Wednesday, June 29, 2011

John Lennon … Reagan Republican?

John Lennon … Reagan Republican?
posted at 2:00 pm on June 29, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

Second look at John Lennon? If his last personal assistant is to be believed, we may have to imagine John Lennon as a Reaganite. Fred Seaman told a filmmaker compiling anecdotes about the four Beatles that the former radical had begun debating people on the Left and soured on Jimmy Carter:

In new documentary Beatles Stories, Seaman tells filmmaker Seth Swirsky Lennon wasn’t the peace-loving militant fans thought he was while he was his assistant.
He says, “John, basically, made it very clear that if he were an American he would vote for Reagan because he was really sour on (Democrat) Jimmy Carter.

“He’d met Reagan back, I think, in the 70s at some sporting event… Reagan was the guy who had ordered the National Guard, I believe, to go after the young (peace) demonstrators in Berkeley, so I think that John maybe forgot about that… He did express support for Reagan, which shocked me.["]

Lennon met Reagan on Monday Night Football, actually, as Frank Gifford recalled. This would have taken place a few years (December 1974, farther back than Giffords’ recollection) before Seaman started working for Lennon. I read an account about this meeting in another book, which described the interaction as friendly and gracious on the part of both men. That telling squares with the account at this site, although the post there offers no supporting citations.

While I’m a fan of the music of the Beatles, I found Lennon’s solo career to be too preachy for my taste. I especially didn’t care for “Imagine,” a treacly pseudo-philosophical nihilist rant dressed up as a ballad. According to Seaman, I wasn’t alone in that assessment:

“He was a very different person back in 1979 and 80 than he’d been when he wrote Imagine. By 1979 he looked back on that guy and was embarrassed by that guy’s naivete.”

Even so, I have trouble imagining Lennon as a Reagan Republican, but it’s certainly interesting to try. I suspect that there’s a more nuanced explanation for this;

Lennon was always an iconoclast, and he may have just been contrarian in that period for the sake of being contrarian. The tragedy is, of course, that Lennon isn’t still around for us to debate and for him to entertain, regardless of his politics.

Update (AP): C’mon. Wasn’t it obvious?

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