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Author Topic: What You Think of Him  (Read 3010 times)

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Sondra

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What You Think of Him
« on: August 04, 2005, 02:57:50 AM »

I was having a conversation with an older friend of mine that I work with. She's in her 50's, so she was around during the whole Beatle thing and so on. Anyway, we were on the subject of Bono and his political work, and I brought up JOhn in comparison. Well, she sort of went off on how little JOhn did and how she remembers people thinking they were so self absorbed and kind of a joke. NOt that she was saying it in a mean way, but how she saw it. Now, my not being around back then or being very little, I cannot really say oh no, that's not what it was like. I don't think she's objective though, because she seems not to really like him that much. I mean, we had a whole thing about remembering where you were when he was shot. When I said everyone remembers, she said she didn't and most people her age wouldn't and I only remember because I was a kid at school and everything. She doesn't think it hit people like Kennedy, MLK, or RFK. I don't know. I thought everyone, especially from her generation would remember!
My point is, are we as Beatles fans, making JOhn out to be more of an icon than he really is? I know he is iconic, but I get the feeling I think more people think of him the way we do than there actually is. I don't know. Anyway, if anyone has any thoughts countering hers, that I can use in our next 'discussion', I'd appreciate it! I can't stand the whole, I was there so I know and you don't think. I mean, who can argue with that?

Next thing, what are your opinions about his humor? I love it, but I've read things where people he knew thought he was mean and over did it. Mick Jagger for one said he could only take so much of it. I think he probably gave certain people more of a hard time than others. Anyway, I have a few more things I would like opinions of concerning John, (Yoko obsession) but I'll wait to see if anyone even answers these! Lately, I've been fascinated by what people think of the guy.
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An Apple Beatle

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Re: What You Think of Him
« Reply #1 on: August 04, 2005, 08:12:55 AM »

Some guy in the past gave me the impression that one of his main bones of contention with Lennon was 'How can a man with so much money sing about no possessions?'

I was young with no answer, as like your account Sandra, he was 'There.'

I feel that this was very much the thought from a lot of 'average working class people in the UK.' Strange, as that was what Lennon was 'supposed' to represent.

Now we could theorise for hours about this. You could say Lennon had outgrown that particular local level and was flying a much more 'wordly' banner later in his life. You could say that they were labels placed upon him.

He did have an acid wit and tongue. Too much for some, hilarious to others.......more importantly...he spoke his mind and chose a different path to the normal expectations of a highly successful music star. If people chose to listen and get something from him, then great. He seemed a little bit too wayward for the 'Squares.' Hence possibly, the attitude from those who didn't 'Dig it!'
Is this woman a square Sandra? lol

I think he would have made me laugh, he was a great viber. A natural. An inspiring and intriguing character.

I wouldn't make him a saint though. lol
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Bobber

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Re: What You Think of Him
« Reply #2 on: August 04, 2005, 08:33:08 AM »

I must say I think it's a difficult one. Different times, different thoughts. I don't think John's death made an equal impact as JFK or 9/11 have had. Of course, to us Beatlesfans it has made an enormous impact, but over all: I don't think my mother knows when and where John was killed.
The Beatles and John were still popular in 1969/1970 -around the start of the peace-thing-, but they had lost their great influence on everyday life as they had in 1964, I think. The whole peace-movement was regarded much more radical and extreme left-wing than it is now. Those were the days of the Cold War: everything was much more tense. John flirted with it, had the bed-ins of course. But how long was he really active in the peace movement? From 1969 (live peace in Toronto), till...? Just a few years maybe, I don't know exactly. Imagine, of course. But John's was not particularly peaceful himself. He admitted that he beat Cynthia, for instance. And that's maybe where peace starts. He was more aggresive about realising peace. But then again: it was a different time.
Everything's different nowadays. Bono has done a lot, no doubt, and he has the right tools to do it. Peace is not some kind of curse anymore. But I don't know if Bono is reacting against the 'War On Terrorism'. John did such a thing (Vietnam). Bono is talking with world-leaders, about Africa and all that. But is he also talking about this WOT? Don't know. But again, it's a 30 years difference. There's much more information now, much more communication, area's are much more accessible (how to travel into Ivory Coast in 1969?), much more television. So what Bono does shows bigger as well.

- Anyway, just some thoughts about this topic. As Apps said: you could debate about this for hours. -
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Kevin

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Re: What You Think of Him
« Reply #3 on: August 04, 2005, 08:38:17 AM »

My Beatle "awareness" began in the very early seventies, and even then John and Yoko's bed-ins, bag-ins, acorns for peace etc was seen as pretty absurd. I think most people thought he was sincere, but that it was hippy nonsense.
For years I went along with the icon thing - that John was witty, clever and deep. Now i think he was more of a sad a**hole who wrote really great songs.
As for the "where was I when I heard he died" thing - I checked out some older people who were around when Kennedy was shot - they can't remember the details either. I think that's all bit of a myth.
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Bobber

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Re: What You Think of Him
« Reply #4 on: August 04, 2005, 08:44:26 AM »

Quote from: kevin_b
My Beatle "awareness" began in the very early seventies, and even then John and Yoko's bed-ins, bag-ins, acorns for peace etc was seen as pretty absurd. I think most people thought he was sincere, but that it was hippy nonsense.
For years I went along with the icon thing - that John was witty, clever and deep. Now i think he was more of a sad a**hole who wrote really great songs.
As for the "where was I when I heard he died" thing - I checked out some older people who were around when Kennedy was shot - they can't remember the details either. I think that's all bit of a myth.

Agree with most of this. As for JFK: details might be forgetten, but I think his assassination had a bigger impact on the whole society in the world than John's.
About the bed-ins and bagism: agreed, but maybe John put on a flame of awareness that famous musicians could actually really do something, whatever that was, absurd or not, into a political direction.
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Sondra

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Re: What You Think of Him
« Reply #5 on: August 04, 2005, 09:27:14 AM »

I don't think the Kennedy thing is a myth at all. I mean, I don't say everyone will remember it, but I know a bunch of people that were around at that time that do. The moment they heard it, not always all the other stuff that came after and so on. What my point to my friend was, that my generation, the generation after the baby boomers, didn't ever have any big tragic thing happen by 1980 like the assasinations in the 60's, so Lennon's WAS a big deal. Especially to the kids and teens that were living after the whole Vietnam, race riots, violence of the 60's. We were sort of sheltered in a way. Anyway, the people I know who are around my age seem to remember the day Lennon was killed. We also seem to remember the Space Shuttle and of course we'll all remember 9/11. THese are the tragedies of our time. I can't relate to anything that happened in the 60's, and maybe to those baby boomers who saw such violence, these events (except 9/11) didn't phase them as much.
As for John's political activism. I kind of see how it could have been looked at as silly. But I do think he started something in a way. Which is something my friend rolls her eyes at.
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Kevin

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Re: What You Think of Him
« Reply #6 on: August 04, 2005, 09:40:10 AM »

I agree it was a big deal. I meant more that people couldn't remember where they were when they heard it thing. But maybe you're right - Lennon, the Shuttle, 9/11 I can remember exactly when I found out.
Don't most people on this forum pour scorn on Bono's poltical activism? Ergo John started something, but not something good, because it seems most people don't like politically active rock stars.  
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Mairi

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Re: What You Think of Him
« Reply #7 on: August 04, 2005, 08:06:01 PM »

I always thought that the hardcore Beatles fans were the ones who were more critical of John because we've read all the books and we know what really went on during those times, but after reading your post, Sandra, I'm not so sure.
To me it seems like John has been idolized as some sort of wonderful saint with a beautiful mind. He's always been portayed as a thinker. When I read Beatle books, all I hear about is John this and John that.

The way I see it, he was a bit of an idealstic dreamer. While his intentions were good, I think he had a tendency to latch onto left-wing movements simply because they were left-wing and not because he necessarily felt so strongly about him.
He was a human. He wasn't a god, and he wasn't a monster, but he's not as great as some people like to see him. The thing about John was that he was able to appeal to the youth so well. While both Paul and he were attention whores, John rejected the attention after he got it, as do many people who had his kind of upbringing. So he kind of gave off a cool "f***-you-I-don't-care" vibe.
As for the political aspect, I respect the main ideals, but to be honest, what good is staying in bed for a week going to do? His heart was in the right place, he just went about it in the wrong way. No doubt some of these antics were inspired by dear Yoko.

When I read that letter he wrote to Paul and Linda after the break-up of the Beatles, I was very saddened by all the nasty things he said about poor Linda. Kind of ironic that the guy who was always preaching about peace, love and a brotherhood of man couldn't make up with his ex-best friend, who had been his partner for like 15 years or something.
The whole thing with Julian and Cynthia was pretty bad too. I respect that he loved Yoko and all, but he handled the situation very poorly. He only married Cynthia because she was pregnant and that was the respectable thing to do, but the woman obviously loved him deeply and it seems like he didn't give a crap about her feelings. I once read about something he said to Julian, that he was "born out of a whiskey bottle on a Saturday night" and I remember thinking, "how could you say that to your own son?".
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Mairi

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Re: What You Think of Him
« Reply #8 on: August 04, 2005, 08:06:52 PM »

Holy sh!t that was a long post. Sorry guys.
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Sondra

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Re: What You Think of Him
« Reply #9 on: August 04, 2005, 08:48:26 PM »

I can empathize with, understand, and appreciate the plights of the 60's, but I cannot relate to the feeling of the time. The country/world was a different place and there's no way I'll ever know what it was like to witness world leaders being picked off one after the other or seeing white only signs in windows and so on. I grew up in a pretty calm world compared. That's why when Lennon was killed, I had no frame of reference to compare it to. It was as tragic to me as anything could be. So when I say I cannot relate to what went on in the 60's, it's because I did not live through it. I can look at it in hind sight and see the error of their ways and so forth. There's no way we are going through the same things now as the people back then did. I think it's our responsibility now to take what those people worked for and try and live up to some sort of ideal. I don't see that happening much. We all just kind of take these things for granted. I appreciate the comments. It's fascinating to hear what people think.
Anyway! As for John and Cyn/Julian. I think John was basically a child. He did sort of handle things in a selfish, childish way. I also think though that his mind worked in a different way (he was no doubt a genius) and when he said things like coming out of a whiskey bottle, he just saw that as speaking the truth. That we shouldn't all pretend that things aren't really what they are. Yeah, it was mean, but I don't think he meant it that way. And for the angry letters to Paul, I don't think you can get that nasty with a person unless you feel equally hurt by them. Again, it seemed very immature on his part, but I think they were spoiled rock stars at that time and they both were having a bit of a tantrum.
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Mairi

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Re: What You Think of Him
« Reply #10 on: August 04, 2005, 10:11:58 PM »

Quote from: Sandra
I can empathize with, understand, and appreciate the plights of the 60's, but I cannot relate to the feeling of the time. The country/world was a different place and there's no way I'll ever know what it was like to witness world leaders being picked off one after the other or seeing white only signs in windows and so on. I grew up in a pretty calm world compared.

Oh, I wasn't trying to imply that you couldn't empathize. I just think I, more so than most young people I know, can, um... get into the whole spirit of the sixties. It may have something to do with my dad. I don't know. Anyways, not trying to offend you or anything so don't take that the wrong way..

I'm not one of those people who tries to blame everything on the break-up or loss of a parent, but I think in John's case that really screwed him up. So he was kind of cynical about the whole family thing. It could explain why he behaved the way he did to Julian.
At least he was good to Sean. Giving up music for five years just so he could be with him was a good choice on his part.
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Sondra

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Re: What You Think of Him
« Reply #11 on: August 04, 2005, 11:17:08 PM »

Oh, I wasn't offended at all! I was just clarifying what I meant about not relating. I don't think you can relate to something you weren't a part of. Not in the same way as people who were there. I was mostly taking about the assasinations of JFK, MLK and RFK. Anyway, I went through a hippie phase in my teens, and I went arond preaching that stuff and all. I even wore the Indian shirts and skirts, leather wrist bands, bandanas, mocasins, floppy hats (i loved my floppy hat!) etc. Two of my brothers who are both over 25 years older than me and were just the right age during that time made fun of me like you wouldn't believe! They knew I didn't really get it. And that it wasn't like what I thought it was and so on. Now I know what they meant. Sort of. I'm not saying you can't have similiar ideals and all or believe in a way of life, but it's not the same. Which is why when my friend brought up the things she did, how her perspective was different from having lived throught it, I was sort of interested in seeing how differently those of us who didn't live through it compared to those who did. I feel like I'm not making any sense here. Oh well!!
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Mairi

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Re: What You Think of Him
« Reply #12 on: August 05, 2005, 02:00:29 AM »

That's funny. (grin) But I can see how you would do that, liking The Beatles and Pink Floyd, The Doors, etc...

I guess I just read a lot of books about it (and I mean A LOT) and I tend to absorb things like that.
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Kevin

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Re: What You Think of Him
« Reply #13 on: August 05, 2005, 10:23:11 AM »

Quote from: Maccalvr
I can empathize with, understand, and appreciate the plights of the 60's, but I cannot relate to the feeling of the time. The country/world was a different place and there's no way I'll ever know what it was like to witness world leaders being picked off one after the other/quote]

Didn't we have Lennon, the Pope and Reagan pretty much in the same year. I know the other two didn't die, but we can have some kind of idea of the impact if they had.
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Mairi

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Re: What You Think of Him
« Reply #14 on: August 05, 2005, 02:53:37 PM »

You know, I think it's possible to relate with someone who is unlike you. Or at least understand what they are going through. Did you know that females are better at doing that than males? Scientific fact. That's why there are more female social workers and less female homophobes. That's my trivia of the day.
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Kevin

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Re: What You Think of Him
« Reply #15 on: August 05, 2005, 03:25:25 PM »

Quote from: Mairi
You know, I think it's possible to relate with someone who is unlike you. Or at least understand what they are going through. Did you know that females are better at doing that than males? Scientific fact. That's why there are more female social workers and less female homophobes. That's my trivia of the day.

True true. I think it's the old caveperson thing - woman needed to be nuturing and empathetic. Men on the other hand needed to be single minded and wary of strangers and competitors. This has just mutated into us being pr*cks.
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An Apple Beatle

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Re: What You Think of Him
« Reply #16 on: August 05, 2005, 09:29:45 PM »

Depends on who you are and what you've been through.....I see your points though Maria and Kevin B in a generalising perspective. I don't think it's easy to assume that about all people.

Under the current situation of the world, us (Collectively) mutating into Pr*cks is not far off, if our politicians are anything to go by. lol
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Sondra

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Re: What You Think of Him
« Reply #17 on: August 05, 2005, 10:06:22 PM »

Did you just call Mairi, Maria?? Uh oh. ;D

Anyway, I don't think what I mean by relating is coming through. Of course I can relate to a person I'm not like. Most of us can, or we'd be the unibomber or something. But that's all relative. I mean, could you really understand what a person is going through if they lost a parent at a very young age and you didn't? Maybe you could relate because you can try and imagine how it might feel if it did happen to you, but not in the same way as if it actually did. If we couldn't relate with the older generation, we'd be in big trouble. I mean, how would we get along and understand each other? All I'm saying is, there's a difference in actually being there as opposed to imagining it or reading about it and thinking you can fully get what it was like. My friend and I get along very well considering the age difference and that we're basically part of two different generations, but we do have our vast differences thank God. She cannot really relate to a lot of things people my age have went through as well. That's why there's often a 'generation gap.' Anyway, I don't know if I'm expressing myself well. I don't know. Oh, and of course our generation has events that are somewhat similiar to those in the 60's, but I don't think anywhere near as intense. I mean, on top of the assasinations, there was civil rights movements, riots, lynchings and so on. Not to mention the whole 'sexual revolution.' I mean, those people certainly cannot understand what it was like coming of age during the height of the AIDS epidemic, can they?
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An Apple Beatle

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Re: What You Think of Him
« Reply #18 on: August 06, 2005, 07:45:45 AM »

Quote from: Maccalvr
Did you just call Mairi, Maria?? Uh oh. ;D

 

Woops!!!! Sorry Mairi. All this talk of Maria lately must have made me blunder...Apologies. ;)
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Mairi

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Re: What You Think of Him
« Reply #19 on: August 06, 2005, 06:01:37 PM »

^Haha, I was scared there for a moment, Apps. :)

It's probably easier to relate with someone who is older than you, though. Then you have the baby boomers complaining about the state of society today and they don't even try to look at it through our perspective.
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