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I've had enough of reading things by neurotic, psychotic, pig-headed politicians

Posted on 2006.09.12 at 00:22
where am I: here
How I feel about it all: sleepyoddly sleepy, wtf?
Soundtrack: John Lennon - Gimme Some Truth
Tags: , ,
I wasn't going to mention John Lennon today (well, yesterday, technically, but I started writing before midnight). I'd rather do that on his birthday instead of the anniversary of the day he died the the day he died, because his life is the important thing. But then I thought, okay, but his death is important, too. Who knows where he could have led us? Why couldn't he have lived to see the Berlin Wall come down, or the signing of the Camp David Accords? And what does the utter, random senselessness of his murder tell us about the world and fate and fairness and the brevity of life and how we should be grateful for every second? I have to remember that next time I'm nattering on about a bad hair day or a rude waitress.

One thing that bothers me is the people who always say what a gentle man of peace he was. Well, he wasn't. He was just a man. He had a terrible temper, had struggled with addiction, and could be very cruel with his words. He wrote Imagine, a straightforward, heartfelt argument for peace, arguably one of the greatest songs ever written. He also wrote How Do You Sleep?, a vitriolic attack on Paul McCartney, who had been his closest and dearest friend since childhood.

In other words, he was human, just like me. Just like you. He wanted peace for the world, he wanted social justice, and he worked tirelessly for both, but he wasn't Buddha or Jesus or Mohammed. I certainly can't speak for him, but I can't believe he'd want to be remembered as a saint. It's comparatively easier to do what he did if you're a saint. For a guy like John, with all his demons and struggles just to live his life plus the added pressure fame brings, it's a lot harder. I think that's what makes him an even greater role model.

He told us all we need is love, and believed it. I'm still idealistic enough to believe it, too, because if everyone, everywhere really, really loved everyone else, there would be peace on Earth. He did what he did as an imperfect, completely fallable human being, and I admire him so much for that.

*raises Mike's bottle*

Here's to John Ono Lennon. He was as imperfect as every last one of us, and for me at least, that's inspirational, because maybe I can do something to change the world, too. I'm not a creative genius like John was, and maybe I can't write a song or a book or get on television and state my case, but I can write letters and give a little money to help get the word out and, oh, I don't know, post in a LJ community. Something. Give a dollar to the kid collecting for the Veteran's home. Send a card to a soldier in Iraq or Afghanistan and tell them that hating war doesn't mean hating people. Vote. I'm just a person, but being a person means I'm exactly as perfect as John Lennon, and that's really something to be proud of.

Power to the people, dig it.

Oh, and btw, John's full name is John Ono Lennon, not John Winston Lennon. He legally changed it. I'm only mentioning it as an FYI because I've seen it written twice that way.

John Lennon - Power to the People

John Lennon - Instant Karma

John Lennon - Gimme Some Truth

John Lennon - Jealous Guy


missapocalyptic at 2006-12-09 10:04 (UTC) ()
Wonderful post!

But to me, John Lennon is exactly like Jesus. Well, pretty much. I'm not a religious person, so I'm not into the whole "Jesus will save you"-stuff, but he said some very important (and revolutionary) things. He spoke up for the poor and the outcasts, he wanted social justice, he wanted a better society. And he had a temper.

I don't want to stomp on anyone's religious feelings here, but for me Jesus was just a guy who had the right idea and did something about it. As did John Lennon. As did Gandhi. As did many other people. And I think the fact that they were not saints makes their message all the more important and impressive.

So, it's rarely noon here, but still I'll raise my glass.
try to catch the deluge in a paper cup
primroseburrows at 2006-12-09 17:36 (UTC) ()
but for me Jesus was just a guy who had the right idea and did something about it. As did John Lennon. As did Gandhi. As did many other people. And I think the fact that they were not saints makes their message all the more important and impressive.

I agree with you, yes. I was more talking about the religious idea of Jesus. Mohammed and Buddha were just men, too, when it comes down to it. And who knows if any of them had a mean streak (which John did, a mile wide), because the scribes wouldn't have put in the bad parts. I just don't like the idea of people making a religion out of him, and I would think he'd have felt the same way.
(Anonymous) at 2006-12-10 15:28 (UTC) ()
Jesus did, in fact, display a momentary streak of passionate fury when He stormed through the temple overturning seller's tables. I wouldn't label it as a "mean streak" as such, but certainly He had a had a streak of righteous indignation when confronted with something He found utterly and morally offensive.

And Jesus was more than just a man. :) In my opinion, of course.
peacey at 2006-12-10 15:29 (UTC) ()
Whoops. The above reply was me. Forgot to log in.
polaroidfriends at 2006-12-09 12:26 (UTC) ()
This was a pretty amazing post, and I think sums up what's wrong with trying to eulogize people sometimes - everyone focuses on the good stuff, which is good - but turning people into saints when they were just a really great, optimistic human being doesn't do anyone any favors. I think you're right, having a human being as a role model because he did do good things.

I don't really know about Lennon, but I watched this great documentary a few years ago on him and then had a short-lived character who was born the day Lennon died, so that's pretty much where my knowledge comes from. And it was why I could remember the date, too! ;)

(PS the link for Instant Karma isn't working! :( I downloaded the others, though!)
try to catch the deluge in a paper cup
primroseburrows at 2006-12-09 17:50 (UTC) ()
I hope the post didn't come across as being anti-John, because nothing could be further from the truth. I loved him long before he died, and his death is one of those "where were you" moments for me, like Kennedy's assassination was for my parents' generation and the Berlin Wall coming down probably was for you. I didn't have much media access those couple of days so the only report I heard was on an overhead speaker at a hotel restaurant. I just thought I heard it wrong, and I didn't believe it until about two days later, because the Beatles were immortal, right? *sigh*

I didn't know what I was writing until I wrote it, because I really wasn't going to say anything this year. I usually do something for his birthday, but then I came across some web pages that were practically shrines, and I don't think he needs a shrine. He needs a task force.
polaroidfriends at 2006-12-09 22:20 (UTC) ()
Some people might think that it's anti-John, but I don't think it is at all. You're just admitting he was human and had faults - how can that be construed as being against something? No, I think you did the topic justice, though of course it would be easy to write an essay on the whole thing. In my slightly sleep-deprived state, that sounds like a great idea.

And I don't know where the generational divide begins on the Berlin Wall, but I'm too young for that one. Unfortuantely, I think for my generation I think it'll be September 11. That's the big one.
on_a_hill at 2006-12-09 16:11 (UTC) ()
peacey at 2006-12-10 15:19 (UTC) ()
John was cool. And I'm glad you see him as he was, warts and all. Sometimes when you listen to people prattle on about how beyond amazing he was, you'd think they believed him to be beyond human as well.

Now, I need your new address. Like, asap. :) Tis the season and all. Also, go here to download the un-password protected U2/Green Day collaboration. It isn't as good as the live version, but still.
try to catch the deluge in a paper cup
primroseburrows at 2006-12-11 00:07 (UTC) ()
I'll send you my address in a private IM. :)

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