John Lennon, “Hollywood Scumbag”?
DEVIN McKINNEY • This turns up on one’s Facebook feed today: “It’s Not Just Cosby: Hollywood’s Long List of Male Scumbags,” a Daily Beast mow-down, inspired by the Bill Cosby revelations (or confirmations, more accurately) of several beloved or at least well-compensated male stars whose prevailing public profiles belie repellent acts committed out of the spotlight. Among the scumbags rounded up by poster Asawin Suebsaeng is one John Ono (ne Winston) Lennon.
If you think it’s wrong to link to this story here at a Beatle-celebration site, to feed its clicks and so forth, you might be right. But it’s a Beatle-related thing that a lot of people are seeing today and will see tomorrow; it certainly has relevance to the Lennon revisionism that goes on at Hey Dullblog; and it presents an interesting study for critical thinking.
On the one hand, the Lennon connection here is disingenuous, if not simply defamatory. John Lennon, despite his Lost Weekend, was hardly a “Hollywood” person, so to include him in this particular rogues’ gallery is foolish. Plus, though he’s prominently featured in the headline illustration, Lennon is rather far down on the scumbag list, his scumbaggery given one sentence, and an overstated one which, unless all nuance is to be junked, is simply not accurate to the linked source (or any other I know of).
On the other hand, John had his demons—ones we know, and ones we surely don’t. Those we do know have been set loose in our little HD forum, there to receive proper upbraiding and integrating into what we hope is a more realistic Lennon mythos than that offered by Yoko, Wenner, and the other forces of officialdom. So there’s a kernel of truth here, presented ignominiously and dishonestly, perhaps, but nonetheless worthy of reaction.
So you guys: What do you think of this? The characterization of Our John, such as it is? Is it okay for rabid Beatles fans like us to knock John off his pedestal, but not for others who, as far as we know, are less rabid or perhaps not fans at all? Does the truth still ring depending on who speaks it? Does the charlatanry of this particular post make it incumbent upon us to deal with John in the context of a general lionization of male abusers who happen to have a commercially marketable or even world-changing gift?