Today is Sunday, January 30, 2022. It’s 9:10am here in New York. As I write this, Beth is teaching a yoga class to her devoted followers. One of our reliable contractors, Edison Chimbo, is loading up our outdoor furniture and taking it to a friend who can use it.
I’m in my office studio, a room I will miss. It’s my cave, the place where I arranged music, produced videos, and booked many children’s shows. It’s also the room where we wrote The John Lennon Real Love Project for Public Schools and presented it to a half dozen schools.
Speaking of Lennon, one of the memes that have been on Facebook has been this one:
I get the joke, of course. Yoko’s singing voice has never been one that a lot of people find pleasurable (including me), but there’s a level of cruelty here that I want to touch on, today.
My brother, Craig, is an actor who has had some commercial success. He’s also had long periods where he did not work or roles he did not get. Yes, he’s very fortunate to have made enough money to not have a side hustle, but that’s because he’s very good at what he does.
Once, we were speaking about people who “make it to the top” in our fields. He said, “Anyone who has gotten to that level did it by working really hard. They have endured a lot and have kept at it. I will always respect them and never tear them down, even if I don’t like their work.”
Yoko Ono saved John Lennon’s ass. He was a heavy partier and a misogynist. He had dried up creatively and was very depressed most of the time. He treated his first wife, Cynthia, like crap and abandoned their son, Julian, for his career. Something needed to change.
Luckily for John, Yoko wouldn’t take his shit and she kicked him out of the apartment. She never cared that he was a former Beatle more than she cared for him, their marriage and for their son, Sean.
Yoko Ono – strange singing voice or not – helped one of the most important young men of the 20th century become a real man. If you listen to his work after that period, you’ll discover a man who was miles and miles ahead of the average male, thanks to Yoko’s tough love. She redeemed him.
What I wanted to affirm for myself is that it’s not okay to be cruel. We all love to laugh, but it does not have to be at the expense of someone’s singing voice or other personal characteristics. We just got through a president who made fun of people with severe physical issues. We’re better than that, folks.
I admit it. I look at celebrities, models, or artists and judge them on their looks, talent, and whatever I see on the outside. I have objectified women and I’m not proud of that adolescent inside of me.
In life, our job is to save our soul. I think it’s why our souls come here into this human form. THE WORK, then, is to have experiences and learn from them, to become better and leave this world marginally better for having been here. One of the first things I can do is to be kind, loving and inclusive. It starts with me. It starts with me.