Tuesday, May 14, 2013

John Lennon was human. Imagine that.

Something called Listverse posted an article yesterday by Edward Benjamin titled, Top Ten Unpleasant Facts About John Lennon.

The list of John’s sins is dark, and includes, “wife beater,” “pathological liar,” “hypocrite” and other equally nasty attributes. Benjamin’s disdain for the late Beatle drips out of his prose like acid from a wounded Alien.

This type of article, the “So-and-so-was-not-the-great-person-you-think-he-was,” is truly the product of an unpleasant, unfulfilled writer. Whether the author is trashing Gandhi or Elvis or Martin Luther King, it’s a petty and childish form of gotcha that says much more about the author than the person about whom he is writing.

After all the categorizing and contempt, this hit piece boils down to the simplest of points: John Lennon was a flawed human being. Okay. Is it time for cocktails yet? The startling revelation that Lennon had many faults — was in fact like every other human being on our planet — is not news, and no one should get paid money to make such a mundane and pointless announcement.

Benjamin offers numerous examples of Lennon’s bad behavior throughout his life, and I don’t doubt that many of them are true. However, let’s take a moment to think about what your life would be like if you were instantaneously thrust into the public eye and regarded with almost god-like reverence by millions of people around the world. Everywhere you turn there are drugs to be had, beautiful women to sleep with, and sycophants granting your every wish. If you are honest, you know that your personal and private flaws would be magnified a million times and you might not look like the stellar individual you wish to think of yourself as in the eyes of your inevitable critics. And who would Benjamin put on the list of “healthy, well-adjusted superstars?” Michael Jackson? Elvis? Whitney Houston? Judy Garland? Kurt Cobain? Lennon is only one among many for whom stardom was a curse rather than a blessing.

I don’t even know to what audience Benjamin’s piece is directed. Lennon was a “Rock Star,” a phrase synonymous with drugs, sex and generally bad behavior. As far as I remember, Lennon never ran for Pope. Is there some subset of Lennon fans out there who think he was a flawless deity sent from Mt. Olympus? His fans don’t care that he used drugs or lied about his past. They care about the legacy of his music.

Then there is number five on Benjamin’s list: Talentless. “He wrote a handful of inspired songs,” the author concedes, but basically he was a hack as a musician. Average guitar player, poor lyricist, and in another section, Benjamin excoriates Lennon for being influenced by other musicians like Bob Dylan and Roy Orbison. Can you imagine that?

The absurdity of this assertion is mindboggling and I’m not even a huge Lennon fan. The man’s cannon of work speaks for itself. He was among the most influential musician/songwriters of the past 50 years, and to dispute that is to take a flat-earth position about modern music. Again, I would like a list of R&R stars past and present who were not influenced by others. I have no idea who would be on that list.

So to sum up, John Lennon was a flawed individual whose music was only sometimes brilliant. Careful Benjamin, with insights like that you could someday hit the big time, win a Pulitzer, and then, after you’re dead, some hack will write about what a horrible human being you were.


PhantomZodak said...

"The startling revelation that Lennon had many faults — was in fact like every other human being on our planet"

not every other human being beats his wife. only lennon & a few other scumbags do that.

JPA52 said...

You're absolutely right. I'm not condoning his behavior. I'm only pointing out that all of us have our dark side, some darker than others, but it's something we all have in common.

JT said...

So blatantly biased in the selection of descriptors in his article I wondered if Lennon owed his family money or something. Attention grabbing headlines.

But at least one can say is that this amazing Top Ten will probably be Mr. Benjamin's most renowned accomplishment.

What a lifetime accomplishment Mr. Benjamin. I will read your article every night to my young son so that he too some day will be inspired to such creative endeavors.

Doug said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chuck Vermette said...

"He had almost nothing to do with the Sgt. Pepper album" A Day in the Life, Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds, Good Morning Good Morning, For the Benefit of Mr. Kite. Case dismissed.

Anonymous said...

How ridiculous of that Benjamin author. It just sounded like trash talk from a little man who formed a severe dislike for lennon over the years. Pathetic. No wonder he writes for shitty internet sites like that one.

Tommy Bruner said...

Benjamin got it wrong about religion. Lennon tried all kinds of things before he determined that for him there was no need for religion. Either Benjamin doesn't understand chronological-order, or he was deliberately painting a false picture. So why believe anything he says? Where are the sources for his assertions? I didn't see any listed. And BTW, if he thinks the lyrics to Come Together are crap, then don't let him read Collins or Blake or Shakespeare, and for God's sake not Ginsberg.

Anonymous said...

Rampant excuse making. Drunk Lennon and Harry Nilsson go into the Troubador. Lennon has a kotex pad on his head with a coiple of hairpins. The waitress rolls her eyes at him and Lennon erupts, "Do you know who the fuck I am?" Waitress, "Yes ... your're an asshole with a kotex on his head." For much, if not most of his life, in interaction with pretty much everybody around him, John Lennon was an arrogant asshole with a kotex on his head. Talented, yes...successful, of course. Interpersonally? Ack!

Lucifer Reizing said...

Benjamin, you lack talent, notoriety, and can't stand the fact that 100 years from now Lennon will be remembered and played, but you and your sad scribbling will be long forgotten. So you drag Lennon through the mud to make yourself feel better. Now THAT'S journalism! You can play that imbecilic game with any person of renown, even God. As example: Billions worship God, but if they only read their Bible they would see that God is a psychopathic narcissistic monster. What kind of insecure entity demands his own creations worship him under penalty of everlasting torment? He psychologically played with His first two humans by demanding they remain ignorant of knowledge between right and wrong, then placed a tree in the garden to tempt them, knowing they'd give in to curiosity. And He only created two of them, so the rest of humanity came into being through generations of incest. He told Abraham to sacrifice his only son, and just as poor grief stricken Abe was about to slit his son's throat, God said, "Nah! I was just kidding!" God was the original divider of nations, telling the Isrealites they were His "chosen ones," while everyone else were just unworthy "gentiles." What kind of God would be jealous of mindless, soulless idols? He duped the Isrealites into becoming worse than Nazis, commanding them to commit genocide against many innocent tribes, killing all the men, women, children - even their livestock! Instead of sacrificing Himself to redeem mankind, he made his son Jesus do it. God was such a twisted, deranged monster that one third of all his angels left Him! They saw that Lucifer, one of God's highest ranking angels, was the true giver of light because he enlightened Eve about the knowledge God was keeping hidden from them. Many of the two thirds of angels that remained with God also felt Lucifer was right, but stayed with God out of fear of punishment. And what kind of all wise "God of Love" would continue punishing all people today for a mistake Adam & Eve made thousands of years ago? There is not one single human on Earth that loves God out of pureness of heart. No, they only claim to love Him, and try their best to please Him out of sheer FEAR of eternal flames. What would God's therapist have to say about His spiritual management of things thus far?