Knock John Lennon Off My Shoulder… I Dare Ya.

johnlennon.jpgIn looking for a link for the documentary The U.S. Vs. John Lennon in my recent post on Ani DiFranco, I ran across a review of the film in The Nation. This was published back in September 2006 when the film came out. I did not see it then, but saw it a few weeks ago.

One of the first comments (unfortunately The Nation doesn’t change it to “bleen“) was from someone named Rio Bravo:

Lennon is as dead as his influence today. No one has seen Elvis lately either. There is a message in this in that many of us personal know someone who did COME BACK and his influence is still as strong and considerably just as important as it was 2000 years ago!

Interestingly, I actually got out of my office chair chair when I read this comment, as if I was ready to physically defend John Lennon’s honor against Jesus Christ, or whatever perverted version of JC some warmongering Philistine believes he or she is worshipping. I do not often feel such instant and righteous physical anger, but it happens often enough that it troubles me. When I believed in God I also believed it was not my job to bitchslap hateful scumbags; that’s God’s job, and it is the Devil‘s presence that tempts one to do traumatic violence to vicious self-righteous hypocrites.

Now I’m an atheist, though, so I’m never actually sure whose job it is.

What draws me to this comment, however, is that I realized I never posted about how brilliant The U.S. Vs. John Lennon is, or how magnificently important John Lennon and his work seems to me since I saw it, or how much of a poser I felt like when I’d seen what Lennon went through just to be able to say “stop the fucking war.”

I have never been a big Beatles fan; I’ve always found them sort of the band that people like because they don’t like any real bands. I certainly was familiar with the general topic of Lennon’s political activism, but I think when I read about it I was deeply immersed in the hippydippy world of UC Santa Cruz and saw myself very much as the Oh So Interesting NYC Speedfreak to the Boring Potsmoking Idealists I saw all around me, the irony of which, since you asked, is not at all lost on me.

In fact, the absurdity of my hostility to peace and activism in those days strikes me almost every day now, because bourgeois rebellion seems like the liquor of youth and I miss it like I miss Ronald McReagan saying “The bombing will begin in five minutes.” When it was a joke. Then, it wasn’t very funny. Nowadays, it’d be a fucking laugh riot.

From the Nation review:

Although the Lennon film never explicitly connects the Vietnam war to Iraq, it’s impossible not to think of the present when Nixon is shown saying, “as South Vietnamese forces become stronger, the rate of American withdrawal can become greater” (and then wipes sweat off his upper lip). But there’s only one explicit reference to the present in the film, and it’s brief: Gore Vidal says “Lennon represented life, and Mr. Nixon, and Mr. Bush, represent death.”

Rest in peace, John Lennon, and if the Devil comes gunning for you wearing a Jesus Christ mask, I apologize in advance, because I’m going to punch his fucking lights out.

Link: The U.S. Vs. John Lennon on DVD.

Photo of John Lennon by David Spindel via Wikipedia.


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