Friday, October 8, 2010

The Feast of St. John Lennon

John Lennon would have been 70. Being the patron saint of the Boomer generation, and the MSM still heavily influenced by that age group, soon we will be treated to all things Lennon. It will, of course, be propaganda. The same type of myth making and legend cooking that the Church has been accused of in dealing with its saints. That may be true of the Church. It certainly is true of St. Lennon. But if so, it must speak of a universal human tendency to lift people up as heroes; lift them up as something beyond mere hero.

Lennon basically was an angry, mixed up person with serious issues who nonetheless hit it big time. Why? Who knows. But he did, and he brought those issues with him wherever he went, becoming a symbol for the generation lost in space, and remaining so to this day. And he comes with all the worship and adoration given to any saint of any religion. Perhaps it is fitting, since Lennon the good and bad exemplified so much of what the generation that adored him turned out to be. After all, what can you say about a saint who composes a hymn for an era that asks if we can imagine no possessions - while singing it from his own 7.5 million dollar palatial estate? Except that perhaps he is a fitting demigod for the Boomers after all.


  1. I think you're being a little unfair to both concerned.

  2. Not really. I love the Beatles, have all their CDs, fan material, you name it. Like some of their solo stuff, too. I think Imagine is a pretty song, but the lyrics are ridiculous. Listen to them sometime. I used to think they were sacred until I actually took time to listen. No heaven? No religion? Should that be sung in a school? How about no possessions there John? You're the one with the mansion!

    And of course there's the fact that John, like Paul, was in it for the money, fame, girls, and all that. So he sings this utopian song, but has no intention of living it. Which is the Boomer mentality: say you care, but don't worry about living it or the results or anything of the sort. As I said, he is a fitting saint for that generation: all talk, none of it of substance, and often to a bad end.

  3. Heroes aren't heroes because they're perfect, but because they're inspirational.

    In "Imagine", all John said was "imagine". He didn't say, "I'm going to give up all my possessions." He said, "Imagine no possessions." The following line, "I wonder if you can" even implies how difficult it would be actually to give up all your possessions!

    And yes, I think that "Imagine" could be sung in a school, along with many other songs with potentially controversial ideas. This song doesn't tell us to kill or hate anyone. It only asks us to reimagine our world. John is questioning those things--religion, greed, nationalism--that he thinks bring on war and hardship in our world.

    BTW, I wrote and posted online a short story called "The Feast of Saint John Lennon". Here's its URL, but it might be hard to access:

  4. Hi Melanie. As a matter of fact, the best heroes lead from the front, not from the limousine. I have no problem with it sung in schools as long as songs that affirm other beliefs are allowed to be sung in schools. But the fact is, he represented a trend in much modern, mostly progressive, thinking that suggests what we say is what matters, not what we do. Hence the example of the man who hangs with Blacks, is married to a Black woman, who spends his life helping Blacks, but opposes affirmative action is called a racist by a white man who couldn't name three African American acquaintances, much less friends, if he had to. And that is just an example I know. It's one of millions. And yes, if you listen to the song, he emphasizes the "You" - I wonder if *you* can? Again, the country artists after 9/11 caught the problem and corrected it. The bigger issue is, and entire generation missed the problem, and ended up living it.

    Oh, and the link did work. Thanks for that. That was nice. Don't get me wrong, I like old John, and always felt a bit sorry for him. I just wish that generation would have done a better job picking its prophets and heroes.

  5. David: Thanks for replying.

    As long as I have your attention, who do you think would've been a good hero for the Baby Boomers--or for anyone?

  6. BTW, John wasn't born in a limousine. He grew up working-class, and earned all his millions through his musicianship.

  7. He grew up poor, but wrote the song from his mansion. That's sort of the point. Heck, if the video had been in some dockyard or slums it would have been something. But singing that from your own mansion?

    As for good role models, I think Gary Sinise is one of the gems of that generation, though admittedly he was on the tail end of it. Though I don't always agree with him, and didn't care for his attempts to dodge responsibility for Iraq, I think the sum total of Colin Powell's life has certainly been inspirational (he's a little on the opposite end of it). Personally, I'm a little squeamish about getting too 'generational'. After all, we bemoan the whole sex and drugs of rock and roll of the sixties, but the ones running the corporations who were selling it were the ones who had led men in battle in WWII. So as generations go, it's tough to nail down.


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