Saturday, July 02, 2011

John Lennon: NOT a Closet Republican

From the Nation courtesy of Hullabaloo:

A guy named Fred Seaman is all over the conservative blogs today for a new documentary in which he claims that John Lennon was “a closet Republican” at the time he was shot. This seems unlikely.


Seaman says Lennon told him he was disillusioned with Jimmy Carter in 1980. Lots of people on the left were disillusioned with Jimmy Carter in 1980, and for good reasons. That didn't make you a Republican, closeted or otherwise.

In what turned out to be Lennon’s last interview, with RKO radio the afternoon of the day he was shot, he talked about “the opening up of the sixties.” He said “Maybe in the sixties we were na├»ve and like children and later everyone went back to their rooms and said, ‘we didn’t get a wonderful world of flowers and peace.… the world is a nasty horrible place because it didn’t give use everything we cried for.’ Right? Crying for it wasn’t enough.

“The thing the sixties did was show us the possibility and the responsibility that we all had. It wasn’t the answer. It just gave us a glimpse of the possibility."

More here.

More psychotic right-wing historical revisionism, and with its favorite subject for this kind of bullshit, the Gipper himself. Indeed, this is part of an ongoing effort to mythologize Reagan as a sort of conservative god-figure who won the Cold War by bankrupting the Soviets in a deficit-on-steroids arms race, and who cut taxes, cut taxes, cut taxes. The reality, of course, was quite different. The USSR actually fell apart because totalitarian socialism, as an economic system, you know, doesn't work, and Reagan the great tax cutter just so happened to have raised taxes more than any president in US history. Reagan the actual person, not to be confused with the wax figure celebrated by today's conservatives, couldn't win a single GOP presidential primary in the contemporary era.

So this John Lennon thing is bogus, too, from the get-go.

Like the excerpt above observes, opposition to Carter can not in any way mean support for Reagan. I mean, Carter, as president, was pretty conservative. He is, after all, a Southerner, and his administration was in many ways simply a warmup for the Reagan era. When you discount his support for abortion rights and unwillingness to invoke the sword rattling of his successor, the two administrations weren't all that different. No, Carter didn't make any attempts to dismantle New Deal and Great Society programs, but he did cut taxes on the rich. He did start the long period of corporate deregulation that we're still in today. He wasn't particularly friendly with labor unions. Not much there for a sixties radical such as Lennon to hang his hat on.

And Lennon was a radical. It's not well known because it's been kind of erased from history, but there was good reason the former Beatle ended up on Nixon's enemies list: in the early 70s Lennon was poised to begin a music and political activism tour with Abbie Hoffman and others that stood to politicize countless middle American youths in a leftward direction; the prospect of the beloved and trusted mop top preaching radicalism to millions sent chills up Tricky Dick's spine. So Nixon used the INS to deport him, which necessarily resulted in the tour's cancellation so that John could fight it out in court.

It's all chronicled in the excellent documentary The US Versus John Lennon. Watch it here.

So one is to assume that only five or six years after the leader of the Republican Party personally used the power of the executive branch to harass him, after years of personal statements and songs expressing intense support for far left political positions, that John Lennon made a David Horowitz style ideological reversal and went over to the dark side. All based on criticism of Jimmy Carter. I just don't buy it. Total bullshit.

I mean, I'm heavily critical of Carter's administration. Does that make me a Reagan supporter? Such a thought makes me, as they say, Laugh Out Loud.

Here's a little pro-Reagan propaganda for you: