"Bed-in for peace" - Stupid or Genius? | John Lennon | Fab forum

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"Bed-in for peace" - Stupid or Genius?
24 February 2014
12.30am
tkj
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My opinion: Genius. He got the word "peace" out which was the point, so I dont see what was wrong with it. 

Any thoughts?

24 February 2014
12.37am
IveJustSeenAFaceo
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I'd say it was a good move.

It got people to notice him and Yoko. Got the word out. 

Who said it was stupid? Doesn't make much sense

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24 February 2014
12.42am
tkj
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IveJustSeenAFaceo said

Who said it was stupid? Doesn't make much sense

 MANY people has said it was stupid. John and Yoko got tons of shit for doing this.

24 February 2014
12.45am
IveJustSeenAFaceo
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tkj said

IveJustSeenAFaceo said

Who said it was stupid? Doesn't make much sense

 MANY people has said it was stupid. John and Yoko got tons of shit for doing this.

I really can't Imagine(a-hard-days-night-george-10) why. 

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24 February 2014
12.58am
ivaughan
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The fact that people are still talking about it 40 years later suggests that it wasn't stupid. 

And, yes, ultimately, to use publicity to sell peace as a brand was pretty clever at the time – especially at a time when the major media was still largely in support of the war effort. It's no wonder that those who had a monopoly on the information at the time moved very quickly to try to delegitimize what John and Yoko were doing.

24 February 2014
3.37am
Into the Sky with Diamonds
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I don't recall it that way.

No one ever called it stupid, just ineffective and/or counterproductive.

There was already a large peace movement in a very polarized United States. No pro-war person was ever going to have their mind changed by a no-longer-attractive-or-amusing non-American rock star hanging out with a none-too-appealing Asian woman. In fact, the pro-war group could point to the now weirded-out Lennon and say, " You see, THOSE are the type of people against the war…"

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24 February 2014
3.56am
4or5Magicians
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It got the word out, and got an anthem that the peace movement is still using to this day. If that isn't genius, then I don't know what is.

It was a couple of avant garde people pulling an avant garde stunt and getting people together to promote an idea. As ivaughan said we're still talking about it, so that's something. Was it effective? Hard to tell. It's a lofty goal. Some would argue that campaigning for peace is a fool's errand anyway. I like to think otherwise.

On the down side, I agree that it gave the pro-war faction a household name to point to, but I doubt that really swayed anyone that wasn't already sitting around smugly patting each other on the back while polishing their guns. It's the same thing they say every time the freaks come out and suggest that violence isn't a good thing.

24 February 2014
4.01am
Von Bontee
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Well, I'm cynical about its ultimate success in stopping any wars either then current or in the 40+ years (and counting) since, because human nature etc.

On the other hand, any publicity is good publicity, as they say.

One day, a tape-op got a tape on backwards, he went to play it, and it was all "Neeeradno-undowarrroom" and it was "Wow! Sounds Indian!" -- Paul McCartney
24 February 2014
5.58am
Ron Nasty
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One thing that can certainly be said is that it provided the anti-war movement with an anthem that has been used by anti-war movements ever since.

"I only said we were bigger than Rod... and now there's all this!" Ron Nasty
24 February 2014
12.26pm
edwardr2000
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I don't think it was stupid. I think a lot of the adverse publicity resulted because there was no quality music produced at the time apart from Give Peace A Chance. Life With The Lions and The Wedding Album were hardly going to endear the critics or the public. An album chockfull of good songs from one of the greatest songwriters of the time might have helped.

 

24 February 2014
5.41pm
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edwardr2000, welcome. (Hey, Von Bontee, long time no see)

I think the song and the bed-ins are two separate issues though they came at the same time.

 

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24 February 2014
6.00pm
meanmistermustard
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I dont think they were stupid or genius. 

The bed-ins were about bringing the message of peace to the fore and to get people thinking and talking about it so they hopefully put it into practice. The former was certainly achieved and regardless of the actual outcome (not much was achieved thru it) i think it was good thing for John and Yoko to do, we need to hear more about peace and how we should strive to bring it into being more often.  The message was good and they got it out there. It was certainly the best stunt they pulled – not that that says much.

As for some to say it was just a publicity stunt to get johnandyoko attention well they would have gotten the attention anyway so I fail to see the point of argument. 

 

"Well, probably we'll sell less records, less people'll go to see the film, we'll write less songs, and we'll all die of failure" (John Lennon 8/64)
24 February 2014
6.43pm
ivaughan
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Into the Sky with Diamonds said
I don't recall it that way.

No one ever called it stupid, just ineffective and/or counterproductive.

There was already a large peace movement in a very polarized United States. No pro-war person was ever going to have their mind changed by a no-longer-attractive-or-amusing non-American rock star hanging out with a none-too-appealing Asian woman. In fact, the pro-war group could point to the now weirded-out Lennon and say, " You see, THOSE are the type of people against the war…"

Hard to say – the fact is, for the first time, a huge anti-war public was being mobilized that hadn't been before and part of it was thanks to symbolic leaders like Lennon (and many others, I should add). Clearly many, many, many people were taking a strong anti-war stance who had never thought to do so before.

24 February 2014
7.51pm
OneCoolCat
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Well, Lennon's fame definitely helped get the message of peace out. At first, I didn't think much about it, then later on I thought it was not too cool because I thought Yoko had much to do with it, but reflecting on it now (not that I saw this happen, I was less than a year old), it was brilliant! And "Give Peace A Chance" is damn cool.

 

 

24 February 2014
9.08pm
fabfouremily
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It couldn't have done any harm, but like someone says upthread, very few people, if anyone, is going to change their mind on war and peace because there's a couple in bed talking about it. In an idealistic world things like that may happen, but not in this one.

The only thing I think it could've and maybe did achieve was people, young people perhaps who didn't really have much of an opinion either way before, to think about whether they agreed with the fighting. These people may then grow up to become imprtant people who have a say in these things, so maybe it did work in a very small way. I'm not entirely sure how effective J&Y thought it would be, really.

''We're just knocked out. We heard about the sell out. You gotta get an album out, you owe it to the people. We're so happy we can hardly count.''

24 February 2014
10.43pm
Into the Sky with Diamonds
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Someone who needs to write a thesis or paper should look up the bed-ins in the context of their time.

I was 15 at the time, and I don't recall Lennon being a forerunner of the peace movement (just 'coz I was there doesn't mean I remember correctly…). It seems to me that the peace movement was well underway.

Also, as obvious as things might be today, it was less clear at the time. The threat of communists taking over the world was real. Looking for leadership, I would have been much more satisfied if Lennon had articulated clear arguments that I could have used against my parents as opposed to simply singing "Give Peace a Chance."

Who doesn't want peace? It's just that everyone wants it on their terms.

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25 February 2014
3.58am
ivaughan
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Well, again, I don't think Lennon was necessarily a forerunner, but the truth is, the Vietnam War was years in before there was any vocal opposition. And it was years after that before any of the vocal opposition was being represented in the mainstream media.

I'm not entirely sure I concur that "The threat of communists taking over the world was real" – in fact, I think a more plausible argument is that the opposite is true and that it was much more apparent that Western capitalism was actively attempting to maintain or further a position of hegemony. That Lennon's point of view was simplistic was very much by design. If you wanted "clear arguments" there were plenty of them at the academic level – most notably Noam Chomsky who made remarkably cogent and extraordinarily well researched arguments (youtube his interview with William Buckley, from the time, for an example). The problem was, as Lennon himself mentioned at the time, nobody read him. And while I would suggest that Chomsky provided a much stronger argument against the war, I can't deny that Lennon probably connected to a much wider cultural group at the time by giving a very straightforward message. 

When you are anti-establishment, the most crucial thing that you need is communication and collective action. I would say that all the people who got together to fight the war, singing Give Peace A Chance was an example of this, far more than a collection of academic articles.

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25 February 2014
12.49pm
Ahhh Girl
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ivaughan said
The fact that people are still talking about it 40 years later suggests that it wasn't stupid. 

[snip]

And Ringo is still singing about it.

Can you imagine all of this coming true?
It's really up to all of us to do.
Just like John Lennon said in Amsterdam from his bed
"One day the world will wake up to see the reality"

26 February 2014
9.47pm
IveJustSeenAFaceo
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I love that kind of reference. Good job, Ringo

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28 February 2014
5.09am
Lennonista
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tkj said
Any thoughts?

Genius.

He didn't think he'd stop the war or turn any hawks into doves. And he wasn't just promoting himself. It was a brilliant use of the mass media to promote a message. An early "meme." Like the 20th Century version of social media

 

 

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