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The Beatles as…… jerks?
14 September 2011
11.05pm
GniknuS
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At least we are being civil about this discussion, go to youtube and look up an Imagine video and you have half the comments hailing John as God and half despising him for his hypocrisy. The thing I love about this place is that we can all enjoy their music while at the same time understanding their flaws as people.

I wonder how other musicians are as people, I really don't know many outside of local musicians, or even how other famous people are in real life. I wrote in a thread once on a similar topic that everyone praises Gandhi, but what few people realize is that he refused his wife penicillin that would have saved her life, and then shortly after she died he took quinine which ended up saving his own life. Does this call into question everything that Gandhi ever said and cancel out the greatness he brought to the world? I'm not sure, but if every person were judged by the least of their qualities, we'd be a much unhappier society because what would that say about us? If Gandhi or John Lennon is a terrible person, what does that make me?

I don't believe we should completely forgive and forget people's faults, but like mith said earlier, there are much worse people in the world. We should revel in the greatness of people because greatness is inspiring, flaws are not. Flaws keep us questioning and eventually that questioning gets turned inward, whereas greatness keeps us moving forward towards greater things. So yes the Beatles were flawed, but all the greatness and love they brought to the world makes it a little bit easier to forgive what they did wrong.

I sat on a rug, biding my time, drinking her wine
15 September 2011
7.38pm
Zig
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Great points, Gnik. And I agree we should feel pretty good about keeping this civil.

GniknuS said:

At least we are being civil about this discussion, go to youtube and look up an Imagine video and you have half the comments hailing John as God and half despising him for his hypocrisy.

Throughout all of this discussion, the word hypocrisy keeps coming up in terms of the song "Imagine". Indulge me if you will by reading the lyrics.

 

Imagine there's no Heaven
It's easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today

Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace

You may say that I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world

You may say that I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will live as one

 

I fail to see the hypocrisy. If he were playing this song at his beautiful white grand piano in his beautiful mansion and sang "Give up your possessions, I wonder if you can", then the song would reak with hypocrisy. He simply asked if we could imagine it.

That is the point I was trying to make earlier about reading too much into a song. It doesn't do anyone any good.

To the fountain of perpetual mirth, Let it roll for all its worth.

Every Little Thing you buy from Amazon or iTunes will help the Beatles Bible if you use these links: Amazon | iTunes

15 September 2011
8.31pm
mr. Sun king coming together
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Zig said:

Great points, Gnik. And I agree we should feel pretty good about keeping this civil.

Great points. Civility is certainly needed. But really, this is about as much as I agree with you on.

I don't know how I could possibly care less about whether or not John would really give up his possessions. To me, they are great songs and I simply appreciate them as that.

I fail to see the hypocrisy. If he were playing this song at his beautiful white grand piano in his beautiful mansion and sang "Give up your possessions, I wonder if you can", then the song would reak with hypocrisy. He simply asked if we could imagine it.

That is the point I was trying to make earlier about reading too much into a song. It doesn't do anyone any good.

That in itself is fine. But in Imagine, he's preaching. I don't mind preaching if your actions back up what you preach. would you like being told the greatness of not having sex until marriage by a man who has affairs all the time? I grant that that is an extreme example, but, come on, don't preach something you don't follow.

I tried to think of something powerful and moving… and failed.  "You were given a choice between war and dishonor - you chose dishonor, and you shall have war" - Winston Churchill
15 September 2011
8.42pm
minime
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a-hard-days-night-paul-8 You've got a point there, Zig. But the third stanza

 

"You may say that I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will be as one"

 

Makes me feel a little sceptical about the whole song. If you take it literally, it would mean that it's ok to have your big mansions and closetfulls of furs, and still "the world will be as one" if you just are capable of thinking a world without them. Even the biggest of asses will be able to do that. If it was Lennon's goal to just make people think about it rather than act on it, he sure succeeded.

 

When I start viewing the song as you suggested, Zig, it becomes even more crotesque. However, I do like the lyrics, and I actually try to put them into practice in My Life. I suppose Lennon was more of a realist, at least later in his life.

15 September 2011
9.12pm
Zig
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mr. Sun king coming together said:

That in itself is fine. But in Imagine, he's preaching. I don't mind preaching if your actions back up what you preach. would you like being told the greatness of not having sex until marriage by a man who has affairs all the time? I grant that that is an extreme example, but, come on, don't preach something you don't follow.

I could not agree more with you when you say it would by daft to take advice from someone who does what they are telling you not to do.

If you re-read my post a bit more carefully, you will find that I don't see where he was preaching at us. The words of the song did not tell us to give up possessions. They told us to imagine what it would be like without any. No need for greed… No need for you to covet what I have and vice versa.

I could be wrong here, because I was not in his head when he wrote it. But my basis in my belief does not come from reading anything into it – just simply reading the words – period. I hope that helps clear up where I'm coming from. If you just read the words of the song, there is no hypocrisy. 

If someone wants to read more into a song, they can find whatever it is they are looking for. It works for conspiracy theorists. Hell, it even worked for "those freaks" who thought Paul was dead.

 

*EDIT - I was still composing my response to mr. S when minime wrote the following...

You've got a point there, Zig. But the third stanza

 

"You may say that I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will be as one"

 

Makes me feel a little sceptical about the whole song. If you take it literally, it would mean that it's ok to have your big mansions and closetfulls of furs, and still "the world will be as one" if you just are capable of thinking a world without them.

My literal interpretaion of that (again, just reading the words and not guessing) is "I am imagining what this would be like. I am not alone. I hope someday you will do the same thing (imagining what it would be like). If we all give up our possessions, the world will be as one."

The funny thing is, minime, is your interpretaion makes just as much sense as mine. Again, it all comes down to what someone chooses to believe or see when they read things.

It's like an English Class exercise I remember (there is a feat in itself!) from my old school days. Read the following sentence...

"I did not say he beat his wife." Depending on what word you emphasize, this could be read several ways. Let me show you.

I did not say he beat his wife.

I did not say he beat his wife.

I did not say he beat his wife.

I did not say he beat his wife.

I did not say he beat his wife.

I did not say he beat his wife.

See?

In any event, these discussions are fantastic. Thanks so much for sharing your views and putting up with mine.

apple01

To the fountain of perpetual mirth, Let it roll for all its worth.

Every Little Thing you buy from Amazon or iTunes will help the Beatles Bible if you use these links: Amazon | iTunes

15 September 2011
10.00pm
mr. Sun king coming together
Nowhere Land
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Zig said:

mr. Sun king coming together said:

That in itself is fine. But in Imagine, he's preaching. I don't mind preaching if your actions back up what you preach. would you like being told the greatness of not having sex until marriage by a man who has affairs all the time? I grant that that is an extreme example, but, come on, don't preach something you don't follow.

I could not agree more with you when you say it would by daft to take advice from someone who does what they are telling you not to do.

If you re-read my post a bit more carefully, you will find that I don't see where he was preaching at us. The words of the song did not tell us to give up possessions. They told us to imagine what it would be like without any. No need for greed… No need for you to covet what I have and vice versa.

I could be wrong here, because I was not in his head when he wrote it. But my basis in my belief does not come from reading anything into it – just simply reading the words – period. I hope that helps clear up where I'm coming from. If you just read the words of the song, there is no hypocrisy. 

In any event, these discussions are fantastic. Thanks so much for sharing your views and putting up with mine.

And that`s a feat and a half in and of itself. I recognize the danger in over-reading, I do. But, just humour me for a second. John changed the lyric to Imagine no possessions - I wonder if you can from I wonder if we can. Even he acknowledged the potential hypocrisy involved.

I tried to think of something powerful and moving… and failed.  "You were given a choice between war and dishonor - you chose dishonor, and you shall have war" - Winston Churchill
15 September 2011
10.12pm
Zig
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mr. Sun king coming together said:

John changed the lyric to Imagine no possessions - I wonder if you can from I wonder if we can. Even he acknowledged the potential hypocrisy involved.

That changes nothing about the point I am making. I don't think you are getting what I mean and feel we are having 2 distinctly different conversations. Maybe it's my fault because I am not explaining it right.

In any event, I really wish I just ended my involvement in this discussion with post # 26. Good night all.

To the fountain of perpetual mirth, Let it roll for all its worth.

Every Little Thing you buy from Amazon or iTunes will help the Beatles Bible if you use these links: Amazon | iTunes

15 September 2011
10.42pm
mr. Sun king coming together
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Zig said:

mr. Sun king coming together said:

John changed the lyric to Imagine no possessions - I wonder if you can from I wonder if we can. Even he acknowledged the potential hypocrisy involved.

That changes nothing about the point I am making. I don't think you are getting what I mean and feel we are having 2 distinctly different conversations. Maybe it's my fault because I am not explaining it right.

You`re explaining your argument fine – I just don`t agree.

Edit:

I tried to think of something powerful and moving… and failed.  "You were given a choice between war and dishonor - you chose dishonor, and you shall have war" - Winston Churchill
16 September 2011
3.23pm
Zig
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mr. Sun king coming together said:

Now THAT's funny.

You crack me up. Rock on mr. S!

To the fountain of perpetual mirth, Let it roll for all its worth.

Every Little Thing you buy from Amazon or iTunes will help the Beatles Bible if you use these links: Amazon | iTunes

16 September 2011
5.21pm
mithveaen
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FYI.

 

Again SunKing I'm sorry for my rant.

 

Here comes the sun….. Scoobie-doobie…… Something in the way she moves…..attracts me like a cauliflower… Bop. Bop, cat bop. Go, Johnny, Go. Beware of Darkness…  I believe in SH...
16 September 2011
6.01pm
mr. Sun king coming together
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Mith, I really don't mind. Maybe it's because I actually care about lots, but I understand. And believe me, they seem angels compared to others. But again, I thought this thread was needed. And Zig, I didn't actually mean it like that. I meant the second picture as a "make sure he isn't pissed thing. And Zig, one other thing; you now got Rocking In The Free World in my head.

I tried to think of something powerful and moving… and failed.  "You were given a choice between war and dishonor - you chose dishonor, and you shall have war" - Winston Churchill
17 September 2011
3.03am
mithveaen
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Of course it's needed. apple01

Here comes the sun….. Scoobie-doobie…… Something in the way she moves…..attracts me like a cauliflower… Bop. Bop, cat bop. Go, Johnny, Go. Beware of Darkness…  I believe in SH...
17 September 2011
7.02pm
GniknuS
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I think mith summed the collective consciousness of an entire world of music lovers up in one phrase: "what we have is the music." No, they weren't perfect people...but it's sure hard to stay mad at them.

I sat on a rug, biding my time, drinking her wine
18 September 2011
1.59pm
meanmistermustard
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You do read and hear a lot of the beatles failings but then you also do get to read beatles stories that do show they were good people who did make a stand for what they believed in. Its been reported before in beatles books but still good to read it and remember the good they brought.

Could easily have taken the money and run.

Don’t make your love suffer insecurities, trade the baggage of self to set another one free. ('Paper Skin' - Kendall Payne)
18 September 2011
4.32pm
minime
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Well... Although I think all of them were more or less jerks, I don't care. I don't listen only to music written by "saints". If I were to support their jerkedness(I realize that a word like this probably doesn't exist) and especially the harm they have caused by being such jerks, I would care. But as I see it, me listening to their music, buying their records and reading books written by them/about them doesn't do any harm, so it's ok. It's all in the past, anyway. Well, mostly. I don't think I have anything to forgive them since I'm not personally responsible of their lives.

18 September 2011
10.05pm
meanmistermustard
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So when does it become an issue what the artist has done before they become deemed as unlistenable? (Not aimed at minime but asked in general). I cant think of many artists who are never played due to what they have done (there is definately 1 and im sure there are more i just cant think of any). 

Don’t make your love suffer insecurities, trade the baggage of self to set another one free. ('Paper Skin' - Kendall Payne)
3 October 2011
6.30pm
MeanMrsMustard
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robert said:

I love them and chose to deal with this paradox by turning up the volume. That seems to work for me.

:D

Nah, I don't really have a problem with them being jerks. In fact, I think I have more a problem with the whole "Saint John" thing. Which he obviously wasn't. I think that the ability to separate the artist from the art is vital to being able to appreciate art.

I've got an example that has nothing to do with the Beatles -- Sir Isaac Newton. He was a total nutcase. He hated Gottfried Leibnitz, probably because they had the same idea and Newton didn't want to share. But he revolutionized physics and invented calculus. (Well, independently of Leibnitz. But still. That's not the point. Except for the way Newton treated Leibnitz, which kind of is the point.) So does that mean we can't take derivatives because the guy who came up with the idea was a jerk? (Well, some people might like to take it that way.) No! 

And now I've successfully wast-- er, I mean, enjoyed wasting, therefore not wasted at all, my entire lunch break. 

If I seem to act unkind, it's only me, it's not my mind that is confusing things.

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