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The Beatles as…… jerks?
27 November 2023
9.49pm
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Ahhh Girl
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Could have put this in several other threads, but I’ll bump this one.

My first thought on reading this book summary today at work was ” I wonder if she mentions John.” After skimming this thread, I’m wondering if she mentions the other 3 too.

Monsters : a fan’s dilemma / by Claire Dederer

Relevant bits:

Can we love the work of Hemingway, Polanski, Naipaul, Miles Davis, or Picasso? Should we love it? Does genius deserve special dispensation? … She explores the audience’s relationship with artists from Woody Allen to Michael Jackson, asking: How do we balance our undeniable sense of moral outrage with our equally undeniable love of the work?

@Expert Textpert, you might be interested in this book.

1 December 2023
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MattWatchingWheels
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The idea of thread saddens me. Have we really not learned to appreciate and respect the four of them as human beings and accept them flaws and all yet, like you would anyone else you care about?

People, they were no more flawed than anyone else. Jerks? Ha. If we’re calling The Beatles jerks, i’d love to see who we’d call a saint, because if Paul makes the “Jerk” list, I don’t know what “Nice” is supposed to look like.

John hated Beatlemania because he anticipated conversations like this. I guess even that level of self awareness and improvement isn’t good enough for some people.

Let them be who they are and were, because whatever flaws they had, they tried a hell of a lot harder than most people.

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2 December 2023
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sir walter raleigh
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I will say its weird for Hemingway and Polanski to be mentioned together in that context. Polanski is an international fugitive and sex criminal whereas Hemingway was a badly behaved husband and father and drunk. Not necessarily someone I’d want to date my daughter (I don’t have a daughter anyways) but definitely on a different level from people who committed actual crimes. Its like comparing Tiger Woods to Bill Cosby.

Michael Jackson is the toughest one as if what he was accused of is true its extremely damning and even given the most possible benefit of the doubt it isn’t pretty, but his work is so beloved that it is possible for so many to have their outrage overridden by their love for his music.

I find this topic really interesting as it isn’t as simple as just separating the art from the artist. My favorite team the Atlanta Braves rostered a player with some rough personal things that aren’t fully known but on the outside its definitely bad, and I had to reckon with cheering for my team while disapproving of his actions. It was uncomfortable at first, but getting really into Michael Jackson’s music made me realize how often we pick and choose what to protest in this regard. Especially with celebrities who’s personal lives are under a much bigger microscope than the owner of your favorite sandwich shop that you support. Its easy to reject media made by people whose actions you disprove of especially when it its personally impactful to your life. But in many other cases, the behind the scenes either isn’t known or the product made by the person in question is something that you’re much less willing to do without. 

A good counter to this was made my Don La Greca on NY sports talk radio where he was chastising Mets fans for giving Jose Reyes a standing ovation following a domestic violence incident. People had responded by saying that the military veterans that we cheer for might beat there wives as far as we know. The difference according to La Greca is that “WE KNOW!!!.” We know what Jose Reyes did, we don’t know about the veterans and that’s the difference.

For the Beatles John’s abuse of Cynthia is often brought up by detractors of the band, while Ringo’s domestic disputes have largely been forgotten by pop culture. I’m sure anyone on the Beatles Bible doesn’t feel strongly enough about John to not listen to the Beatles, I certainly don’t, and think that one mistake is different from a pattern of sustained physical abuse, and also believe someone can learn and grow from their mistakes. John made pretty much all of my favorite songs, and while his personal life wasn’t pretty, he is still heavily criticized 40 years after his death. Especially nowadays people aren’t willing to cut him a break.

Everybody has their own opinions and beliefs on this topic, going back to Polanski, Rosemary’s Baby is truly a masterpiece of horror (ironically a masterful depiction of how women suffer from sexual abuse) but I have no desire to make his movies a part of my regular viewing rotation whereas I listen to The Beatles all the time, have read and re-read most of Hemingway’s catalogue and recently gotten very into Michael Jackson. All I know is that life isn’t so great that I’ll willingly deny myself my favorite music because of what someone did several decaded ago. 

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2 December 2023
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sir walter raleigh said

Everybody has their own opinions and beliefs on this topic, going back to Polanski, Rosemary’s Baby is truly a masterpiece of horror (ironically a masterful depiction of how women suffer from sexual abuse) but I have no desire to make his movies a part of my regular viewing rotation whereas I listen to The Beatles all the time, have read and re-read most of Hemingway’s catalogue and recently gotten very into Michael Jackson. All I know is that life isn’t so great that I’ll willingly deny myself my favorite music because of what someone did several decaded ago.   

Especially when the things we’re supposedly meant to be mad at The Beatles for are either urban legends or vastly taken out of context. They’re not even issues they themselves were dishonest about or not remorseful over.

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2 December 2023
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Sea Belt
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My 2 cents is that if you look at this logically & dispassionately, it’s one thing, and rationally defensible, to say

1) “I don’t want to purchase that artist’s art and therefore support him (or his estate) because he did something horribly immoral” and it might even still be barely reasonable to say

2) “I don’t want to expose myself to the art of that horribly immoral artist and find myself enjoying it”

— but it’s something else, and simply irrational, to try to argue that a horribly immoral artist’s art itself cannot be good art, which is the implication of some people who take a severe stand on this issue.  Then the question arises for the person who feels #2, would they be tolerant of a person who does not agree and continues to enjoy the art of the horribly immoral artist, seeing the art as a separate issue?

It also may depend on the nature & degree of the immorality in question.  The Polanski case is pretty clear: he raped an underage girl, though he hasn’t gone through a trial, we can reasonably assume that’s what happened (given the victim has corroborated it and Polanski as far as I know never took the tack of denying it happened).  I nevertheless continue to enjoy Polanski movies (we could add the slightly more complicated case of Woody Allen) and don’t feel I am somehow committing some moral sin by doing so.  (The fact that I haven’t seen a Polanski movie in 15 years when I belatedly rented “The Ninth Gate” starring Johnny Depp, which I didn’t like anyway, wouldn’t really be relevant.)

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7 December 2023
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Some of the most driven people are deeply insecure and haunted by childhood traumas. John was both of those, “I’m just a jealous guy”, “I’ve got a chip on my shoulder that’s bigger than my feet”, “half of what I say is meaningless but I say it just to reach you, Julia .” One wonders if his genius would be comparable without these traumas. They made John who he was. 

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8 December 2023
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MattWatchingWheels said
The idea of thread saddens me. Have we really not learned to appreciate and respect the four of them as human beings and accept them flaws and all yet, like you would anyone else you care about?

There is nobody I care about enough where I would overlook them being a deadbeat parent and physically and emotionally abusive to the people around them. 

John hated Beatlemania because he anticipated conversations like this. I guess even that level of self awareness and improvement isn’t good enough for some people.

An abusive person saying they’re no longer abusive and repenting about the things they have done does not absolve them of their actions when they continue on with them.

Let them be who they are and were, because whatever flaws they had, they tried a hell of a lot harder than most people.

No, they did not. Most people don’t cheat on their spouses. Most people don’t hit women. Most people don’t choose heroin and alcohol over their children. Most people don’t abandon their children. Most people would never scream at a four year old to the point where they cause physical harm. 

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8 December 2023
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sir walter raleigh said
For the Beatles John’s abuse of Cynthia is often brought up by detractors of the band, while Ringo’s domestic disputes have largely been forgotten by pop culture.

I don’t even think Richy’s domestic disputes have been forgotten. They were never well-known to begin with. I’ve only heard the story of Ringo beating up Barbara and thinking he had killed her. He immediately got help after that happened and they have both been sober since. 

Richy also has the advantage of Maureen and his children having said very little about him publicly, and he lived long enough to create a relationship he didn’t have with his kids when they were children. 

I’m sure anyone on the Beatles Bible doesn’t feel strongly enough about John to not listen to the Beatles, I certainly don’t, and think that one mistake is different from a pattern of sustained physical abuse, and also believe someone can learn and grow from their mistakes. John made pretty much all of my favorite songs, and while his personal life wasn’t pretty, he is still heavily criticized 40 years after his death. Especially nowadays people aren’t willing to cut him a break.

What is that “one mistake” you’re referring to? Him punching a girl in the neck because she didn’t want to have sex with him? Slapping Cynthia in the face? Punching and sexually assaulting a woman at Paul’s 21st birthday party? Choking May Pang and having to be wrestled away from her for him to stop? He may not have been a “wife-beater,” but he very clearly did have a pattern of being physically abusive, which he has said himself. He does not need to be given a break for these things just because he’s dead and a talented songwriter.

And to answer that first part, I cannot listen to Girl or Run For Your Life with how mean the lyrics are and knowing how John treated Cynthia.

 

MattWatchingWheels said
Especially when the things we’re supposedly meant to be mad at The Beatles for are either urban legends or vastly taken out of context. They’re not even issues they themselves were dishonest about or not remorseful over.

Can you give examples of these urban legends and things taken out of context? I honestly have no idea what you’re referring to. 

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12 December 2023
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I think for me, George would have been the most pleasant to hang around.  Good sense of humor, play some ukuleles, down to earth in some ways, interesting chap.  Just as long as he doesn’t sleep with your wife.

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