On the occasion of John Lennon’s Birthday,
A Facebook friend commented:
“I wish I didn’t like this tune so much. I have called this “The agnostic/atheistic anarchy anthem” for many decades.”
Bull Sullivan Commented:
I “Imagine” two Beatles down, two to go!
Bull Sullivan Commented:
I apologize, my comment above seems so un-Christian. I wish no harm to any man, but to the drug addled, licentious Pied Pipers whose music ushered in the “Me” and “Drug” revolutions, I wish them only the life that thousands of addicts lived before their deaths of overdoses, hepatitis, liver lung and kidney failure, and that’s leaving out those who died of drug induced violence, rape and murder, and of course, I don’t want to forget those brilliant young minds which fried on acid and mescaline, just so these pompous demi-musicians could amass billions to spend so freely on themselves. Hedonists, heretics, green globalist leaders of our groupie generation. I prefer to listen to John Newton, and let the Almighty, who is rumored to love music…see for instance, the Psalms…render His Final Judgment. Hell for the Beatles might be to spend eternity listening only to Miley Cyrus’ or Leslie Gore’s performances.
A different Facebook Friend Commented:
- … beautiful music by John! His point is well taken that religion and religious differences are the basis for most wars. Happy 73rd birthday John!
Wow, I didn’t know that John Lenin was the fist to hypothesize the relationship between religion and war, what an original thinker! Of course, he was incorrect, particularly if he held the same view as some of his disciples, one of whom alleged that religious differences “are the basis for most wars.”
Unfortunately, nothing could be further from the truth. For instance WWI and WWII, in those wars we American White Anglo Saxon Protestants fought those damn Lutherans, and Reformed Church Zealots… didn’t we? I should note that more combatants died in those two World Wars than in all other wars fought by our species.
Then, of course, The was the War Between The Saints, 1861-1865, in which spirit filled Yankee abolitionists, a broad spectrum of crazed “lower” churchmen allied with Roman Catholic immigrants to defeat us High Church Episcopalians, even killing our spiritual leader, Lt. General Bishop Leonidas Polk. And let’s not forget The War for Religious Freedom, 1775-1782, fought by the Deists against the Church of England.
Look, if you think that John and Ono are great musicians, and listening to his psycho-babble guitar, and sitar strummed, wailing is great music, well, that’s a matter of your slightly puerile taste.
I stood bestride the Pentagon in October 1967, a credentialed Demonstration Marshall of the greatest anti-war protest in American History, and watched as the pathetic crowd of tens or hundreds of thousands of my peers held hands around that structure and chanted and played their guitars and sang and wished it and the Vietnam War would go away.
When the trance was ended by the rising sun, and dawn broke, the Pentagon was still standing before their pallid faces, and they squinted their bleary red eyes in disbelief, rolled up their bedrolls, and trudged off, disheartened, sucking their thumbs and going home to their middle class mommies and dads; their designer jeans and torn tie dyed shirts pitted with roach ash burns, and stained with cheap red wine, fetid acid sweat and semen.
That’s what John Lennon and the Beatles then stood for, and what his legacy remains: the music of a loser generation, who have despoiled the heritage of a generation that literally saved the World from Hell’s minions.
If you consider the adolescent gurgling and warbling and shouting and screaming of alcohol and drug infused rhymes and two chords picked on an electric guitar, if you associate that with the music of your youth… well, I feel empathy for your prolonged adolescence, but sorrow for you appreciation of music. The sounds of real instruments, the musical notation, the works composed for them by true geniuses and played on them by great artists has the power to inspire thought, hope and glory, worship and fear.
Like Tom Hayden, Hanoi Jane, Moby Grape, The Dead and The Airplane, Joan Baez and Peter Paul and Mary, Lennon was at the heart of it, an entertainer, an endearing con man who made money selling angst relief to children frightened by A-Bombs, “Cuber” and the outrageous expectations of what is often called “The Greatest Generation.”
Doubt it? That’s OUR Congress now paralyzed; Bill and Bush and even Barry are the fruit of our vine. Please won’t somebody love us? Being grown up is so hard, I think I’ll play the White Album again… Jim Jones had nothing on John Lennon’s Kool-Aid!!
In my vocation, it is necessary to feel anger occasionally. Even, especially, when we want so badly to be charitable. So I ask myself, is John Lennon in Heaven? Oh Lord, its possible, because every agnostic, every atheist can think, in the last moment of Life, what every “War Mongering” Christian should think: “What a sinner am I, forgive me Father.”
If so, he will not be judged for what his life’s work was, which I would describe as mental and musical masturbation, but rather he will be saved by the death of a Jewish carpenter long ago on a cross at Golgotha, just outside the gates of the City of David. The Death of Jesus Christ and the “religion” of He and His mother, and His teaching recorded in the Sacred Scriptures have nothing to do with war, death, pestilence, plague, violence, tragedy of any kind and pain and sorrow, all of which are the work of men, or nature.
It is impossible for me, as an observer, to deny my involvement, my duplicity and my rank insatiate lust for the fruits of our generation’s musical vine. I am no less guilty than that skinny delusional Brit. I ponder, what if our generation had fully embraced the ethos of our parent’s, what if we have worked as hard at solving the problems of the World as they had, what if we had the spirit, the grit that so many of them had, overcoming the Great Depression, poverty, want and hunger. What if we had improved, perfected human morality, not eschewed it. What if our art celebrated the human spirit, our music amplified our hopes, our theater and film glorified what is great in us, what if our science turned from war to life, healed more of the sick, preserved the quality of life, and venerated life from conception to death? What if schools taught more of the classics, of art, music, dance and theater? What if we had respected each other for our differences as well as our similarities? And what if we had taught love for one another?
Would we not now live a Christian society, not live “in” it, but live it!…?
What if we had built upon the Rock of Ages and truly followed the Way of Christ Jesus. What if we had sought to become the “Shining City on the Hill? A new “Zion?”
“Wow, that’s deep man; toke another hit, brother, let’s “Imagine” that world…it would be so cool…”
A different Facebook Friend Commented:
No claim he was first – just appreciation for the reminder, in such a beautiful vessel. Not going to count all the wars and post a percentage of religious ones. Perhaps “most” was an overstatement. As a musician, I appreciate John’s music for its beauty, intellect, cleverness, and soulfulness, including the early rock n roll. Some of my favorite music to play and sing are the 3 chord songs – 1-4-5 as we call it. Great music need not be complicated – think “Amazing Grace”. My contemporaries and I – in our 60’s – take great pleasure in jamming on the tunes of our youth, and still love the Beatles songbook. Our generation is far from a “loser” generation. Just because you couldn’t levitate the Pentagon doesn’t mean we were all impotent! lol! We launched the anti-war movement (with a lot of help from Dr. King), Women’s Liberation, Gay Liberation, and played a role in the Civil Rights struggle. We brought Rock n Roll into the mainstream and still love it dearly. We brought Folk Music, the Blues, and Rockabilly back in a big way. We invented Folk Rock and Country Rock. We invented the Rock Opera. Hair, Jesus Christ Superstar, and Tommy are three of the best. We DID improve human morality, and our art and music DID celebrate the human spirit, more than any previous generation.
Friend, I am driven to distraction by your naivete! I was in Hashbury, the summer of love. I was in the SDS; I sold dope at Fillmore, all I might add, in the service of my Country. No, that’s not true; I did all in the service of seduction, of gratification. Peace, Love and Understanding? Oh, get real, Piece, as in piece of ass, Love, as in free, no charge, no remorse, no responsibility. Understanding, what does a child understand? You need to understand that placing this slip of paper under your tongue will make you free, you will fear nothing, and I will guide you to a higher power…What a pick-up line, what a gift from the gods to all the randy boys.
Civil Rights? Oh yes, thank God for the white middle class, Doctor King couldn’t have done it without y’all. And if you were in San Francisco, you know that that poor wetback, Caesar Chavez wouldn’t have ever formed that union of lettuce pickers without Whitey to help him.
Thank God for White People!
And while y’all are out in the suburbs of Seattle, did you ever get down to Sick’s Stadium, you know, down in Rainier Valley? Especially before Norm became Mayor? Say how many children of color go to O’Dea or Bush or Lakeside? You live, as most of my Bellevue neighbors did, in a fantasy world of wealth and privilege, on Land stolen from Chief Seattle and the Duwamish Tribe, very much like our stealing from Chief Tomochichi and the Yamacraw Tribe, here in Georgia.
I have never met such a confounded, contentious and pretentious population as those coffee swilling, code writing geeks who now own Seattle, unless it was those incredibly conceited bigots whose families settled there, who rose to the top of family owned corporations and once built fine boats and aircraft, and beautiful houses in Queen Anne and on Capitol Hill… and now build the 787 Dreamliner for a company headquartered in Chicago.
I love Washington State, and beneath the upper crust I found good moral people, but then there were some few of those in Sodom. Seattle is the least churched city in the West, more people fear going to hell in San Francisco, perhaps with good reason, than in Seattle. Even the presence of Jesuits has had little effect on the amoral mien of the city of grunge pits.
As for me, I will take Shostakovitch’s “Stabat Mater” for my dose of beauty, intellect, cleverness, and soulfulness, and anything Gershwin for charm and gaiety. And if I needed inspiration to wander through the galaxy, I enjoy Tangerine Dream and Miles Davis and Emmylou Harris. I love music, because I don’t need it. I will admit to wishing to have known, in the Biblical sense, Janis Joplin, who to me is the Tops, the Mona Lisa, the Tower of Pisa. And I have been known to amp up “The Wall” while contemplating just where and when is Schrödinger’s Cat. Pink Floyd is great music, and also The Who’s “Tommy”, but Hair and JC Superstar? Definitely, in the class of “Cats”…
I listened to Rubber Soul, The White Album, Sergeant Peppers et al, though probably not in that order, in the company of teen age boys and girls, getting stoned, having sex, hating their parents, spitting on home bound soldiers, I can quote the trial transcript of the Chicago Seven, Bobby Seale was the eighth, and the real deal, but the Seven, everyone sought fame, most achieved fortune, in business or the Academy, and all lived a distinctly “middle class” American Life. One scored big with a movie star. I am sure all share your affection for John Lennon, who, I am rather certain, was a billionaire.
Not Losers? Did Wars end? Did poverty vanish? Are schools safer and do they educate our children better? Are people more satisfied with their lives? Do most people in Seattle know Hell is a real destination for those who disobey God? Yes, our generation is lost, and we are collectively, the Biggest Losers of any American generation.
Ain’t the Radical White of the 60’s something else!
Popular music is the opiate in the masses, entropy its legacy, and inertia its result.
You might also enjoy my comments on another of the Beatles:
“On the tenth anniversary of George Harrison’s Death.”