|This was a favorite photograph of John Lennon's of himself with his partner in art and life, Yoko Ono. It was taken by famed Rock n' Roll photographer, Bob Gruen. Thanks Bob, for taking such wonderful portraits of the Ono Lennons. For more, please see www.bobgruen.com and also here.|
[There is a companion A.R.P. post that accompanies this one, posted later the same day, which may be found *here*.]
We are both sensitive people and we were hurt a lot by it. I mean, we couldn't understand it. When you're in love, when somebody says something like, 'How can you be with that woman?' you say, 'What do you mean? I am with this goddess of love, the fulfillment of my whole life. Why are you saying this? Why do you want to throw a rock at her or punish me for being in love with her?' Our love helped us survive it, but some of it was pretty violent. There were a few times when we nearly went under, but we managed to survive it and here we are.
-- John Lennon
Shock. What???!!! No. Can't be. No.
But it was the case. I spent the next hours in grief, having two radios on, each one broadcasting various memorial programming, mostly airing Beatles and John Lennon/Yoko Ono songs. Double Fantasy had been released weeks earlier and had brought their music back into the lives of the public. The whole album was a love song in the form of a musical conversation between Yoko and John.
And it was off to school in the morning, with my eyes only wanting to find the eyes of one other person: a classmate who I knew would be mourning too. She came in looking so sad. The way I felt. So very sad. We hugged. Everyone else, for most part, seemed oblivious. It was just another day. Hardly. John Lennon was gone. It was inconceivable, yet true. Grief and mourning is the soul's process of coming to terms with great loss, however personal or social.
Three decades have passed since that night. In those years there have been many wars by the U.S. against the rest of the world--both military and economic. In that time many millions of women have been brutalised by men who believe they have the right to do so.
What has struck me most in the remembrances of John since what would have been his 70th birthday on 9 October 2010 and since, through to this day, is how little mention has been made about his feminism, his attraction to Yoko Ono as a romantic/idealistic/artistic/creative/intellectual/political equal. When media folks remember his activism, it is focused on him being against the Vietnam war (which he was, at least since 1966), and for peace. But John understood that being for peace means being against men's control and brutality of women. He understood that being pro-feminist is the principled, honorable stance for any man to take. If they're humane, that is. If they wish to be fully human. I am hoping more men will get the message and take it to heart, and to other men.
John Lennon always had a deep connection to several women. His love of specific women he knew was a force, directing him lyrically and in life. John admitted his propensity for violence against women (and also towards other men). He understood it was no way to be a man, and he figuring out how to stop it, even while so much of his earlier socialisation had promoted him being a brute, misdirecting his own feelings of grief and anger and hurt and frustration through his male supremacist entitlement to harm others. He learned how to not be violent against women, which shows us that every man can. He missed out on raising his first child, Julian. He was sure not to make that mistake with his second son, Sean, who he stayed home with during Sean's first five years, until John was murdered in front of their home in The Dakota apartment building, across from Central Park in NYC.
I remember seeing live footage of tons of fans gathering there that night, December 8, 1980, singing his songs, tears streaming down their faces. I wished I could have been with them. I found out many years later how difficult that was for Yoko, to hear her deceased husband's songs all night long. But she understood their need to gather.
Sean picks up John's love of Yoko in singing this track of his father's, written by John to his mother, Julia, about his love for his spiritual-intellectual-political-creative life-partner Yoko Ono, who aside from being a great visual, conceptual, and musical artist, is also John's widow and Sean's mom:
When you think of John Lennon today, please remember the man who learned how to stop being violent to women in his life. Remember the man who chose to spend time with a woman who sparked his imagination more than three guys he'd spent the prior several years with and how this choice of his outraged so many men, who believe there is nothing more sacred than male bonding and that women "get in the way". Remember the quote that begins this post, about how hurt they each were that so many people said such ignorant and insensitive things about their love for one another, and about Yoko Ono specifically. Remember the man who understood that Yoko Ono was not beneath him or above him--she was with him, as an equal: a partner in love and life. And please don't forget that he was her love too. The love story isn't just about what she gave to him.
Published Date: 08 December 2010
John Lennon's widow Yoko Ono gave a heartfelt plea for the former Beatle to be remembered "with deep love and respect" on 30th anniversary of his murder today.
As she spoke yesterday of her continued love for the star, she said: "On this tragic anniversary, please join me in remembering John with deep love and respect.
"In his short-lived life of 40 years, he has given so much to the world.
"The world was lucky to have known him. We still learn so much from him today. John, I love you."
Ono, who was beside Lennon when he was gunned down in New York 30 years ago today, will lead the tributes as millions of people pay their respects to the Imagine singer.
She will perform at a charity concert she has organised in Japan called Dream Power John Lennon Super Live.
Jerry Goldman from the Beatles Story, a museum dedicated to the band, was behind the European Peace Monument coming to Liverpool.
He said: "Although the European Peace Monument has only been on public display for just over a month, it's already taken on a global significance of its own.
"People from all over the world are coming to the city to pay their respects and consider Lennon's message of peace through his music.
"The city is very excited that we finally have a focal point at which to remember Lennon and look forward to a vigil that will reach out to people the world over."
The vigil of remembrance will last from 8pm to 9:30pm.
Lennon was shot dead outside the Dakota building where the couple lived in Manhattan on 8 December, 1980, two months after his 40th birthday.
Fans on the other side of the Atlantic are expected to pay their respects at the Strawberry Fields memorial garden in Central Park, directly opposite the spot where he was shot by crazed fan M*** C******. [edited by Julian]
- Last Updated: 07 December 2010 9:14 PM
- Source: The Scotsman
- Location: Edinburgh