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Woman Is The N----r Of The World
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14 November 2013
4.08pm
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BrettB
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I think i just might like every track on the album, y'know? I adore We're All Water and Sisters O Sisters.

To give the oh so controversial opening track credit, if it had just used 'Woman is the slave of the slaves' instead of that unnamed line, i think it might have affected the entire album's view by everyone.

Everyman has a man who loves him

Everywoman has a woman who loves her

14 November 2013
4.32pm
Bungalow Bob
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BrettB said

To give the oh so controversial opening track credit, if it had just used 'Woman is the slave of the slaves' instead of that unnamed line, i think it might have affected the entire album's view by everyone.

John should have gone with "Woman Is The N-word Of The World." That's my opinion. But hey, I prefer Cee Lo Greene's edited version, titled "Forget You." It still gets the point across. :)

14 November 2013
6.14pm
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Zig
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BrettB said 

To give the oh so controversial opening track credit, if it had just used 'Woman is the slave of the slaves' instead of that unnamed line, i think it might have affected the entire album's view by everyone.

Interesting thought.

From what I understand (could be wrong) the general idea behind the song was Yoko's. I seem to remember John mentioning that when he introduced the song during the 1972 concert @ Madison Square Garden. After reading your comment, I can't help but feel more people would have heard the song/message since it probably would not have been so widely banned.

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.

To the fountain of perpetual mirth, let it roll for all its worth. And all the children boogie.

14 November 2013
6.24pm
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BrettB
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Zig said

BrettB said 
To give the oh so controversial opening track credit, if it had just used 'Woman is the slave of the slaves' instead of that unnamed line, i think it might have affected the entire album's view by everyone.

Interesting thought.

From what I understand (could be wrong) the general idea behind the song was Yoko's. I seem to remember John mentioning that when he introduced the song during the 1972 concert @ Madison Square Garden. After reading your comment, I can't help but feel more people would have heard the song/message since it probably would not have been so widely banned.

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.

Yes. Exactly.

But then again, i'm debating whether or not to bring up Lily Allen in this in her recent music video atrocity. (Which sucks, i sorta liked her.) 

Despite Lily taking the piss out of Blurred Lines, there's still the blatant racism in the video, whether she intended to do so or not. 

And with John and Yoko, it's well known that they didn't mean it. I mean, i guess 'my black friends agree with me on this' was an acceptable excuse then, just not now. a-hard-days-night-paul-7

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14 November 2013
6.40pm
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parlance
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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.

It also erases the existence of Black women. There was a quote made at the time of the song's release from Black playwright Pearl Cleage: “If Woman is the “N” of the World, what does that make Black Women, the “N, N” of the World?”

Last time this discussion came up here (I didn't participate), I found a couple of articles on the subject people might find interesting/help-albumful, as the song came up when a White woman made a sign during the first Slutwalk in 2011 with the title: Ms. Magazine and Racialicious.

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 Vimeo or YouTube.

14 November 2013
6.44pm
Bungalow Bob
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parlance said
It also erases the existence of Black women. There was a quote made at the time of the song's release from Black playwright Pearl Cleage: “If Woman is the “N” of the World, what does that make Black Women, the “N, N” of the World?”

I'd never thought of this. So, I guess this statement is very thought-provoking, in a good way. To quote John Lennon , in his song "Woman Is The N-word Of The World"… "Think about it"…

15 November 2013
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WhereArtEsteban
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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. Yeah the lyrics are really meh... he does sing "slave of the slaves" really nicely though.
John Lennon had friends within the black panther party and I think this made him feel he could use that word (likely wrongfully) and was probably encouraged by some pretty radical people: my roomates father was at the John Sinclair concert and he said they were going around the concert forcing people to donate. He said it was the weirdest concert he ever went to lol. 

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15 November 2013
12.40pm
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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 Vimeo or YouTube.

15 November 2013
4.55pm
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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
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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.

To the fountain of perpetual mirth, let it roll for all its worth. And all the children boogie.

15 November 2013
5.25pm
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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
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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 Vimeo or YouTube.

15 November 2013
10.09pm
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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?

 

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15 November 2013
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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? 

"I told you everything I could about me, Told you everything I could" ('Before Believing' - Emmylou Harris) 

"Don't make your love suffer insecurities; Trade the baggage of 'self' to set another one free" ('Paper Skin' - Kendall Payne)

15 November 2013
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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
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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 Vimeo or YouTube.

15 November 2013
10.32pm
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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 Vimeo or YouTube.

15 November 2013
10.37pm
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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 Vimeo or YouTube.

25 December 2013
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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 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v.....k_tcu1Xq3I

 

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...:-)

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