Today (the day I started writing this, which would not probably be the same day I’ll publish it) we are all mourning Chuck Berry’s death. I am saddened by the loss, as much as any other music lover in this world, and very soberly mourning the death of a 90 years old musician, something as rare as a white fly. Besides his personal death, I am mourning a disappearing world, and I have to come to terms with the fact that all things must pass, all things must pass away. But other than that, I wish we all had the life he had.
Anyway, I started my youtube journey to see where it would take me (normally very far from where I started), and I landed on this memorable 1972 Chuck Berry + Lennon and Ono performance on the Mike Douglas Show. As a Beatles fan, I know this performance for the infamous Ono wailing, and many a Beatles fan still giggle at the fact that an anonymous sound engineer cut Yoko’s mike out at the end of it.
Besides the obvious fact that this performance is famous because of Yoko, and that without her it would have gone unnoticed through the years, I admit without doubt that Yoko’s scream is something unexpected and completely “off”. Not my favourite Ono moment, definitely. But then again, being unexpected and impulsive is exactly what Yoko and John were about.
Anyway, I am writing this because I did the undoable error of reading the comments under the video. Here is a selection for you:
I normally spare myself the pain of reading Youtube comments. They are usually a parade of aggressiveness, passive or active, and bad english. I know Youtubers are often unsupervised enraged pre-teens or, even worse, constipated adults who take advantage of anonimity to release their true, horrible selves. Even with this in mind, I am stricken by the open sexism in many of the comments (and, unsurprisingly, not all of them are men). They are not criticising Yoko because she screams in the middle of a performance – which may be rude but understandable – but because she is manipulative (a witch), she should have been beaten by his man and / or be killed instead of him.
Given the circumstance of Berry’s death, this same video appeared in my feed in other social platforms (reddit and facebook), and many of the comments – although less rude or blatantly sexist – are on the same manner of the ones I read on youtube. Two are the recurring elements: Yoko’s manipulation (this video is, apparently, an indisputable proof of how Yoko bewitched the poor John) and John’s need to control and punish the woman who defied music nobility by screaming on a mic.
Besides the obvious fact that the only thing this video and its comments prove is that we still, very much, need feminism in this society, I’d like to point out two additional facts:
- Beatles fans needed a culprit for the horrible crime of splitting up the band, and Yoko was there for all of them. She was weird, unusual, gave zero fucks, was not canonically good looking, often silently seated and looking at others, and above all she was a dark haired witchlike woman. What a perfect excuse not to face the fact that those four guys hated each other’s guts and couldn’t stand to play with each other a minute more (I’ll play, whatever you want me to play, or I won’t play at all). It’s 2017, and apparently they still haven’t gotten over it.
- Lennon fans know jack-shit about Lennon. They revere this crystallised image of a young floppy-haired boy with incredible wit and a positive outlook on the world, while nothing of it was really true, even then. 1965 John was heavily depressed, and violent with both his wife and kid. Being an abandoned child, he was a very troubled human being; maybe because of that – or in spite of that – he became the arrogant, smug man we all learned to love for his music. So, he then proceded to abandon his own child and rebuild a slightly centered life with the woman who was brave or crazy enough to offer him haven. And yet, while the whole world worships the false image of a self-confessed asshole, Yoko is still taking shit because she sat on the ground while The Beatles played on a roof.
- Fans are usually shit. I know I said “two facts”, so this one is for free, I won’t even provide an argument.