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Sometime in New York City
15 November 2013
12.40pm
parlance
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WhereArtEsteban said

parlance said

Zig said

The song has a powerful message, which is why they probably used such a powerful word in the title. Too bad not everyone got to hear it.

I think it could have had a powerful message (had the lyrics been better) and should have been executed differently. It's extremely problematic for a person of privilege to evoke a brutal word as if he actually understood what it was like to be on the receiving end of it. And the fact his wife who isn't Black suggested it doesn't make it better.

parlance

However though- having studied gender and family in Chinese and Japanese traditions; I would say it is perfectly reasonable that Yoko would want John to sing about this. Women in those countries had absolutely no say in the general direction of their lives for like... millenniums.  I've always considered that one like a favor of John's, attempting to use his influence to spotlight a big part of Yoko's personal journey.

 

There's nothing wrong with John singing in protest of the subjugation of women. Again, the problem was the manner in which he chose to do it. To quote the Ms. article I linked to:

But can you appropriate a term like n***** if your body is not defined/terrorized/policed/brutalized/diminished by the word? Can we use it in a context that is supposed to belie gender solidarity, without explicitly being in racial solidarity?

I think not. And I am not alone.

*****

John Lennon had friends within the black panther party and I think this made him feel he could use that word (likely wrongfully)

 

Precisely.

parlance

Beware of sadness. It can hit you. It can hurt you. Make you sore and what is more, that is not what you are here for. - George

Check out my fan video for Paul's song "Appreciate" at YouTube and Vimeo.

15 November 2013
4.55pm
DrBeatle
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Also, the word was not as stigmatized then as it is now. It was still bad to use, but it was more acceptable and still in pretty wide usage, sad as that fact is. These days, he'd have been pilloried for it.

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15 November 2013
4.58pm
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DrBeatle said
Also, the word was not as stigmatized then as it is now. It was still bad to use, but it was more acceptable and still in pretty wide usage, sad as that fact is. These days, he'd have been pilloried for it.

True, it was in common usage in the 1970's when I was growing up, even though we did not say it because our parents told us not to.

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

15 November 2013
5.09pm
Zig
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I remember hearing an interview in which John clarified his use of the word.

While it is true that the "n" word is unfortunately used as a derogatory racial slur, it is not the only definition. I remember John stating that (and I confirmed it in the dictionary) he was referring to the definition "a member of a socially disadvantaged class of persons".

When I heard that interview it altered the meaning of the song for me and made it far less offensive. Having said that, I still think I would have chosen a different word to make the point.

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15 November 2013
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Zig said
I remember hearing an interview in which John clarified his use of the word.

While it is true that the "n" word is unfortunately used as a derogatory racial slur, it is not the only definition. I remember John stating that (and I confirmed it in the dictionary) he was referring to the definition "a member of a socially disadvantaged class of persons".

When I heard that interview it altered the meaning of the song for me and made it far less offensive. Having said that, I still think I would have chosen a different word to make the point.

We think he should have chosen a different word only because we have become sensitized to it.  Actually, I think it is a well-chosen word for the song.  It gets the point across which he is trying to make.  Women are hated, treated as objects, etc. just the same as those who are called N.

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

15 November 2013
10.07pm
parlance
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DrBeatle said

Also, the word was not as stigmatized then as it is now. It was still bad to use, but it was more acceptable and still in pretty wide usage, sad as that fact is. These days, he'd have been pilloried for it.

Actually, it was less acceptable then than it is now, as we now have people trying to justify it as a term of endearment. Based on what the Ms. Magazine article claims, John *was* pilloried for it.

parlance

Beware of sadness. It can hit you. It can hurt you. Make you sore and what is more, that is not what you are here for. - George

Check out my fan video for Paul's song "Appreciate" at YouTube and Vimeo.

15 November 2013
10.09pm
trcanberra
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parlance said

DrBeatle said

Also, the word was not as stigmatized then as it is now. It was still bad to use, but it was more acceptable and still in pretty wide usage, sad as that fact is. These days, he'd have been pilloried for it.

Actually, it was less acceptable then than it is now, as we now have people trying to justify it as a term of endearment. Based on what the Ms. Magazine article claims, John *was* pilloried for it.

parlance

I believe Yoko had already used it as the title of a magazine article some time before; perhaps the reaction then made them use it again?

 

15 November 2013
10.10pm
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parlance said

DrBeatle said

Also, the word was not as stigmatized then as it is now. It was still bad to use, but it was more acceptable and still in pretty wide usage, sad as that fact is. These days, he'd have been pilloried for it.

Actually, it was less acceptable then than it is now, as we now have people trying to justify it as a term of endearment. Based on what the Ms. Magazine article claims, John *was* pilloried for it.

parlance

How do you justify the n word a term as a term of endearment? 

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15 November 2013
10.20pm
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meanmistermustard said

parlance said

DrBeatle said

Also, the word was not as stigmatized then as it is now. It was still bad to use, but it was more acceptable and still in pretty wide usage, sad as that fact is. These days, he'd have been pilloried for it.

Actually, it was less acceptable then than it is now, as we now have people trying to justify it as a term of endearment. Based on what the Ms. Magazine article claims, John *was* pilloried for it.

parlance

How do you justify the n word a term as a term of endearment? 

Generally, black people call each other that all the time, but white people are not allowed to say the word aloud even if quoting someone else who said it.

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

15 November 2013
10.25pm
parlance
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Zig said

I remember hearing an interview in which John clarified his use of the word.

While it is true that the "n" word is unfortunately used as a derogatory racial slur, it is not the only definition. I remember John stating that (and I confirmed it in the dictionary) he was referring to the definition "a member of a socially disadvantaged class of persons".

When I heard that interview it altered the meaning of the song for me and made it far less offensive. Having said that, I still think I would have chosen a different word to make the point.

Sorry for the multiple replies, I'm on my phone. But if John said that, it was incredibly disengenous. He knew very well the impact of the song depended on the definition of the word as a racial slur, and it sounds like he chickened out when he was confronted on it, falling back on Black best friends and conveniently obscure definitions to defend himself. Edit: Also, he neglected to mention that the little-known definition derived from the original.

parlance

Beware of sadness. It can hit you. It can hurt you. Make you sore and what is more, that is not what you are here for. - George

Check out my fan video for Paul's song "Appreciate" at YouTube and Vimeo.

15 November 2013
10.32pm
parlance
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Meanmistermustard: I don't.

parlance

Beware of sadness. It can hit you. It can hurt you. Make you sore and what is more, that is not what you are here for. - George

Check out my fan video for Paul's song "Appreciate" at YouTube and Vimeo.

15 November 2013
10.37pm
parlance
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Expert Textpert said

We think he should have chosen a different word only because we have become sensitized to it.  Actually, I think it is a well-chosen word for the song.  It gets the point across which he is trying to make.  Women are hated, treated as objects, etc. just the same as those who are called N.

Those on the receiving end of the word were already sensitized to it.

And again, the song erases the existence of Black women.

parlance

Beware of sadness. It can hit you. It can hurt you. Make you sore and what is more, that is not what you are here for. - George

Check out my fan video for Paul's song "Appreciate" at YouTube and Vimeo.

25 December 2013
2.39pm
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Here's a video on YouTube with a great performance of 'Woman Is The N***** Of The World' by John & Elephant's Memory from the Dick Cavett Show 

 

where John also explains why he used the N-Word to get his point across, some who are against its usage may change their minds after hearing him speak here.

 

The 'Sometime In New York City' album was a little too political for most fan's ears back in 1972, it's why the 'Power To The People' single wasn't well received either.  Although John had had some success mixing music & politics before with 1969's 'Give Peace A Chance', the message was much more positive, even 'Instant Karma's somewhat vindictive "Instant Karma's Gonna Get You!" was rounded off with the very hopeful "We All Shine On" chorus.  But with the rants offered on 'Sometime In New York City', John came out swinging and painted much more bleak imagery.  If you can get past this, there's plenty of nice musical moments that are pure Lennon.  The live version of 'Cold Turkey' alone is worth the price of admission, it's far superior to the 'Live Peace In Toronto' or 'Live In New York City' versions.  I enjoy this album very much and if it's to be his "worst" then it's only because the others are so darned good, in my opinion...:-)

25 December 2013
2.58pm
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Did someone offended by the N word cut off the video before it finished or did they just not like the song very much? There's censorship for you.a-hard-days-night-john-6 

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25 December 2013
3.04pm
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Sorry about that, this one contains the full song

but not quite as much dialogue at the beginning...:-)

1 July 2014
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I'm re-listening to disc 1 and just paying attention to the music and it really rocks. I love Yoko's songs. Is this the only album where John and Yoko sing together at the same time? A lot of the songs on this album have a really hard, gritty sound that you don't find on other albums. We're All Water is genius.

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2 July 2014
12.56am
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I like this album the most out of all of johns albums and It has my favorite solo John song (Though it is by Yoko)

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2 July 2014
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I didn't hate this album as much as I'd expected to. There are some great rockers, and Yoko's songs are tolerable for the most part. We're All Water is very good until she screeches. Not bad considering all I'd heard from her was from Live Peace, when she "does her thing all over you." I remember liking Attica State, NYC, and John Sinclair the most. Even though it wasn't on the album, special mention goes to Power To The People, which may be my favorite solo John song.

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trcanberra
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3 July 2014
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I really like the John section. Once Yoko joins though...

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3 July 2014
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Expert Textpert said
I'm re-listening to disc 1 and just paying attention to the music and it really rocks. I love Yoko's songs. Is this the only album where John and Yoko sing together at the same time? A lot of the songs on this album have a really hard, gritty sound that you don't find on other albums. We're All Water is genius.

Agree re the 'it really rocks' part which is why I have always liked it more than most, as per my original post.

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