The Beatles, Sean Spicer, and the Chicago Women’s March

Saturday was a tale of two crowds: the kerfuffle over the inauguration audience and the turnout for the women’s marches around the country and around the world.

Given that the facts / “alternative facts” in question concerned crowd size, it’s fitting that the ever-popular Beatles featured in a couple of the memes generated in the wake of Sean Spicer’s statements to the press about the audience for the inauguration.


The Women’s March in Chicago this past Saturday, which I participated in, did have one actual link to the Beatles: members of the local cast of “Hamilton” performed “Let It Be” at the rally. I didn’t get to hear it, since like many thousands of others I couldn’t even get into the rally point. It filled up early, and the streets leading to it were flooded with women, men, and children of all ethnicities, including families with representatives spanning three generations. The crowd was so big the official march was canceled, but many of us ended up parading through downtown after all. I’d never marched before, and never thought I’d see a march here that looked so much like a 1960s demonstration.

Despite the unexpected crowd size and the change of plans, the day was entirely peaceful and the mood was upbeat. It’s appropriate that “Let It Be” was the choice of the Hamilton performers. “There will be an answer / Let it be.” — Amen to that.

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  1. It could plausibly be argued that the women’s march worldwide was the largest single coordinated human activity in history. It was good to be a part of it, and I hope that people act on that initiative to create tangible results.

    • Avatar Michael wrote:

      There were at least 55 military operations during the first and second World Wars that involved more people, so I guess those should probably count as coordinated human activities. But I agree with you that the women’s march was the greatest coordinated human activity that truly effected meaningful change in the world.

      • Respectfully disagree. Military operations were conducted by different countries with different goals for each battle. Three million men died at Stalingrad, but that took more than a year. The greatest battles in history made use of only 1-2 million men. Really — the magnitude of this march is beyond any other single coordinated movement in history.

        In any case, to match the magnitude of this relatively spontaneous demonstration required the effort of all the governments of the world. Face it, the protest against the ascendancy of Trump was the greatest demonstration in history.

        • Nancy Carr Nancy Carr wrote:

          Also worth noting that despite “alt facts” claims to the contrary, these marches were undertaken voluntarily and without pay. Many people bought plane tickets and rented hotel rooms to participate, making the scale of the marches even more remarkable.

  2. Avatar NorwegianWood wrote:

    Just to add a few things and sorry if I am ruining the occasions: but these anti-Trump-events; and dont get me wrong, I am not defending Trump seems to me to be sort of pr-Obama, pro-Hilary events and I am sure John Lennon who was not in favour of any political elite figures would have given his support to such. Personally I think it is a tragic sight that liberal peace loving people are forming alliances with warmongers from CIA/FBI and the anti-Trump fringe in the Republican party. It is wrong and not in the spirit of John Lennon.

    • Well, I’m certainly not sure about that, @NorwegianWood, because I’m not sure about much when it comes to John Lennon and politics. Because, if you go back and read the interviews, John Lennon’s views tended to get very vague very quickly. Which is to say that he’s a great guide in general — generally we know he was against war and for feminism, and that’s awesome — but not much help in specifics. What did John Lennon think about the killing of Osama bin Laden, for example, or Dodd-Frank? We’re utterly speculating when it comes to his opinions on our own political reality.

      Would John Lennon, über-feminist, be totally jazzed about the possibility of a female President? I think it’s a pretty fair guess that he would be. But would Lennon the pacifist be onboard with the DNC? Probably not. Would his distaste for some of Obama’s and Clinton’s specific policies been DWARFED by his fear and loathing of Trump? Probably yes. I’m not even sure that, as a 77-year-old billionaire, his idea of “warmongers” would be what it had been in, say, 1975. Maybe. Maybe not. He did go to Jimmy Carter’s inauguration; but also didn’t seem overly worried about Reagan. To imagine John Lennon’s opinion is to imagine that he had lived the last 37 years along with us, and gone through the changes of those years.

      There was a conflict inside John Lennon which was never really resolved; one side was “imagine no possessions,” and the other was a whole room filled with fur coats. I’m not blaming John — I think this is a conflict fundamental to our age; certainly I feel my own tiny version of it. Do I abhor a nation that spends obscenely on the military and lets people starve? Absolutely. Am I in favor of immediate dissolution of the US military? No. And Lennon shows this same sort of “yes, but” complicity — would Lennon’s perfect world even have billionaires in it? No. But was John willing to go first? No. And so there is a guilt, and an acknowledgment, and trying to live morally in a world that repels absolutes.

      But there is a way out — something even more foundational to Lennon than “Imagine”: that you and I and every person should think for him- and herself. I think that’s the real “spirit of John Lennon” — he certainly said it often enough, and unlike his political positions, it’s a message that remained consistent from 1964 to 1980.

      The point then, isn’t what John Lennon would think, but what YOU think.

  3. Avatar Hologram Sam wrote:

    Off topic, but Nancy did you know about this new Dickens movie?
    The movie, written by Mozart in the Jungle‘s Susan Coyle, promises to portray Dickens as less of a petrified literary hero and more of a real human being.

  4. In reply to the post, with image, showing McCartney in the latest Pirates of the Caribbean movie. McCartney? “Dead Men Tell no Tales?” HE IS DEAD, THEN, RIGHT??? Russ Gibb was right all along!

    • Nancy Carr Nancy Carr wrote:

      Remember when conspiracy theories were mostly about pop culture, rather than noteworthy national events and political leaders? Good times . . . .
      Have to say that Paul’s beard in that shot is even more out of control than the facial hair he was sporting in the “Let It Be” / “McCartney” days. Bet he’s getting a kick out of the whole “dead men tell no tales” thing.

      • As an actor, he’s no Ringo, who I felt almost held his own in that horrible spaghetti Western, the name of which escapes me. A Liverpudlian pirate? My only hope for this movie is that he predicts a future in which pirates will man yellow submarines….

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