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The Continuing Litany of St. Adolescence of Liverpool

The usually consequential Powerline today carries an unfortunate apotheosis on this the twenty-fourth anniversary of John Lennon’s murder. Why do we still so lament the extinguishing of such a dim lodestar so low on the horizon?

The strange currency of this age is slippery emotions and sentiments fundamentally averse to critical reckoning. That is what made Lennon first a king, then a saint and finally a martyr. What other qualification does he have to receive the reverent tones and dirges offered every year? An entire generation mistook his angst for a zeitgeist. The error is forgivable, since the generation was itself adolescent. The crime is the continued elevation of idle, ephemeral melancholia from the background noise of adolescent respites to cultural critique and personal fulfillment by a baby boom generation that should finally know better. Angst in fact became zeitgeist. Eidolon eructations couched in witty poesy, said with momentary conviction amid enchantingly incessant melodies. Mind candy served with ear candy. In no other pursuit has the medium so perfectly become the message.

No accumulation of witty turns of phrase and pleasing harmonies can mask Lennon’s role in the general cultural decline. Though he personally bears no more (and perhaps less) culpability, a quick trip down the radio dial on any given day reveals the tradition Lennon represents. There is very little besides remarkably similar, simple instrumentation. And what themes are out there but the beauty of fornication, adulatory devotion to personal gratification over traditions and personal commitments and a general, unreflective, irrational discontent? If this sounds familiar, it’s because it was your adolescence and mine.

It’s not immoral to listen to Beatles songs, but what is the point? It’s the Cap’n Crunch of the soul. Once we all lacked a certain depth and perspective, and had incongruous freedom that allowed us to indulge in shallow pursuits. But adolescence, mercifully, ends eventually. At least, it’s supposed to.

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Comments (2)

Jason A.:

Yes, "Imagine" is the totalitarian anthem par excellence. And really, did anything the Beatles sang after 1964 make any sense? Coo Coo Cachoo, Cacoooohoooohchooo .... ahucka chukachuwa.

niemann:

I thought it was GOO GOO G’JOOB...What are the socio-political implications if it's COO COO CACHOO? Oh man, COO COO CACHOO is far more Hegelian...What does it mean? I know. I'll ask my addled, delusional, and perpetually adolescent father who seriously puts the Beatles, Hendrix and Jim Morrison above any chump the Renaissance or Enlightenment ever put out. To him Jesus was a rock star and Lennon was a prophet of God.

What are we going to do with these parents? They need to be institutionalized where they cannot vote, support NPR or otherwise embarrass us.

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