Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Lennonism


It was 25 years ago when Lennon,with his wife Yoko, were returning to their New York City apartment, when John was shot and killed. Killed by a disturbed fan, who just that day had received an autograph from Lennon. The shockwaves of this horrible tragedy spread incredibly fast considering there was no internet and basically just three commercial television networks. I remember Lennon's death being announced on Monday Night Football by Howard Cosell, and all the radio stations were playing John's music. The entire world was in shock as they searched for meaning in his death by reminiscing about how Lennon's life had affected their own.

So just how did Lennon's life affect a generation of people as well as generations to come? Just what did this man, who once claimed to be more popular than Jesus, give us that sparked inspiration and hope? I believe once Lennon's popularity had grown, he saw an opportunity to become the voice of conscience in a world engulfed in wars and social injustices. He pressed world leaders to address the young people's concerns in the middle of social turmoil and their quest for understanding of what freedom really meant. He always placed so much emphasis on accountability and the importance of responsible leadership. I personally believe he helped humanity take a few steps upward and showed the people of the world there was hope in a world, which at the time seemed hopeless. Through his manipulation of the press he bestowed on us a sort of moral authority which empowered the new thinkers of the world to believe in themselves and their ability to make a difference.

Lennon gave us hope that love and peace "could" triumph over the evils of society. We believed that a social revolution was possible, and the wars based on greed; the rampant racism; and the materialistic inequalities wrought on human beings by the status quo, could actually be defeated through a united social conscience. The youth of that generation witnessed the growth of a huge gap between themselves and the previous generations. We viewed the so-called happiness based on the "american dream" as nothing more than hypocrisy, prejudice, and hate tied onto the belief in materialism. I suppose I haven't grown out of this, as I still do not believe in this misconception of materialism as an ideal. The word "throwback" comes to mind!

I mentioned above about Lennon's manipulation of the media. I think this remains as one of the most important means of reaching some sort of consensus. Not through the "bought and paid for media" anymore, but through our alternative sources. John and Yoko utilized their honeymoon in their "Bed-In" statement, where they invited reporters to interview them while they were in their honeymoon bed. They used this platform to their, and our, advantage to promote the need for peace. Damn, that was just too cool and extremely radical at the time. Still makes me laugh! This simple media manipulation did so much to spur on like-minded people throughout the world to speak out against the meaningless wars, and show their support of world peace. John and Yoko's slogan was "War is over, if you want it" which appeared on billboards all over the globe.

Although we didn't achieve world peace, there were many changes brought about due to Lennon keeping the issues on the front pages and on the 5:00 news. Some of the improvements we witnessed were increases in civil rights and the treatment of minorities here in the states, better opportunities for women, new political trends, and also new visions of media and the arts which continue to expand and unfold today. We still search for that perfect world as mankind is still plagued by the evils of genocide, murder, starvation, and injustice. The idea of world peace happening just because there are enough people who believe in it, is a little utopian I guess. But I can "Imagine" can't I? I guess I'm just a Lennonist!

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