John Lennon was killed today in 1980. Just an abominable and pointless crime for any number of reasons.
Like each of the Beatles, Lennon helped to create a cultural archetype, in his case the semi-thinking man's rock star who rarely shied away from weighing in on the issues of the day. Though he's widely (and legitimately) characterized as being a commie-symp peacenik drug addict less-and-less-talented bum who might have been the original tea-bagger (tea-baggist?), he was a lot more complicated than all that. He made some great music and, especially with Yoko Ono at his side, really helped us all fly our freak flags more freely.
Here's some of his memorable quotes from a Playboy interview done shortly before his murder:
"I am not going to get locked in that business of saving the world on stage. The show is always a mess and the artist always comes off badly… . All of you who are reading this, don't bother sending me all that garbage about, 'Just come and save the Indians, come and save the blacks, come and save the war veterans'."…
"You know, America has poured billions into places like that. It doesn't mean a damn thing. After they've eaten that meal, then what? It lasts for only a day. After the $200,000,000 is gone, then what? It goes round and round in circles." It's a critique of foreign aid readers of P.T. Bauer would be familiar with. "You can pour money in forever. After Peru, then Harlem, then Britain. There is no one concert. We would have to dedicate the rest of our lives to one world concert tour, and I'm not ready for it."…
"I dabbled in so-called politics in the late Sixties and Seventies more out of guilt than anything," he revealed. "Guilt for being rich, and guilt thinking that perhaps love and peace isn't enough and you have to go and get shot or something, or get punched in the face, to prove I'm one of the people. I was doing it against my instincts….
I worked for money and I wanted to be rich. So what the hell—if that's a paradox, then I'm a socialist. But I am not anything. What I used to be is guilty about money. … Because I thought money was equated with sin. I don't know. I think I got over it, because I either have to put up or shut up, you know. If I'm going to be a monk with nothing, do it. Otherwise, if I am going to try and make money, make it. Money itself isn't the root of all evil….
"If you want to save Peru, go save Peru. It's quite possible to do anything, but not if you put it on the leaders and the parking meters. Don't expect Carter or Reagan or John Lennon or Yoko Ono or Bob Dylan or Jesus Christ to come and do it for you. You have to do it yourself."
This is pulled from the American Conservative.
Past Reason thoughts on John Lennon's death.
My defense of Yoko Ono in the pages of Suck, circa 2000.
Take it, away, John: