This is probably not a very popular thing to say, (on the anniversary of his death) while I see so many of his quotes go viral today, but we tend to forget about John Lennon the domestic abuser. It has been said, and Lennon even admitted to the fact that he hit both his first wife and Yoko Ono on many different occasions. He was not really that great of a father figure either. He was an absentee dad who mentally belittled his son, and well, beat the child’s mother.
“I used to be cruel to my woman, and physically — any woman. I was a hitter. I couldn’t express myself and I hit. I fought men and I hit women. That is why I am always on about peace, you see. It is the most violent people who go for love and peace. Everything’s the opposite. But I sincerely believe in love and peace. I am not violent man who has learned not to be violent and regrets his violence.” ~ John Lennon
Are we generally not aware of the grossness of his past, or do we just not care?
We love to hate Chris Brown while we love to love John Lennon. Their images are very different. One was a white hippy who sang about love, the other is a black rapper who has been criticized of being misogynistic. Music styles and lyrics send different messages, but in reality, they are somewhat the same. Maybe John Lennon was even worse in that he was quite abusive, much more so than Chris Brown, as far as we know. I obviously have to point out the dichotomy here regarding race and preconceived notions. It surely seems very easy for us to demonize one man while we love another. If you hate one, then why not hate the other? Maybe it’s also the fact that we are such a media driven society now and we can see plain as day the bruised pictures of Rihanna’s beaten face; and as far as Lennon, we choose not to think about what isn’t right in front of us. Though of course John Lennon and the Beatles were highly documented by photographs, but I don’t know of any pictures that display signs of abuse on either of his wives.
If we want to enjoy good music and separate talent (because I do think both men undoubtedly had or have talent) and personal behaviors, fine. I can nod my head to either musician’s work, while their personal behaviors sicken me. It does bother me though to see all the Lennon quotes today about peace and love. While they all seem good in theory, they do strike me as being rather hypocritical coming from the mouth of an abusive man. He’s definitely no role model and I can’t help but think “abuser abuser abuser,” whenever I see the happy frappy lovey memes plastered all over the internet today.
What do you think? Separate the musician and the music, or do we need to tread carefully as to who we idolize?