I wana be like John Lennon

(This image is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 License.)

On my last day of high school my art teacher asked us all what we wanted to do next. I said I wanted to grow my hair long like John Lennon. No this wasn’t the 1970’s it was 1989.

I learned about The Beatles after the death of John Lennon. When I saw the news video with people putting flowers near where he was shot I asked my dad, “Who are The Beatles?”. I don’t remember what he said but I do remember him reminding me of this moment later. In a few months I had every Beatles record and listened to their music non-stop. I think my mom was rather infuriated. She was more of a Perry Como fan.

I share this with you to explain how influential John Lennon has been to me. Just thinking about him brings tears to my eyes. Its like thinking about the very energy that transformed you. His messages of peace and love set me free.

Lennon’s music and messages, especially post-Beatles, helped me escape the oppressive conservatism of suburban Richmond, Virginia. Not a physical escape per say more of a “Free your mind and your ass will follow” type of escape. (Though with-in days of saying I wanted to be like Lennon I left home and went to art school in the city.)

I’m sure this story is not unique. I have heard so many heartfelt testimonials about how important John Lennon was to people. So when they make a movie about the man I’m intrigued but skeptical. Especially when a promotions company e-mails me to solicit a blog post on AudioActivism.org.

But today I finally saw the trailer for the movie The US vs John Lennon. My first concern was some movie producer was taking advantage of Mr. Lennon’s memory. I wondered what Yoko Ono’s involvement in this project was. Funny how you can become protective of a man you’ve never have met. Maybe I’m feeling protective of the ideals that we share.

The topic of the movie is the drama surrounding John Lennon’s anti-war protest activities and the US government’s attempt at deporting him. The movie fact sheet says, “…provocative look at John Lennon’s transformation from beloved musical artist to anti-war activist to iconic inspiration for peace that also reveals the true story of why and how the U.S. Government tried to silence him. The film will also show that this was not just an isolated episode in American history but that the issues and struggles of that era remain relevant today.”

If this movie makes it to a theater near me I’ll go see it and report back here. Until then think about how Richard Nixon and George W. Bush represent the same empire building hate.

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