David Thompson
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December 01, 2010

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Anna

"while his sidekick Yoko collected fur coats"

David, you might like this:

"By the late 70s, a heroin-addicted Ono was working nine to five at a gold-inlaid desk to increase the working class hero's fortune. Renoirs, Egyptian tomb treasures, prize dairy cows and refrigerated storerooms full of fur coats were just a few of the empire's spoils. One day, when an old friend from Liverpool commented "Imagine no possessions, John", Lennon retorted: "It's only a bloody song.""

http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2008/oct/11/john-lennon-philip-norman

Radical!

georges

David

Have you actually read the lyrics to "Revolution"? I believe it was written as a reply to Tariq Ali, who came asking Lennon for money. To me it reads as a criticism of much of the new left activism of the period.

Lennon's politics were confused and incoherent. I'm sure I've read somewhere that he actually voted Conservative, because he didn't like paying tax (though it was Harrison turned that dislike into a song).

Paavo

John Lennon was a friend of Michael X, "the first non-white person to be charged and imprisoned under the Race Relations Act for calling publicly for any black woman seen with a white man to be shot." When Michael X was imprisoned for torturing a jewish business man, John Lennon paid his bail so that Michael was able to flee to Trinidad where he manage to murder two people within a year.


http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-514916/Buried-alive-The-model-socialite-daughter-Tory-MP-fell-charismatic-black-civil-rights-leader.html

Sting

Would Lennon have been so highly thought of if he had penned something about the creeps who chatter about revolution, wanting someone else to do it, though with the chatterers' imagined rights and existing privileges untouched?

Imagine there's no left wing
It isn't hard to do
No socialists to vote for
And no Communists too
Imagine all the people
Free to live in peace

Hmmm, that verse must have been left in the trash

David

Georges,

“Have you actually read the lyrics to ‘Revolution’?”

Yes. And yes, Lennon’s worldview was by turns incoherent and absurd (and as Anna notes, comically pretentious). So again, I’m not sure why Mr Freedland finds such posturing “radical” and admirably “threatening.” Would pop music be ennobled by more of the same? Would politics? I tend to think Lennon was slightly more persuasive when singing “Money (That’s What I Want).” Though even there the Flying Lizards did it better, I think.

http://www.ignatz.plus.com/mmoney.mp3

Freedland regards Lennon as a political “great” and praises his “hardcore analysis” of political events. For several reasons, not least those listed above, I find this rather funny. In terms of politics, Lennon’s redeeming quality - if it can be called that - was in using his own money to fund various disreputable causes. As opposed to any number of modern artists who prefer to use taxpayers’ money to bankroll their gestures of “radicalism.”

It seems to me that if pop stars actually were provocative and politically radical, as Mr Freedland thinks they should be, then he and his Guardian colleagues would be an obvious target.

mlrosty

"It seems to me that if pop stars actually were provocative and politically radical, as Mr Freedland thinks they should be, then he and his Guardian colleagues would be an obvious target."

Freedland doesn't really want radical pop stars. He wants leftist pop stars. Not the same thing.

carbon based lifeform

"Imagine no possessions, I wonder if you can."

Stupid AND smug.

Gaw

I had no idea Freedland had such a strong streak of idiocy. How could anyone take Spiggy Topes seriously?

WTP

On the pro-establishment side of the ledger, story was he provided the NYC Police Department with bullet-proof vests. Of course, he was doing a lot of drugs back then and can't possibly be held accountable for his behavior.

Wm T Sherman

Whatever John was smoking, it must have been some good shit.

jones

Just give peace a chance........

Makes for a better investment climate in any case.....depending on where you puts your money of course...

AC1

http://www.sjtrek.com/trek/rules/

Rule 34 and 35

Justacineast.blogspot.com

Once again proving that "art" is less about aesthetics and more about showing off the correct political views.

Paul McCartney's music is *fun*, if devoid of any great meaning. I much prefer "Wonderful Christmastime" to Lennon's horrid "Happy Christmas": .

David

Freedland’s yearning for political (i.e. leftwing) pop music is quite funny, especially given his fawning over John Lennon, but it’s also a little sad. It reminds me of Zoe Williams’ adolescent blathering about the “free spirit” and “anti-consumerism” of the Glastonbury music festival. Williams assumes that “radicalism” and being “counter-cultural” entails opposing capitalism and supporting CND - whose chairman, Kate Hudson, is an apologist for Iran, a rewriter of history and an enthusiast of communism. (Though Ms Williams doesn’t share these details with her readers.)

http://davidthompson.typepad.com/davidthompson/2008/04/counterculture.html

The idea that one might wish to resist the bien-pensant assumptions propagated by the Guardian and much of the BBC doesn’t occur to her.

Anna

"The idea that one might wish to resist the bien-pensant assumptions propagated by the Guardian and much of the BBC doesn't occur to her."

Guardianistas think they OWN radicalism just like they think they own virtue. So anyone who disagrees with them can't be virtuous or radical. You're counter-revolutionary, David. :)

David

I know, I know. I’m a tool of the hegemon.

Yet, oddly enough, Ms Williams is the one with the Stalinist leanings and passive-aggressive urges: “As for vindictive, ha! Good.”

http://davidthompson.typepad.com/davidthompson/2009/05/stiff-competition.html

And her colleagues aren’t exactly free of similar impulses:

http://davidthompson.typepad.com/davidthompson/2010/06/overlords.html

sackcloth and ashes

Lennon was a hypocrite, and his missus was a charlatan. I can see why they are icons for Guardianistas.

Martin Adamson

And the other artist he singles out for praise is Fela Kuti, who railled against western imperialism despite being the scion of a Nigerian family that had made an enormous fortune during the colonial period, who eventually had 40 wives and smoked so much dope that the fields he grew it on were visible from the moon.

Makewi

Lennon was a musician, and like many musicians, colorful. He made music, which was very often extraordinarily good. Trying to find any deeper meaning that that is just projection or wishful thinking.

"I'd rather see you dead, little girl, Than to be with another man.
You'd better keep your head, little girl, Or you won't know where I am.
You'd better run for your life if you can, little girl, Hide your head in the sand, little girl, Catch you with another man, that's the end, little girl."

Oh you may say I'm a dreamer...

Karen M

David, today's Groan editorial...

"while [Morrisey] is a political weather-vane blown by emotional gales, Marr is a sturdy signpost pointing left – a friend of the great bard of socialist song, Billy Bragg, and the mover behind the Smiths' involvement with the anti-Thatcher Red Wedge musical collective."

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/dec/03/in-praise-of-johnny-marr

Some people just don't want to grow up.

David

Karen,

“Some people just don't want to grow up.”

Heh. Johnny Marr: the vegan socialist who crashed his BMW after another tequila binge.

As I said, there’s something a little sad about middle-aged, middle-class lefties cooing over other middle-aged, middle-class lefties and wanting pop music to reflect their own ideological pretentions. Don’t they know it isn’t being made for them? And then there’s the “great bard of socialist song” Billy Bragg. A man who, in a very serious voice, told Radio 4 listeners that he’d “learned all of his politics from pop music.” And boy, doesn’t it show…

Sam

"the mover behind the Smiths' involvement with the anti-Thatcher Red Wedge musical collective"

And Red Wedge REALLY changed the course of history. Neil Kinnock and the Blow Monkeys – together at last!

'strumming his instrument' sounds about right.

Rafi

"When not strumming his instrument and "forbidding" certain people to enjoy his records,"

Another self-important lefty who can't suppress his authoritarian streak.

David

“Neil Kinnock and the Blow Monkeys – together at last!”

Heh. Don’t forget Lenny Henry.

If people absorb much of their political worldview from pop music, as Billy Bragg claims he did, then the results will tend to be simplistic, tribal and often ludicrous. As when Heaven 17 described Ronald Reagan, a mainstream conservative, as akin to Hitler and a “fascist god.” The object isn’t to make a sound and pithy argument – pop songs rarely do that well. More typically, the point is to say, “These are the people you should hate, or look down on, or be afraid of, or wish dead.” Who could forget the devastating socio-political critique titled “Margaret on the Guillotine,” in which Mr Morrisey mewls, “When will you die? When will you die?”

Stuff to topple empires, I think you’ll agree.

sackcloth and ashes

'As when Heaven 17 described Ronald Reagan, a mainstream conservative, as akin to Hitler and a “fascist god.”'

Bear in mind that at the time this song was written, the Soviet military was pounding Afghanistan to a pulp, while in Poland Solidarnosc was struggling for freedom and self-determination against a regime that was quite prepared to beat to a pulp and - as Jerzy Popieluszko discovered - kill in order to stay in power.

'We Don't Need this Fascist Groove Thing' is a testament to nothing more than the infantile and narcissistic stupidity of those who wrote and performed it.

sackcloth and ashes

'David, today's Groan editorial...

"while [Morrisey] is a political weather-vane blown by emotional gales, Marr is a sturdy signpost pointing left – a friend of the great bard of socialist song, Billy Bragg, and the mover behind the Smiths' involvement with the anti-Thatcher Red Wedge musical collective."

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/dec/03/in-praise-of-johnny-marr

Some people just don't want to grow up'.

There's actually something truly pathetic about Johnny Marr's comment to Cameron - 'I forbid you to like' our music. Mr Marr seems to treat his output not as a public good for all and sundry to enjoy, but as a private good to be possessed and withheld.

I can understand some musicians getting the hump when their music is appropriated for political agendas they fundamentally oppose. I'm not going to blame Bryan Adams taking out an injunction to stop that scumbag David Duke using '(Everything I Do) I do it for You' when he campaigned for the Louisiana governorship in 1991 (although I will blame Adams for writing that aural atrocity in the first place). Both otherwise music - like art - should transcend political boundaries. If you're a leftie, and you discover that some Tory-boy liked your tunes, deal with it. At least someone's still listening to them.

dcardno

'We Don't Need this Fascist Groove Thing' is a testament to nothing...

Please: "We Don't Need this Fascist Groove Thang"

Tom Foster

David,

A little off-topic perhaps, but it does concern the Guardian, and makes a good follow-up to your/their earlier stuff on the rioting students . . .

Have you seen Suzanne Moore's latest piece? Every time the paper publishes something so hilarious you think it really has to be satire this time, they go ahead and surpass themselves. Two small samples:

'I felt this energy walking past the homemade shrine "RIP education" into the Jeremy Bentham room at UCL. I also felt the fatigue. It is knackering sleeping on the floor of a cold building, whatever the cause is. This was a room filled with people living on bad sandwiches and snatched sausage rolls, downed with Red Bull and a rush of hope.'

The horror! Imagine living not just on 'sandwiches' but 'bad' ones! Washed down, the poor dears, with Red Bull!

And:

'How does such a diverse group make rules for itself? While people show their agreement with speakers by raising hands and wiggling fingers, jazz hands-style, all around are people tapping away on laptops. Some are more seasoned than others. Some are PhD students who mournfully say they would just a like a job. Others want to bring down capitalism. As any thinking 17-year-old does. Somehow this iPhone coalition is working.'

I, as a reasonably hard working taxpayer, can't afford a bloody iPhone. Does she really not see what's wrong with asking people like me to pay more so that would-be students can use them to help bring down capitalism?

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/dec/04/students-supporting-psychically-kettled

David

Tom,

That’s the, er, charm of the Guardian. It’s inexhaustibly wrong-headed. All newspapers churn out ill-considered bollocks, but the Guardian has the highest concentration of pathological unrealism and an adolescent quality that’s quite… special.

Sackcloth,

Yes, this is the song the band referred to as denoting their “political awareness” and which at least one reviewer described as “truly subversive.” And it gets even more preposterous with age:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_yZ2Y8K2QY8

You’ll note it also has this – rather stunning - lyric: “History will repeat itself. Crisis point, we’re near the hour. Counterforce will do no good. Hot you ass I feel your power.”

And there is, I think, something a little odd about warnings of fascism coming from people who, in 1980, echoed Tony Benn (himself an apologist for dictatorship) and called for the nationalisation of industry and banking.

Anna

"And there is, I think, something a little odd about warnings of fascism coming from people who, in 1980, echoed Tony Benn (himself an apologist for dictatorship) and called for the nationalisation of industry and banking."

Classic lefty projection. Conservatives are fascists and fascism is bad but state control of everything is good for us.

dcardno

"Brothers, Sisters - lend a hand
To increase the population..."

Well... really, how can one resist such a clarion call to action? It's not just random shagging - it's a political duty.

sackcloth and ashes

'History will repeat itself. Crisis point, we’re near the hour. Counterforce will do no good. Hot you ass I feel your power'.

That is just meaningless drivel. Songs like 'Where have all the flowers gone?' may be trite, but at least they made some sense.

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