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John Lennon: Peace-loving AND Cranky

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Hey, John was one of those idols who proved to be all-too-human after all.

He was an activist for peace in the world, of course, but, like most of the rest of us, didn’t always do so well in direct contact with others.

Case in point. A friend of mine once ran into him in the streets of New York City and he was rude and dismissive. She was young and sensitive and it really hurt.

But then again, can you really blame someone for having a bad day, or being tired of complete strangers coming up to them constantly?

Yesterday, “The John Lennon Letters”, a book that was sanctioned by Yoko, was released.

It reveals what we already knew: John had a biting wit and wasn’t afraid to show it.

He got cranky and wasn’t afraid to show that, either.

Some of the letters are angry ones, and of course some people love to see their heroes at their worst.

Maybe it makes us feel better about ourselves, knowing that our idols are full of human foibles, too.

Here are a few:

To a Lennon fan who disparaged Ono: “Yoko’s been an artist before you were even a groupie.”

To a critic who didn’t like Ono’s show: “I’d forgotten about people like you! Well, well — you still exist, of course, in small towns across the world…”

To Linda and Paul McCartney: “I was reading your letter and wondering what middle aged cranky Beatle fan wrote it. I resisted looking at the last page to find out — I kept thinking who is it … What the hell — it’s Linda!”

You can see the letters online at Vulture.

His widow has been featuring 100 of the decidedly uncranky drawings and sketches by John in an exhibition at 130 Prince Street in SoHo called “the Artwork of John Lennon”, which began last week, and closes today (October 9th) on what would have been his 72nd birthday.

A statement John once made about his drawings, which he was creating before he even owned a guitar, displays how that art expressed his lighter side:

“If art were to redeem man, it could do so only by saving him from the seriousness of life, and restoring him to an unexpected boyishness.”

John, we miss your boyishness, your wit, and yes, even your anger, because that’s what made you human, as well as a beloved working-class hero!


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