Monday, November 19, 2007

Conservatives and the Beatles

Over my many years on this planet, I've been in the company of right-wingers who like the Beatles and those who don't. Some enjoy the tunes while others think they were spaced-out, Commie drug addicts.

I won't even get into why it's ridiculous to think that the Beatles' music was fueled by drugs and that they were "high" most of the time. I'll just say that: It's ridiculous.

But I will address the question: Can you be a Conservative and be a Beatles fan?

It depends on what you mean by "fan". I'm a liberal, but I like John Wayne movies. I also think Mel Gibson is a fine actor and an even better director. I enjoy Jack Webb's TV shows. But no matter how much I like The Searchers, Apocalypto and "Dragnet", I wouldn't consider myself a "fan". To me, a "fan" not only buys the product, but they embrace the artist's message and what they have to say off-stage as well as on.

So as far as being a Conservative and a Beatles' fan, I have to say that no, you can't be both. The Beatles were against the war in Vietnam, pro-legalization of pot, pro-Civil and women's rights and anti-gun.

In their music, films and interviews, they scoffed at the establishment squares. Their manager and closest confident was gay. They dabbled in mysticism, dug the Beat poets (part of the reason they called themselves "Beatles"), and made an ill-fated attempt at creating a company that bordered on socialism.

They were, however, not Communists. They loved money and despised dictators and lazy drop-out types.

The rightie religious zealots burned their records, rightie politicians (Nixon) and cops (FBI/Scotland Yard) harassed them and planted drugs in their homes. Their hair alone made some Conservatives furious.

But you can't be a left-wing zealot and love the Beatles either. Because if the Beatles had a message, it was to do your own thing and allow others to do the same. They changed things from within. By example. Not by banning or stifling other people.


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