Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Imagine Peace

Today is John Lennon's birthday. He would've been 67 if some Catcher In The Rye fan hadn't taken close-range target practice in front of the Dakota.
Anyone who knows me knows that I never got the Beatles. Musicians, artists, ball players, accountants. Can't believe it when I say that. I can hear the gasps all the way out here, but let me explain.
The Beatles were actually still producing music -- as a group -- when I was young. They weren't some iconic ideal like they are now, some marble statue conveniently representing whatever a contemporary musician, writer, or artist tacks to the image. I remember them on the scratchy AM radio just like the Archies or the Rolling Stones. I listened to my uncle or aunt's Beatles records on the hi-fi right along with Hendrix, Cream, The Beach Boys, and Pete Seeger. The Beatles were just another entertaining diversion in my world of bike rides to the corner, dinosaur books, and scaring my sister with bugs.
I could go on with "If they were all about peace, why couldn't they get along?" and "If they were such generous musical innovators, why didn't they let anybody else on the charts?" or even "If they were so original, why does all their music sound like someone else?" As I got older, I sang in bands that did Beatles covers and I gave them just as much as I gave Stiff Little Fingers or The Clash.
Seemed to me that John was usually grasping wildly at whatever interested him while flailing uncontrolled at what he didn't like. Would that make him a punk? Maybe. But it seems to me that at some point, this "peace thing" gave Lennon a celebrity that only required him to be John. And that engendered an honesty I can only recognize now. Yeah, forty years later, I'm starting to get it.
Yoko has decided to honor the memory of her husband (or at least the image of peaceful warrior that's been cultivated in recent years) by making what she calls a "light house" on the smartest island nation on earth: Iceland. I'll let her tell her story:
The Imagine Peace Tower. A tower of light powered by geothermal energy. If you can wade through all the insipid "Yoko wishes people would 'come together' and 'give peace a chance'" headlines, the news today is: One person has decided to do something. To say something they feel must be said. To do what they feel must be done.
To do the must.
I thought I was the most jaded, most cynical, most world-weary mate on deck. Which can be attractive around SouthCoast where merely cynical looks downright silly. But I've found myself falling for this peace stuff. I listen with interest to the unstudied (and unreported) announcements from Dennis Kucinich. And not just because his wife might be there.
Because he says something that resonates with me. Something beyond the usual media-propelled topic of the week. Something like when Phil Ochs declared the war over because he wasn't marching anymore. Yes, Mr. Recruiter, Mr Limbaugh, Mr Blackwater, Mr. Disaster Capitalist, what IF everyone put away the charade of hatred and fear and xenophobia? Wouldn't that just suck? For you.
You can't get peace by waging war. You get peace by waging peace.
Why complicate things?


karie said...

I love that I get to know you more and more everyday.

Peace be with Yoko in this gift she is giving to the world. Peace be with us all.

ThirdMate said...

You know it's not H.M.A.V.(Armed Vessel)Impossible.

Make snark not war. Or something.