Wednesday, December 8, 2010


Thinking about John Lennon on the anniversary of his death. John was killed by a deranged nut in New York City on this day thirty years ago as he signed an autograph. We all remember him differently. There were many John Lennons--from the early days of John as clever wise-cracking Beatle, the poet of A Spaniard in the Works, middle-period songwriter Lennon crying "Help!," primal screaming artist Lennon expressing his fears and joys, house husband and hounded political activist taking on the Vietnam War and the evil Nixon machine. There will be eulogies today, and most of them will strip the man of controversy and candy-coat his memory. We're going with controversy--a fierce political song for the holiday season--since the dragons John tried to slay with his art and his wit are still alive and well. Another tragedy would be remembering him as just a pop star, and diluting his powerful music and memory to a cute little bio on the evening news that misses the point entirely. As another Englishmen once lamented, "the good is oft interred with the bones." Now John is safely dead, and the powers that be can rest easier. Maybe we all can, since he urged us all to do our part for peace and justice and that's not always easy. As the man said, War is over--if you want it.

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