It’s Yoko’s birthday. Let the abuse begin.

DEVIN McKINNEY  •  Recommended reading on Yoko’s birthday. (Anyone have party plans?) Even if it does come from the dread Slate, it’s one of the few halfway objective assessments you’re going to find on the Internet (kind of a dread place in general, sometimes).

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One Comment

  1. Avatar matt m wrote:

    Other than on here, you mean, right Devin?

    As I’ve found myself repeating more and more frequently as her birthday approached, this is exemplary of the cultural milestone we’re passing with regard to Yoko. She’s 80 years old, She’s lost much of her bite in favor of a cute and dreamy old lady weirdness, and my peers seem to care a lot less about the internal politics of the Beatles than my parents did.

    It’s that latter point that I’m most interested in. Having grown up with what was once the avant-garde as just another portion of the musical landscape has led to a marked decrease in the kind of abuse you seem to be expecting. The knee-jerk ‘thatsnotart’ response is finally beginning to fade in the same way that similar reactions did to now culturally-acceptable institutions as Miro and Picasso. Yoko may practice a different type of musicking (a la Christopher Small) than any given music listener may have been expecting to hear, but fewer and fewer people are personally offended by this because it’s less of a shock than it once was. We all know there’s music like hers out there, even if it’s not what you personally want to listen to when hanging out with friends, or after a long day at work. An opinion accompanied with a little head-shaking is perfectly acceptable in lieu of the amount of vitriol Yoko has had to deal with at the hands of her own generation just for her art alone–never mind the Pandora’s box of racism/sexism masquerading as questionable beliefs about Yoko’s ability to singlehandedly destroy everyone’s favorite band.

    And as for those younger than me, we now live in a world where kids listen to noise rock in Nebraska and I am “recommended” Melt Banana by visiting fourteen-year-olds from Westchester who saw that I’d been listening to the Boredoms. They don’t even need to make that leap of faith that John Lennon made when connecting Cindy Wilson and Kate Pierson’s vocal acrobatics to Yoko’s style because that style is no longer decontextualized. Much music made these days is remarkably similar to what Yoko herself was recording way back when. And Yoko Ono/Plastic Ono Band regularly shows up in favorites lists on 4chan’s music forum.

    So, happy birthday, Yoko. You won. You’ve changed the way the world’s ears hear music and minds think about art. I’m just glad you’re still with us to see it, and of course, to act like you’ve been expecting it all along.

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