There’s a report afoot that the first Beatle to die, John Winston Ono Lennon, Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, MBA division, was ”a closet Republican” who admired Ronald Reagan, didn’t care for Jimmy Carter, and by the time of his death was embarrassed over how politically naive he had been earlier in life.
If the report, based on a very authoritative source, Lennon’s last personal assistant, Fred Seaman, is true I would have to retract much of what I wrote in “John Lennon, Flawed Man in Life, Demigod in Death.” (http://bit.ly/kHAVTx)
I still can’t retract everything in that article. John Lennon was indeed a deeply-flawed human being and he was elevated to a grossly exaggerrated status of a virtual god-like figure following his fatal shooting by the deranged Mark David Chapman outside The Dakota on the fateful evening of December 8, 1980.
Lennon’s life was snuffed out at the tender age of 40 years.
I had written in “John Lennon . . .” that the singer-composer was “Jealous, possessive, violent, angry, chauvinistic, abusive, adulterous, prideful, arrogant defender of a twice-convicted murderer, buddy to the Chicago Seven and violent Yippie peace activists Jerry Rubin, Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin, Angela Davis, and Bobby Seale of the Black Panther Party, Marxist sympathizer, and confirmed druggie object of a deportation attempt in the U.S. as a persona non grata.”
That all holds true today. However, in light of the startling revelations by Fred Seaman, most can be forgiven as products of a wayward, if amazingly successful youth. As for his relationship with Yoko Ono, whom he called, “Mother,” I can only attribute that to temporary insanity and acute astigmatism.
Seaman indicates the Liverpudlian came to his senses later in life and told filmmaker Seth Swirsky that ”Lennon wasn’t the peace-loving militant fans thought he was.”
That was his public personna. Privately, he “enjoyed arguing with left-wing radicals who reminded him of his former self.” Seaman also stated that he witnessed “John embark in some really brutal arguments with my uncle, who’s an old-time communist. . . He enjoyed really provoking my uncle.”
Seaman concluded that, “It was pretty obvious to me he had moved away from his earlier radicalism. 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.” (http://bit.ly/jeoD61)
Apparently, the music world far preferred radical John to conservative John. His (and Yoko’s) final album, released just three weeks before his murder, ”Double Fantasy,” met with nasty reviews and bombed big time until his death caused it to rocket to #1. Showing the deferential advantages of dying, “Double Fantasy” was subsequently awarded a Grammy for Album of the Year.
If Lennon’s conversion from arch-radical to confirmed conservative who would have voted for Reagan were he able to is a shocker to conservatives, the shot to liberal nervous systems is inconceivable. They might even try to revoke that Grammy but more likely will dismiss Fred Seaman as a lying imposter planted by evil conservatives.