Wednesday, December 08, 2004

No Disrespect Intended

Days like this one are hard for me. I know that there are probably millions of people today who are remembering John Lennon. They remember (in no particular order) his music, his writings, his interviews, the "British Invasion," Yoko Ono, the Beatles breaking up, and, of course, his senseless death at the hands of a whacked out fan.

Me? I'm trying just as hard not to have to think about any of that.

It really has nothing to do with my so-called musical eliteism. Yes, I have interests that do not range far afield from my classical roots. However, I grew up during the sixties and seventies, and Lennon's influence was everywhere. One could only ignore it to a point. The man himself I was able to ignore completely, and I've never really regretted it. I just can't see what all the fuss was about.

Visionary. Yeah, well, so was Lincoln, but I don't hear people get all choked up about his getting blown away in Ford's Theatre in 1865. Maybe in another hundred years, they'll stop getting choked up about Lennon, too.

Talented. Depends on taste, really. He wrote stuff that apparently resonated with a large portion of youth during a turbulent period in history. Some of them still have a few surviving brain cells after Lennon and his cronies pointed the way to chemical-induced enlightenment. I much prefer losing my brain cells the natural way.

Trailblazer. Um, really, if you read his interviews (I have, believe it or not. It was the only book available on a cold morning when I needed some mental stimulation. Call it "historical research.") you'll find that everything he did initially was an accident of circumstance, mixed with a healthy dose of rebellion from whatever his limited understanding defined as "the establishment." Once he became an icon, he became a trailblazer because he knew people would follow him. Didn't he once proclaim himself to be more relevant than Christ? No, John Muir was a trailblazer. Lennon was more of a slash-and-burn kind of guy.

I guess I have no soul. That's probably the bottom line here. I've never been able to make golden calves out of pop icons, and that's where I went wrong in life. I enjoy the music in limited doses, but I just don't see what the big deal is when it comes to the artists. Look at Streisand, for pete's sake. No, scratch that. Don't. I don't have enough liability insurance.

Of course, any sympathy I might have had for Lennon died when he did, leaving us Yoko Ono to keep reminding us what a god Lennon was. For that, I will never forgive him.

Let it be? Yeah, right.

UPDATE: I knew I wouldn't be the only one who couldn't care less about this particular anniversary.

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