Wednesday, December 8, 2010


Nobody reading this blog should need a reminder of what today is. We all know it was on this day in 1980 that John Lennon, then just a 40 year-old New Yorker happily weighed down by the demands of both fatherhood and a newly revived music career, perished at the hands of Mark David Chapman. Right when John was finding his greatest measure of contentment and satisfaction in life, he was robbed of everything. And just like that, The Beatles were irrevocably shattered.

There are many versions of John Lennon for fans to admire and worship; he's something of a Rorschach test. I prefer the one that's de-romanticized, un-deified, and stripped of politics. When I think of John Lennon, I think of a brilliant songwriter - he was the force behind so much incredible music - and a middle-aged husband and father who was determined not to repeat the grave mistakes of his past. The crusader for peace and justice? That Lennon doesn't appeal to me in the same way, as it seems constructed not purely of flesh and blood but rather a lot of fashionable posing and myth-making. (And I'm typically leery of utopianism.) I most respect the Lennon who said to his fans, "I’m not here for you. I’m here for me and her (Yoko) and the baby." To each his own, obviously.

Of course, through his music, John will always be here for us. Through his music, we can always celebrate the complex, contradictory, obscenely gifted, witty, emotionally messy, unfailingly human, and loving individual that John Winston Ono Lennon was.


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