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Overall was John politically good or bad?
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19 August 2012
12.14pm
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jackhayman
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Of all the Beatles solo and together John took political problems to heart. Some of his actions, the Bed In, The Imagine anthem, Nutopia and War is Over can be considered as positive. But the other aspects of his political ideas were poorly thought out and probably a bad thing, meeting with the Black Panthers, allegedly funding the IRA, his political nievety was sometimes clear.
So, on balance was John a positive political influence?
Comment and inform!

Was John a positive political influence?

  • Yes(62% : 16 votes)
  • No(38% : 10 votes)
Total Voters: 26

Your only very small and life can be long.
19 August 2012
9.36pm
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kedame
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This is an interesting question and one I'm not sure how to answer. Overall, I believe John's actual political insights were very narrow and naive, but it's not really John's insights that people cling to...it's the idea of them. So John's actual political contributions are very small, but the contributions people perceived him to have made are rather larger, inspiring other political actions. For instance, the song Give Peace A Chance was written a long time after people had started protesting the Vietnam War, but it was sung outside the White House as a protest song. People then associate John with the end of the war, but he actually kept his nose out of it for a long time. Other people made greater contributions to end the war, but John's perceived contributions are the ones that stick in the mind.

Overall, I think his message of peace and love, even when they were ideals that he didn't wholly carry out himself, have left a positive impact. I still hate the song Imagine.

"You can manicure a cat but can you caticure a man?" John Lennon- Skywriting by Word of Mouth
20 August 2012
2.24am
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Eilwynn
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I think it depends on which era of his life you're talking about.  He seems to have lost a lot of that naivete as he got older, but he was very naive as a young man first getting into politics.  Overall, I think he tried to do what he thought was best and believe the best of people, so I would agree with others on here that the ideas of his messages were more important than the messages themselves.

 

I think Imagine is an interesting song -- because I know someone else has mentioned it on here -- simply because John didn't actually believe in any of the things the verses spout.  No religion?  He went through several different religious and spiritual searches in the 70's and identified himself as a Zen Christian at the end of his life.  No possessions?  He owned several properties and had at least two walk-in closets in his New York apartment complex.  Furthermore, in a 1979 interview, he claimed he had no shame over this and that the minute you start to feel ashamed of how much you have, people try to take it from you.  No countries?  He was the only Beatle to attempt with great effort to completely emigrate from a British to a US citizenship.  Clearly he at least recognized that there are differences between countries.

 

So what's up with Imagine?  Clearly he thought that people can do better and overcome their instincts to create a good, more peaceful world.  So the chorus makes sense with what we know of him.  I don't know if the rest is ambiguous and misinterpreted, or if it was just written at a point in his life where, as I said, he was still very naive about a lot of things and easily swayed by the political ideas he heard around him.

 

Not even that makes sense, though, because the literal world of Imagine -- not an alternative interpretation of the lyrics, but if we actually take them to literally mean "we should do this" -- is a kind of socialism-related idea, and all the way back in the late 60's John was making cracks in his songs about Mao Zedong...  a-hard-days-night-george-4

 

Hm.  Sorry, I kind of ranted there.  I am fascinated by John Lennon's politics. 

"We are all a little weird and life's a little weird, and when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall in mutual weirdness and call it love." - Dr. Seuss
20 August 2012
2.55am
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kedame
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Eilwynn said
I think it depends on which era of his life you're talking about.  He seems to have lost a lot of that naivete as he got older, but he was very naive as a young man first getting into politics.  Overall, I think he tried to do what he thought was best and believe the best of people, so I would agree with others on here that the ideas of his messages were more important than the messages themselves.

 

I think Imagine is an interesting song -- because I know someone else has mentioned it on here -- simply because John didn't actually believe in any of the things the verses spout.  No religion?  He went through several different religious and spiritual searches in the 70's and identified himself as a Zen Christian at the end of his life.  No possessions?  He owned several properties and had at least two walk-in closets in his New York apartment complex.  Furthermore, in a 1979 interview, he claimed he had no shame over this and that the minute you start to feel ashamed of how much you have, people try to take it from you.  No countries?  He was the only Beatle to attempt with great effort to completely emigrate from a British to a US citizenship.  Clearly he at least recognized that there are differences between countries.

 

So what's up with Imagine?  Clearly he thought that people can do better and overcome their instincts to create a good, more peaceful world.  So the chorus makes sense with what we know of him.  I don't know if the rest is ambiguous and misinterpreted, or if it was just written at a point in his life where, as I said, he was still very naive about a lot of things and easily swayed by the political ideas he heard around him.

 

Not even that makes sense, though, because the literal world of Imagine -- not an alternative interpretation of the lyrics, but if we actually take them to literally mean "we should do this" -- is a kind of socialism-related idea, and all the way back in the late 60's John was making cracks in his songs about Mao Zedong...  a-hard-days-night-george-4

 

Hm.  Sorry, I kind of ranted there.  I am fascinated by John Lennon's politics. 

Excellent discourse. These are things that have always bugged me about the Imagine Peace John. He's a creation...not the actual John. I get very frustrated over his manufactured image today. It makes him so one dimensional...and he wasn't at all.

The following people thank kedame for this post:

Oudis
"You can manicure a cat but can you caticure a man?" John Lennon- Skywriting by Word of Mouth
20 August 2012
8.16am
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Eilwynn
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I did a blog post on it here if anyone's interested.  An optional alternative interpretation of Imagine, if you will:

http://aimlessthinkgirl.wordpr.....ng-utopia/

"We are all a little weird and life's a little weird, and when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall in mutual weirdness and call it love." - Dr. Seuss
20 August 2012
8.53am
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jackhayman
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Interesting point Eilwynn, I think John slipped into the usual trap with the 'no possessions' socialist ideology, I think it's easy to say when you have a million in the bank. I do the same, I try to be this hippy dippy minimalist, but I still salivate over any product made by a certain fruit based technology company. I think John wanted people to be free from authority more than anything, freedom from God, freedom from politics, freedom from big business. As said by Christopher Hitchens, any religion is a celestial North Korea. Songs like imagine are expressing this in a tangible way.
two-virgins

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20 August 2012
12.08pm
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meanmistermustard
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Bit of both for me. Yoko and his idea to spread the idea of peace was very good as its what needs to be heard, we need more peace -"make love not war" right? Totally buy into that. Not sure about all the stunts tho but then how else would they have gotten the message out. And Give Peace A Chance is the Peace Anthem regardless of when it was written, it still has a good relevant message to me anyway,

 

As for Imagine, sorry but Yoko and her crusade to shove it down our throats at every point has ruined it for me. Imagine no possessions and what better way to say to say imagine no possessions in the form of a toothbrush, harmonica, icecream, number plate, toasting fork protector, frogleg heater, automatic cucumber holder/peeler, air removal mask...

A childish rant yes but it so bugs me to levels such as these, totally agree with kedame's reply to Eilwynn post above:

 

Excellent discourse. These are things that have always bugged me about the Imagine Peace John. He's a creation...not the actual John. I get very frustrated over his manufactured image today. It makes him so one dimensional...and he wasn't at all.

Don’t make your love suffer insecurities, trade the baggage of self to set another one free. ('Paper Skin' - Kendall Payne)
22 May 2013
5.40am
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Fernando_Gongora
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kedame said
 I still hate the song
Imagine.

Say what?!! paul-mccartney

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