked.  He’d be much more heroic to later generations if he promoted racism, misogyny or greed or any of the other cooler, more admirable behaviors of the current culture.

But John was just an old fashioned guy who thought people should try to love one another and live in peace with each other.

So we old fart Boomers fondly remember his silly ideas on this anniversary of his murder – and try to be mindful that he told us “we all shine on/like the moon and the stars and the sun….”

And we miss him….

9 comments on “John…

  1. Jim, that’s the first tribute I’ve read to Lennon that made sense to me. I am, I admit, someone who’s always felt he was overrated. I certain appreciate the contribution he made to music–that’s never been in doubt for me. But as a personality SO much larger than life, the myth just always seemed to overwhelm the man in ways that I’ve just never understood. Your simple, elegant post scratched away the grime and let me see something worthwhile and, I daresay, beautiful. Thanks.

  2. Wait, aren’t we supposed to hate Yoko because she broke up the band? I didn’t realize it was about appearance. (I’ve been calling musicians’ girlfriends “Yoko” for all the wrong reasons…)

    In any case, i resemble this post. Some of that is just because i’m contrarian and an asshole. Part of it is because the accusations have as much truth as the myths they’re leveled against. And a lot of it is a generational feeling.

    The Boomers swamped everything by dint of sheer numbers. All of us younger than Boomers have heard our whole lives how great everything from the 60’s was. I don’t own a single Beatles album, but i certainly respect and even enjoy the music…even though i’ve been force fed the Fab Four since birth.

    That’s where the resentment comes from in younger generations, the cultural force feeding. How many Boomers idolize their parents’ heroes? Did Boomer parents expect that Boomers should? How did the Boomers feel about that? How did they react?

    In any case, it was a sad day that i was just barely too young to remember. Stupid fucks killing people for no good reason is, well, fucking stupid. And i’d be interested to see what Lennon became as he aged. My condolences to those who remember today for the loss of a hero.

  3. Oh, and like your tribute to Woodstock, Jim, another great defense of what you hold dear. If more Boomer eulogies were written by you i wouldn’t be so cranky about them.

  4. @Chris – Your FB post stating that John was overrated really pissed me off, Chris – and I tried to do something positive with it (hope you know what I mean). Thanks for your thoughtful, generous response – I guess I must have got it at least partially right…

    @Lex – two responses to the two comments: @#1 – an eloquent statement of the Xer existential position – my compliments (btw, the view of Yoko I expressed was the post-Boomer view – we DID hate her for breaking up the Beatles – although we know she loved John, so it gets harder to hate her all the time); @#2 – in my best hippie drawl, if you were here, I’d say, “I love you, man….” 😉

    @Sam – yeah, yeah, yeah…(that’s from a Beatles song, you know) 😉

  5. John had flaws, quite a few people do. His music is as good as it gets, not many are anywhere near it. I am a Boomer by about 4 months but I gotta say, I have very little time for them, your John John and John post says why we are like we are, but it’s a reason at best, not an excuse.
    I hate the idea of capital punishment but… Chapman, I make exception for. Too many people hurt.

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