The media love to mark milestones and anniversaries in neatly defined numbers. We also love to write about celebrities. That's why a lot of journalists this week will be writing and talking about John Lennon, who died on Dec. 8, 1980 — 30 years ago this week.
Lots of us will go on about the deranged man who murdered Lennon outside his home at the Dakota building on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.
Later for that nutjob. Enough said about him.
On Dec. 8, the important lesson to know is that we still miss Lennon, perhaps now more than ever. We live in difficult, scary times. Lennon's voice is sorely missed today. I miss his wit, his songs, and his singing.
Soon after Lennon died, the media machine created Saint John Lennon. It was wildly inaccurate to cast him as a holy man. Yes, Lennon's love for Yoko Ono — for which he sacrificed the Beatles — was moving. Lennon's campaign for peace in 1969 and into the early 1970s was valiant. His decision to retire from the music business in 1975 to raise his second son Sean was brave. Finally, his move to return to the recording studio in 1980 was inspirational.
Lennon moved a lot of people of all ages. His music was often brilliant, bordering on works of genius ("Strawberry Fields Forever," "A Day in the Life," and "I am the Walrus"). Lennon wrote or sang lead in the Beatles early hits, "Please Please Me," "She Loves You," "I Want to Hold Your Hand," and "A Hard Day's Night"). He gave Paul, George, and Ringo's music guts and accounted for what the critic Greil Marcus once called the Beatles' "arrogant wit."
He gave us all a sense of hope — and he made our lives more fun. You can't ask for much more than that.
Let's remember him for what really matters, okay?
Jon Friedman writes the Media Web column. Click here to read his latest column.
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