If my anti-Star Wars rant alienated you, this’ll send you running for the safety of the Huffington Post: I fucking hate the Beatles.
Sharing the things you love with your children is a dangerous thing. Your passion becomes their default setting. While I was growing up, everyone, parents, teachers, counselors; EVERYONE ADORED THE BEATLES.
Everyone, of course, except me.
If you break down why everybody was obsessed with the Beatles in 1975, you’ll see, again and again, people swept up in the throes of a cultural mania. I never experienced the Fab Four in concert or on TV, so to me, they were a quartet of English blokes that could play a catchy tune while dressed identically and standing sort of still, who made silly movies. Meanwhile, every time I heard the Rolling Stones, my soul got a raging hard-on.
As I got older, the Beatles were the “good guys” and the Stones were the “bad”; this despite John Lennon’s violent proclivities towards women*. The Stones were gross, and made references to black chicks and Satan, so their fans got the dirty looks. Then “Hey Jude” would come on the radio, and everyone would get all misty-eyed and solemn, while I hunt for a shotgun to gargle. That song, “Let It Be” and “Imagine” are as joyful to hear as the death rattle of a beloved grandparent.
*Lennon’s abuse was never chronicled or exaggerated in a hit movie, where he was portrayed by a much taller actor. Although to be fair, Ike Turner wasn’t assassinated (aside from his character).
Up until around the time I started Bands I Useta Like, I kept my ungroovy opinions about the Beatles mostly to myself. This is because I felt like a freak, thanks to the mop-top obsessions of almost everyone where I grew up. The first time I heard the Meatmen’s “One Down Three To Go”, I was utterly dumbfounded. Here was a song celebrating the assassination of John Lennon. I didn’t even know you were allowed to joke like that. I thought for sure, the Beatles fanatics would have you put in a jail in an octopus’s garden or some shit, just for thinking that kind of thing.
One of the greatest pieces of satire I’ve ever read came from (of course) the old National Lampoon; “Magical Misery Tour”, written by my hero Michael O’Donoghue, and illustrated in the Yellow Submarine style by the great Randy Enos. This is an artifact from a time before people equated Paul McCartney with the Pope.
What a difference 40 years of reverence makes, huh? Again, I’ll grant you that Lennon’s assassination made all things Beatle automatically tragic. But still, making these sort of cracks nowadays would be inviting bushels of hate mail. There are enough things in life to be serious about. I think you can lighten up when one person out of a billion slags your favorite pop combo.
For example, let me relate a fond high school memory to you. This memory is so fond that I wasn’t even present for it; it was related to me by one of the friends who was. In late 1988, a bunch of my buddies, Beatle-lovers all, went to the theatre to take in the John Lennon biopic Imagine.
I detested the song even in high school, so I steered far clear (plus I wasn’t invited anyway). Picture my chums taking in this flick, which inevitably lurches to its horrific conclusion; Lennon’s shooting at the hands of Mark David Chapman (a mere eight years previous!). This is represented by Lennon’s glasses, tumbling, tumbling through the air in slow motion.
The entire theatre falls silent. Tumbling, tumbling glasses.
The first sobs are heard from the audience. Otherwise, silence.
The glasses finally hit the sidewalk, shattering one lens. More sobs now.
The silence breaks as well, with the loud voice of my friend Pete, who announces without a hint of sadness, “He should get plastic lenses. They don’t break as easy.”
Like the blast of a bomb my friends erupt in uproarious laughter. Immediately after the killing of John Lennon. Unable to stop, the five of them were nearly chased from the building by weeping moviegoers.
I’m always gonna side with the Petes of the world. Reverence frightens me. I see behaviors in “new Star Wars” defenders that I saw in Scientologists ten years ago; an eagerness to attack and destroy anyone who disagrees, even using slander. If you paid attention to the last page of BIUL #1, and got my secret message, you should already be suspicious of where your entertainment comes from, and how you get it. Before you swing at me, remember that you’re reading the words of a man who, at this moment, is bought and paid for by nobody. If you want to throw your hard-earned money into a bottomless crevasse of some bloodless company’s money, that’s your prerogative.
I’m just sitting here appreciating the irony that one of my favorite songs ever was the creation of the late John Lennon. Who I’d probably get along with better than you, because I wouldn’t be the one kissing his ass. We’d be scribbling cartoons and doodles, and I’d say, “look mate, about this Yoko character…”
“…you just have to let it go.”