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    • Politics Series: Power
      (Previous: Economy) (Introduction and Table of Contents) We have seen that who gets how much of what is a political decision: that the economy and economics is downstream from politics. Power is the ability to make people do what you want, or not do what you don’t want. Ideology determines what the good life is and power determines who lives it. All politica […]
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Watching the Wheels (Open Thread)

Spain, 1966

John Lennon

October 9, 1940 — December 8, 1980

I missed John Lennon’s birthday in my roundup! He would have been 70 years old today.

Lennon left us before I was born. I said hello hello to the world a few months after his death and just before the Reagan assassination attempt, which was also around the time of the posthumous release of Lennon’s “Watching the Wheels.” So I always remember that milestone instead of his birthday and death.

Here is Yoko’s birthday message to John, via the johnlennon youtube page. And, the lovely “Lucy” track released by Julian Lennon and James Scott Cook last December. From wikipedia:

The song is a sort of follow-up to The Beatles’ “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds”, originally inspired by a drawing by a then four-year-old Lennon given to his father. The drawing was inspired by Lucy Vodden, a child friend of Lennon, and this song is dedicated to her.

An AOL exclusive interview with Sean Lennon published yesterday: “Sean Lennon on Singing John’s Songs, Making Music and Yoko Ono’s Legacy.”

From gather.com, yesterday as well:

The fingerprints of John Lennon of the Beatles were going to be up for auction tomorrow in New York, but it looks like that’s been stopped by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The fingerprints would have sold for quite a lot of money as well, over $100,000 if the had gone to auction. However, that’s not going to happen because they may be “part of Lennon’s file” with the FBI.

Lennon’s legacy in his own words,” via the Vancouver Sun:

Lennon’s politics, as evidenced by Revolution, written in 1968 as the Vietnam War dragged on: “The lyrics stand today (1980). They’re still my feeling about politics. I want to see the plan. I want to know what you’re going to do after you’ve knocked it all down. I mean, can’t we use some of it? What’s the point of bombing Wall Street? If you want to change the system, change the system. It’s no good shooting people.”

Violence toward women and the lines “I used to be cruel to my women/I beat her and kept her apart from the things that she loved” from Getting Better: “I used to be cruel to my woman. I couldn’t express myself and I hit. I fought men and I hit women. I am a violent man who has learned not to be violent and regrets his violence. I will have to be a lot older before I can face in public how I treated women as a youngster.”

The BBC’s Lorna Gordon reported this about an hour ago:

A sculpture in honour of John Lennon has been unveiled in Liverpool, on what would have been his 70th birthday.

The event was attended by the star’s first wife Cynthia and his son Julian Lennon, who said it was not a day to be morbid, but one to celebrate his music and his message of peace.

Finally, this from Alternet, cross-posted at Tikkun Daily, a couple brief excerpts from a piece entitled “Instruments of Peace: St Francis, John Lennon, and Us” by Valerie Elverton-Dixon:

More than seven hundred years later, a British rock star wrote anthems of peace. John Lennon (1940-1980 C.E.) could not be more different from St. Francis. He was born to working class parents who left him to be reared by an aunt and uncle. He became a member of one of the most important rock bands in the twentieth century. He was adored and reviled. He wrote songs that made people think and feel, laugh and cry. He was brave enough to expose his own vulnerabilities, and he challenged a nation over its militarism. He submerged himself in his own hedonistic excess for 18 months, a period he called his “lost weekend” and re-emerged with a fresh commitment to his family, to the cause of peace and to his art.

St. Francis emerged from a room naked and free. John Lennon was also willing to expose is naked self, to go where his person truth led him and in so doing he was also free. It is this personal sense of liberation that can lead us to peace. And this has nothing to do with the things we so often think are important to life. This peace born of freedom is a kind of generosity. It is a sharing. It is an offering. It is authentic holiness.

Peace is more than a dream. It is a real possibility for humankind and for creation. St. Francis gave us a prayer and John Lennon gave us songs to aid our commitment and our vision. Peace is possible. Imagine.

Happy Birthday John.

Incidentally, as I mentioned in my roundup this morning, we just got news that the Arab League is giving the US another month to save Middle East peace talks.

I know it’s a long shot, but I’ll be Watching the Wheels and hoping against Hope… consider this an open thread, enjoy, and share your own picks:

49 Responses

  1. for Dakinikat and the Confluence:

  2. Instant Karma

  3. I was 20 years old when Lennon died. It was only three years after Elvis was kidnapped by the UFO.

    I was never a big fan of either one of them and they both seemed so “old” to me back then.

    Lennon was forty and Elvis was forty-two.

    Now I’m fifty and I realize how tragically young they were when they died..

    • Nicely said.

    • Funny, the evening Lennon died, I was 22, taking community college classes after work, doodling a personal memorial to him while the teacher lectured. I was terribly sad. But I’d been a devoted Beatles fan for ten years by then.


  4. I love John Lennon. And there’s another early peacenik-activist singer I adore, Joan Baez. (What a lovely, flute-like voice.)

  5. RIP John… and Jimi, Jim, Janis…

    She didn’t need pyrotechnics, glamor, back-up dancers or overproduction. It was just sheer raw talent, like so many of the early rockers.

    • Don’t you know that Jimi was anti-American, with his trashing of the star spangled banner! /snark.

      But this is actually something one of the goofballs on a camera forum said.

      As a child, it sounded like noise, but in hind sight I think it was one of the best musical works made.

    • Thanks for posting ! Love Janis

  6. The “dream was over” when RR got elected.

  7. NK isn’t crazy after all.

    US often weighed North Korea `nuke option’ (AP)

    AP – From the 1950s Pentagon to today’s Obama administration, the United States has repeatedly pondered, planned and threatened use of nuclear weapons against North Korea, according to declassified and other U.S. government documents released in this 60th-anniversary year of the Korean War.


    Yoshiki Mine of Japan’s Canon Institute for Global Studies, who as a diplomat dealt with both disarmament and North Korea, said the northern regime feels its existence as a nation is threatened.


    • Unfortunately neither is Iran…it seems the only way to stop us is to have these weapons…That’s how one knew Saddam didn’t have WMD. Because we invaded. We would never have done that if he had those weapons. And since we sold to him most of those weapons, we knew exactly what he had and didn’t have. After 11 years of UN santions, we knew the WMD we sold him before were no longer good.

  8. Spammy got me.

  9. Thanks for the post. Very nice.

  10. The pogues – The Band Played Waltzing Matilda

  11. When I read about the tragic suicide by the young man who had been unknowingly filmed and exposed while making love – the most private of the private! – this played in my head:

    “All the lonely people, where do they all come from?
    All the lonely people, where do they all belong?”

    Not the first time Lennon-McCartney lyrics have come to mind.

  12. Thanks wonk. This is a great post to wake up to. We can do better.

  13. OT: It’s 10/10/10

  14. great videos :mrgreen:

  15. Off topic – where are the ‘snaps’ on links?

  16. By most accounts, John Lennon was not a very nice person. He was addicted to heroin for nearly the entire time he and Yoko were together, including the last years of the Beatles, and his solo work showed his true talent (or lack thereof). Ringo’s albums out-sold his. He gave up his efforts as a revolutionary in order to gain US residency. His insistence that Allen Klein manage the group created such a rift between himself and Paul McCartney that it ensured the group would never play together again. His juvenile jabs at McCartney reveal an insecure, nasty person not worth idolizing.

    • How incredibly petty and mean spirited. You’re not much different from the people who show up at military funerals waving signs that say “God hates f*gs”

      • I don’t think idolizing musical public figures is all that healthy no matter who they are. Look where it got people with Obama. They are all flawed, not always as great as the idolation ever belies. I think “stop it, he weren’t no saint” is a healthy comment.

        I’m not sure how you can say that criticizing a public figure 30-40 years after their deaths is the same as standing and saying bad things at a private person’s funeral. The analogy just isn’t there.

        Also, I saw someone on another forum say, “where would the world be without John Lennon”. Really, would his non-existence have changed the world? Now if Rosa Parks hadn’t existed, the world may very well have been a different place.

        You’ll have to forgive me for this unpopular attitude on your forum. I don’t drink koolaid in any flavor.

    • So don’t idolize him. I don’t think putting up some links from the news about a story that was in the news yesterday is idolizing anyway. It’s not like we have a regular John Lennon commentary going on here, sheesh.

    • Imagine if there were no hate.

  17. Love Lennon.

    Thanks for the thread.

    • You’re very welcome. Glad a few people appreciated it. I don’t think Lennon was a saint. Hell, I wasn’t around for any of it. But, the body of work lives on and some of us still are imagining. That speaks for itself.

  18. GOP Blasted For “Hick” Casting Call

    Though the ad has been withdrawn, locals are hitting the streets to protest.

  19. Time for a new thread…

  20. News post up

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