Monday, December 08, 2003

It's hard to believe, but today marks the 23rd anniversary of John Lennon's murder outside the Dakota apartment building in New York City.

Lennon (along with his writing partner Paul McCartney) is one of the great musical geniuses in history. I firmly believe that a number of Lennon-McCartney compositions will still be listened to hundreds of years from now. Having said that, I must also admit that I was once among those poor, deluded souls who once mistook Lennon's pithy wordplay for profundity.

In retrospect, I realize that some of his lyrics are clever; many of them are inane, nonsensical, utopian blather. Of the Beatles, his radical political outlook once made him seem to me to be the "cool one." Now, with some age and experience under my belt (I was not quite 12 years old when Lennon was killed), I recognize that much of his pedantic politicizing actually rendered him the "idiotic one."

Still, he could turn an amusing phrase and write a beautiful tune, and he penned some of the greatest pop songs in history. On the 23rd anniversary of his death, the Weekly Standard picks apart "Imagine," simultaneously one of his most popular and most vacuous ditties:
Imagine no possessions, I wonder if you can / No need for greed or hunger, a brotherhood of man / Imagine all the people, sharing all the world. . . . Let's begin implementing the third stanza's message by splitting up the royalties to this copyrighted song. Mrs. Lennon, I imagine, will be only too happy to share with the rest of us the proceeds from the semiannual checks she receives for its licensing. In fact, why don't we all participate in every revenue stream created by John's invaluable catalogue?
There you have it. The guy who sang "Give Peace a Chance" and "All You Need is Love" was at emnity with almost every personal relation in his life. The guy who sang about "no possessions" lived in a multi-million dollar New York penthouse with a personal valet, having left England to escape the high taxation that supported the welfare class there. Lennon, while immensely talented, was at bottom a huge hypocrite. Koo-koo-kachoo.

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