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Questions about John
23 November 2013
6.10pm
Linde
The Netherlands
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I think Acmac said it pretty well. Cynthia by far wasn't the only person who got hit by John. And I also have a bit of difficulty with his violence. I CAN'T idolize a person who was that violent. When you know what he has done, the whole thing about John being such a peace activist and such a feminist becomes hard to swallow. It's such BS. I have no doubt he really wanted peace, but how can you talk about how much you hate it when people fight, when you have done and still do people harm by hitting them or other things? (this sounds strange, considering he is dead of course, but with ''have done'' I mean before he became all ''War is bad maaaan'' and with ''still'' I mean in the period when he became like that)

23 November 2013
10.49pm
meanmistermustard
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Personally i believe that John detested his actions in 1980, speaking to Playboy in December of that year he said

I was a hitter. I couldn't express myself and I hit. I fought men and I hit women. That is why I am always on about peace, you see. It is the most violent people who go for love and peace. Everything's the opposite. But I sincerely believe in love and peace. 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."

That doesn't seem to me to be someone who wasn't affected by his actions. Does that mean he changed as he aged/towards the end of his life? I would like to think he had (and i know JohnandYoko created this bullshit persona for their entire relationship).

I'm not saying that makes what he did ok, it doesn't, far from it. It's a very difficult area because there is no excuse for what happened but i've never been in that situation so i can't say what i would do if i had been. 

One of the biggest problems isn't what John said or acted, its how his persona and legacy has been manipulated by Yoko over the last 30 years (in other words she talks utter shit) into being this wonderful guy who was all out for peace and love all his life. He really was a bastard at times, a total asshole who makes it very difficult at times to have any respect for. And people read how he really was and they get pissed off because of all the Imagine stuff shoved down their throats.

"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 November 2013
9.51am
fabfouremily
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I do think, or like to think, that as he got older in both a physical and a mental/emotional way, he changed slightly and grew to regrett his previous behaviour. I'm not excusing him, but it makes me feel a bit better believing that he died a better man. Whether it's true or not, I don't know, but I hope so.

A lot of the 'peace and love' image that surrounds John is down to Yoko and her PR since his death. Yes, I know John was all for peace too, but Yoko seems intent on creating this image of a wonderful man that, in some parts, is very far from the truth. I don't know what her reasons are, maybe that's just how she'd rather remember him, but it seems unfaithful to him in a way. John was quite honest about his personality at times, like in that ^ interview, and I don't see why Yoko shouldn't be. He would still have millions of admirers if it weren't for the BS image that she gives out. It annoys me because I feel like they were two different people and, in my mind, she has a big part to play in that.

''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 November 2013
2.02pm
meanmistermustard
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Cash is what motivates Yoko. Simple as. And its easier to market a Peace Loving John than the actual real John who you read about in a billion books and discover if you listen to anything outside of Imagine (the song) – which is coincidentally the brand Yoko created for all things John related.

"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 November 2013
2.36pm
Hannah
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I've struggled with this at times because John is my absolute hero and I love him unconditionally. However, every Beatles fan knows he was extremely flawed and had many personality issues. Some of these we may not have understood fully had John not been so honest in interviews. How many celebrities would actually admit that they had beaten up women? Not very many are that honest. I could never excuse that, or his sometimes harsh treatment of Julian. However the fact that John recognised his failing and was trying to be a better person redeems himself somewhat in my eyes. To hold John up as some sort of hero (as I do) you have to accept those faults and recognise exactly the sort of person he was. He was a human being who made many mistakes (as we all do) and was doing his best to overcome them and put forward a positive message. I also think it's telling that all the people in his life that he mistreated at some point or other (either violently or with his visicous tongue) all still seem to love him deeply (even Cynthia who he treated like absolute shit). Yoko should be more honest about John but I can't help thinking, like meanmistermustard said, that the financial benefits of portraying John as a saint, prevent her from doing so. Sorry for the long post! 

24 November 2013
3.30pm
Linde
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Yeah, the fact he recognized he had issues is a huge step. Like Emily said, it sounds like he died a better man. And that's good. But I still don't see him as a hero. Not saying any of the other Beatles were heroes. I just think John wasn't. Not that I hate him or anything, I mean, I still admire him for his intelligence and wit, and his brilliant songwriting and everything, but this is just an aspect of him which I hate. 

But hey, everyone has bad qualities. I just think violence is a very bad one

24 November 2013
5.35pm
Hannah
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I do agree Linde that the violent aspects of John are hard to accept and I'm not justifying what he did at all. He's just been my hero for so many years that it's impossible for me to look at him any other way. I suppose I must like my hero's to be very flawed! The Julian thing really upsets me too as that's something which has impacted on Julian' s life in so many ways and it must be difficult for him, especially when everyone goes on about what a good dad John was to Sean. He must think, "what about me, wasn't I important too?" The truly tragic thing is John probably would have mended that relationship as he got older and Julian could have had a good dad and a friend. But sadly it wasn't to be. 

24 November 2013
6.47pm
fabfouremily
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I'm not knocking you, Hannah, but how do you define 'hero'? It's not a word I really use, but as much as I love him for some things, John is not the first person I think of. We're not talking about a few flaws here and there: a bit of a bad temper, acts without thinking, etc. but of a large part of his personality for much of his life. I hate talking like this because, if I'm honest, I'd rather put it out of my mind and focus on the positive, but I detest violence and I struggle to idolize a violent person – again, regardless of whether that's just at times or not.

''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 November 2013
11.04pm
Hannah
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I suppose my point is that there is enough about John that I love that I can still see him as my hero. There are probably plenty of people who society calls heros who we don't happen to know everything about and who may have done terrible things we aren't even aware of. Because there have been so many books written about John, so many people giving opinions and supposed facts (simply because he is such an incredibly famous person) we can't avoid all these unpalatable so called truths. Some people even say he caused Stuart's death which I don't happen to believe for a second. Yes, he admitted to being violent in his youth which is deplorable. However, do we believe that he kept this behaviour up, or did he recognise it as a deeply terrible flaw and change? Some people may think he didn't change but in my view he did and was strong enough to admit to what he had done in the past and declare himself a reformed person. To me, that's brave and admirable. I can't change the way I feel about him and the vibes I feel he gave off and the message he was trying to get across. Which was, violence is a destructive and terrible thing. He had been that person and wanted to warn others not to take that road.  Saying all that though, it's a personal thing and I don't hold him up as a saint, just someone I love and admire. I'm not saying everyone should feel the same and understand totally why they don't. 

I hope I haven't given anyone the impression that I condone violence because I honestly don't and wish the world was a non violent peaceful place. Sorry if I have offended anyone. heart

25 November 2013
4.33pm
mccartneyalarm
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I think John does deserve to be anyone's hero. I abhore violence as well…and there is no excuse for it. But, he admitted it and, I agree, he was trying to say that's not the road to take. Let's look at some of our other "heros" in our history: FDR was gloriefied as president, yet he had a affair with a lady for years and died in her arms; Kennedy cheated on Jackie; the British Royal Family…too many to list; Winston Churchill…talk about quirks!; Lincoln suffered from depression and was a distant husband and actually loved another women; Eleanor Roosevelt had a questionable group of intimate girlfriends; I could go on and on. There is no such thing as a perfect person. And heros exist, faults and all. To love someone, you have to accept their faults as well as their accomplishments. If we allowed only perfect people to be heros, we'd have no heros. So, here's to John Lennon. You screwed up big, and you knew it and you admitted it…and you deserve all the love you asked us to feel for one another.

"And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make."

25 November 2013
6.53pm
fabfouremily
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I'm not saying John wasn't a 'hero', but the point I was trying to make above was that being violent in such an extreme way is more than just a little flaw or imperfection, and I don't think it can be compared to some of the other things you've mentioned, mccartneyalarm (like, depression – not a flaw, but a serious emotional/mental ilness).

I love John, as I've said, but this is something I can't just brush under the carpet. That said, I respect that he is a hero to some people, including you two. heart

''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.''

25 November 2013
8.15pm
trcanberra
Canberra, ACT
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Sorry to be a little off topic, but I will get back on – but I just wanted to note that I don't believe in heroes.  There are people who have done things I admire but I don't put them up on a pedestal or anything.  To me heroes are plastic comic-book types (and nowadays even the comic-book types are flawed) and I just can't relate to them as such.

I particularly feel this way about politicians and leaders, most of whom seem quite greedy and following their own personal agenda while trying to convince us they are working on our behalf.  I particularly don't get the whole Royal Family / Kennedy thing.  Same with the Beatles, the more I read about them the less I respect them – but I still love their music.

25 November 2013
8.29pm
Hannah
London
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That's fair enough but I don't mean John's my hero in the sense that I hold him up as a perfect paragon of virtue or anything. To me a hero is someone who touches my soul in one way or another or who inspires me in some way. John (and Paul, George and Ringo) have made my life that bit happier and so I consider them my heros. I certainly don't think they're perfect though and they've all done things I don't agree with. However that's true about most people! To me, the good outweighs the bad. 

I totally respect your opinions though and it's good that us Beatles fans can discuss the bad along with the good and aren't blinded by our love of the fab four! heart

25 November 2013
9.06pm
mccartneyalarm
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Excellent points, Hannah. I am glad we can all discuss our feelings and thoughts, good and bad, about the Beatles. "Hero" is an ambiguous term. You call someone who wins the Medal of Honor a hero, and assuming he is still alive, he'll tell you he was only doing what he was trained to do. Heroes never believe themselves to be heroes. "Idols" is a bad term, too, as it presumes some form of worship. So, I don't know what you call it, but, as Hannah said, anyone who brings such happiness into your life, who teaches you something, who improves your understanding of the world and people, who helps you to be a better person, or who lifts you up when you are down is, for lack of better word, a "hero." That is the essence of John, George, Paul, and Ringo…though I'd guarantee you each of them, if asked, would hate the designation and would respond "they were just a rock 'n roll band who made it very, very big."

"And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make."

25 November 2013
9.32pm
Hannah
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Thanks mccartneyalarm, you've summed up my feelings perfectly. Have an Apple! apple01 Because I'm such a music and film junkie most of my heros tend to be from those fields. Bette Davis is one of my heros and she was meant to be a complete bitch! I just love her films and her don't give a shit attitude so I suppose she's the female equivalent of John in a way (that might be a bit of a stretch but what the hey!) Maybe it's because I'm the complete opposite, really shy and self conscious so I wish I could be more forthright like them. 

25 November 2013
10.20pm
Expert Textpert
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Hannah, I'm with you.  John has touched my life in a very big way, and I do see him as a hero.  I think he was a hero because he dared to stand up for what he believed and got his message across, whatever it took, or however badly he was perceived for it.

He was also a very honest person.  I admire him for admitting his faults, and I don't condone his violent behavior, but I think I understand it.  Almost every single person that he looked up to died:  His mother, Stuart, his Uncle George, Brian Epstein…I think he had an inner struggle with feelings of insecurity and abandonment, and rage and anger about the world.  I would say that he suffered from existential angst.  He was also the product of a violent culture.  He looked like a Teddy Boy, and Teddy Boys would knife you or put razor blades in their lapels so when people grabbed them they would bleed.  He saw violence toward women glamourized in movies as well.

He went through a lot and he grew as a person, and he transformed.  He stopped hitting, and he became a feminist.  I think we have to take his Playboy interview as his definitive statement because that represents who he was just before he died. And in that interview, you can see that he has come to terms with his past.  He admits he loves peace because he was a violent person.

He also believed, as he said to Fred Seaman, that he himself would meet a violent end as karma for the violent things he had done.  And he did.  He knew he was flawed, and we know he was flawed--but he also knew what he stood for.  I think that is why Yoko sells "peace" when it comes to John.  I don't think it's just for money.  I think this is the way she wants to remember him, because she probably has very good memories of their love and their "year of peace."  I don't see anything wrong with that.  John sold peace through his songs, and he advertised peace on billboards.

 

"This Beatles talk bores me to death." --John Lennon

25 November 2013
11.05pm
Hannah
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Lovely and profound words there Expert Texpert. What we're doing is explaining his actions, not condoning them. If a person feels great remorse and changes his ways then I think he can be forgiven. John was human and he was open and honest about himself. Compare him with most 'celebrities' today and the bullshit they come out with. All most of them seem to talk about is their weight troubles, and their new reality shows. That's what sets the Beatles apart, they were actually interesting and spoke about things that mattered. (Whilst also being silly and genuinely hilarious) 

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