Monday, April 04, 2005


To: Baby Boomers

From: Generation X

CC: Generation Y

Date: April 4, 2005

Subject: John Lennon's song "Imagine."

When you hear this song, you get all weepy.

When we hear this song, we think to ourselves "Wow. That captures in one song everything that was lame and fucked up about the 60's."

Please stop voting it the greatest song of all time in radio polls.



Anonymous said...

I am either at the tail end of gen x, or the beginning of gen Y. What exactly is "fucked up" about the song "Imagine"?

Chalicechick said...

Generation X is too young to have remembered the JFK dying and too old to have had a cell phone in college.

I'm interested to see if other people agree with me on "Imagine" but will explain it's lameness in great detail later if no one does.


Paul Wilczynski said...

I'm sure, when we boomers die off, you'll get to choose your own Favorite Song.

Anonymous said...

Gen Xer here: In a Unitarian church service featuring a diologue between a Baby Boomer minister and four of us young un's back in 1994 or 1995, a member of the congregation said that she found us all a bit cynical and asked, "Don't you believe in the sixties?" One of my fellow panelists said, "We saw how they turned out."

I don't "imagine" or aspire to the formless utopia John Lennon sings about. And I really don't trust people who give themselves an Opt Out of Society Free card by saying that they imagine such a world. I don't believe they do; they just like how it feels to say they do.

(P.S. On this topic, see especially this article on the legacy of the politics and culture of the sixties in this month's American Prospect, a liberal magazine: "Goodbye to All That.")

jfield said...

I'm another Gen X type (born in 1969) but I think it is foolish to have a blnaket rejection or repudiation of "the sixties" or a slavish fetish to "the sixties."

I don't think "knee jerk reflexive irony" is really any superior to sappy, holier-than-though utopianism.

In my corner of Northern California I live with the excesses of 60s thinking every day. But I am not really supportive of the notion that activists need to shut up and vote for the Democrats and cut checks to responsible people, nor that liberalism should necessarily find some other set of atrocities to collaborate with in slavish devotion to the macho/assertive Cold War liberalism (think Guatemala, Nicaragua, East Timor, Somalia, Ethiopia and Haiti just for starters)

Sure, most of what passes for activism is self-aggrandisement cloaked in a nice sounded psychoanalytic veneer of expression and existential angst, but I am still committed to the notion that things need to get better, and that Frederick Douglass was right.

Chalicechick said...

(((I don't think "knee jerk reflexive irony" is really any superior to sappy, holier-than-though utopianism.)))

Upon reading that, TheCSO commented:

"I don't either, but it's a lot more fun."


Anonymous said...

Reliable sources say that "Imagine" was considered for inclusion in the hymnal "Singing the Living Tradition." However, the copyright holders refused to allow the gender-biased language in the original song to be changed. (I am restraining myself from making the obvious sarcastic comments about the line "Imagine there's no religion...")

As for my not-so-humble opinion of the song -- yes I'm at the tail end of the Baby Boomers, but I don't think it's a particularly good song. The tune is slightly banal (plus it's hard to sing), the lyrics are dull, and I've heard the stupid thing way too many times. It does not stand up well to repeated listening. Yawn. Boring.

By the way, if we gotta put popular music in the hymnal, I vote for Cole Porter -- I think "I Get a Kick Out of You" is a wonderful song on intersubjective theology. Or better yet, "The things that you're li'ble/To read in the Bible/They ain't necessarily so...."

my $.02 worth -- dan harper

fausto said...

Hey, don't look at me. John was never my favorite Beatle, anyway. The song I would vote for is Famous UU Pete Seeger's "Turn, Turn, Turn", as recorded by the Byrds.

--Fausto, who at age 7 was walking home from the school bus stop across the neighbors' back yard when third-grader Craig (who was cool because he was older, plus he had just gotten a transistor radio for his birthday, the equivalent of an ipod today) hollered that they had just interrupted Cousin Brucie's top-30 countdown on WABC-AM to announce that President Kennedy had been killed, and who went home to find his mother hunched over the kitchen table, weeping.

Chalicechick said...

A youth service that CC ran at her Presby church when she was a little kid had the congregation singing "Turn, turn,"

I vote with you, that's a great song.


Anonymous said...

One amusing irony is that some of the oldies stations voting it best song were the same stations- though under different owners, I admit- who were organizing public burnings of Beatle records and memorabilia after the "bigger than Jesus" remark.

If you want an even bigger laugh, compare the ACTUAL top 40 favorites in your area with the playlist of the oldies stations- everyone wants to pretend they were a lot more hip than the really were. Abba was bigger than the Beatles and Elvis combined if you go by record sales and concert attendence, and the Captain and Tennille were bigger than Supertramp... but you'll not hear them on the Boomer dinosaurrock stations! Selective memory? "You're bloody well right".

Joel Monka

jfield said...

My favorite "Imagine" moment was at a demonstration organized by fairly conservative, largely Christian Chinese Americans during the Tianamen Square demonstrations in Beijing.

The song is hard enough to sing in your first language. And the organizers had apparently never read the lyrics when they printed out lyrics sheets for everyone.

The best way to approximate what happened was the old Monty Python lumberjack song. People tried to sing along, gradually recognizing the irony in the Asian American Christian Fellowship kids singing essential an atheist, utopian communist hymn at an anti-communist rally.

Anonymous said...

Another spokesmodel for Gen X here. Since I (please wait to throw the tomatoes) don’t like (to be polite) the Beatles’ music, or the music of any of the individual members of the Beatles, I would vote against “Imagine” simply on that basis. Every time I hear a Beatles song I cringe.

fausto said...

You X-ers don't know what lame is. You can't handle real lame. If you want to complain about lame, I'll give it to you. It's called "bubble gum", and the oldies stations won't go anywhere near it.

Load up your iPod with these, why don't you:

The Archies, "Sugar Sugar" and "Jingle Jangle"

The Cuff Links, "Tracy" and "When Julie Comes Around"

Tommy James, "I Think We're Alone Now" and "Crimson and Clover"

The Sweet, "Poppa Joe" and "Little Willy"

1910 Fruitgum Company, "Goody Goody Gumdrops"

Ohio Express, "Yummy Yummy Yummy" and "Chewy Chewy"

The Partridge Family, "I Think I Love You"

Bobby Sherman, "Hey Mr. Sun"

Donny Osmond, "Sweet and Innocent"

Edison Lighthouse, "Love Grows Where My Rosemary Goes"

Flying Machine, "Smile a Little Smile for Me"

Tommy Roe, "Dizzy" and "Hooray for Hazel"

The Cowsills, "The Rain, the Park, and Other Things" and "Love, American Style"

You'll be begging for the Beatles, I promise. You'd even settle for the Kingston Trio.

PeaceBang said...

I am *so down* with "Chewy, Chewy" for a hymn.
I love John Lennon, and I like "Imagine." What I don't like is when a bunch of nostalgic Boomers whose SUVs are parked in the lot outside, and whose 6-bedroom houses, fat pension funds, fabulous health plans and white, middle-class privileges are largely unthreatened by any market fluctuations or Bush policies are lecturing my poorass,uninsured, underemployed, over-educated houseless generation about the greatness of the 60's.

"The 60's were SO GRITE!"
"Sure, as long as they were followed by the 1980's and 1990's."

Or, to put it more succinctly, "When you imagine no possessions, what possessions are you imagining, exactly?"

Imagine no student loans. It's easy if you try.

Anonymous said...

Oh, dear fausto -- welcome to the wonderful world of Gex X irony. Painful irony.

I love your playlist. Hubby and I collect Andy Williams, New Christy Minstrels and Jim Nabors albums. We love Burt Bacharach, and have been known to sing TV themes. In harmony.

Make that painful gay irony.

Chalicechick said...

When my generation hears ""I Think We're Alone Now," we mostly hear it in the form of Weird Al singing "I think I'm a clone now."

'nuff said.

who took the CSO to see Weird Al live last year for his birthday. If that ain't devotion...

jfield said...

You mean that wasn't Tiffany? From the malls of Norwalk...

jfield said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
fausto said...

A horse is a horse, of course, of course,
And no one can talk to a horse, of course,
That is, of course, unless the horse is the famous Mr. Ed.

Go right to the source and ask the horse.
He'll give you the answer that you'll endorse.
He's always on a steady course.
Talk to Mr. Ed.

People yakkity yak a streak and waste your time of day,
But Mister Ed will never speak unless he has something to say.

A horse is a horse, of course, of course,
And this one'll talk 'til his voice is hoarse.
You never heard of a talking horse?

Well listen to this:

"I am Mister Ed."

Green acres is the place for me.
Farm livin' is the life for me.
Land spreadin' out so far and wide--
Keep Manhattan, just give me that countryside.

New York is where I'd rather stay.
I get allergic smelling hay.
I just adore a penthouse view.
Dah-ling, I love you, but give me Park Avenue.

...The chores!
...The stores!
...Fresh air!
...Times Square!

You are my wife.
Good bye, city life!
Green Acres, we are there.

Just sit right back and you'll hear a tale,
A tale of a fateful trip
That started from this tropic port
Aboard this tiny ship.

The mate was a mighty sailing man,
The skipper brave and sure.
Five passengers set sail that day
For a three hour tour.

The weather started getting rough,
The tiny ship was tossed,
If not for the courage of the fearless crew
The Minnow would be lost.

The ship set ground on the shore of this
Uncharted desert isle
With Gilligan,
The Skipper too,
The millionaire and his wife,
The movie star,
The professor and Mary Ann,
Here on Gilligan's Isle.

So this is the tale of the castways,
They're here for a long, long time,
They'll have to make the best of things,
It's an uphill climb.

The first mate and the Skipper too
Will do their very best
To make the others comfortable
In the tropic island nest.

No phone, no lights, no motorcars,
Not a single luxury,
Like Robinson Crusoe,
It's primitive as can be.

So join us here each week, my freinds,
You're sure to get a smile
From seven stranded castways,
Here on Gilligan's Isle.

fausto said...

Top Cat!
The most effectual
Top Cat!
Who's intellectual
Close friends get to call him T. C.
Providing it's with dignity.
Top Cat!
The indisputable
Leader of the gang,
He's the boss, he's the VIP,
He's a championship,
He's the most tip top - Top Cat!

Yes, he's the chief, he's the king,
But, above everything,
He's the most tip top - Top Cat!

Flintstones, meet the Flintstones!
They're the modern stone-age family.
From the town of Bedrock,
They're a page right out of history.
Let's ride with the family down the street
Through the courtesy of Fred's two feet.
When you're with the Flintstones,
Have a yabba-dabba-doo time,
A dabba-doo time,
You'll have a gay old time!

Flintstones, meet the Flintstones!
They're the modern stone-age family.
From the town of Bedrock,
They're a page right out of history.
Some day, maybe Fred will win the fight,
Then that cat will stay out for the night.
When you're with the Flintstones,
Have a yabba-dabba-doo time,
A dabba-doo time,
You'll have a gay old time!

PeaceBang said...

I personally am LIVING for the day that Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey do a re-make of "Green Acres." What are they WAITING for?!!?

Anonymous said...

I'm thinking we really should NOT treat our April 30 party as an occasion for MP3J'ing. Fausto's playlist has scared me deeply into Meyers-Briggs "I" territory, and I may not emerge again until I've finished listening to my MTV New Wave Hits album...

fausto said...

I agree with Philo re April 30.

My purpose in posting the playlist was not to promote such tripe, but rather to defend the fortitude of boomers who were able to survive the onslaught forthrightly, without falling back into a posture of defensive irony. If their alternate escape route was the Beatles and/or the Kingston Trio, the Irony Generation should at least hesitate before casting the first stone.

--fausto, who got shouted down in the car on the way to school a few weeks ago while trying to teach his 3rd- and 5th-graders "If I Had a Hammer", and who despite his indifference to the song is still waiting to hear CC explain exactly why "Imagine" is lame

Anonymous said...

Phuc, Chalice Chick--just want a few memories--hell I still "pine" over not making it with janis joplin when I might have had a chance. I mean, in the long run, FREEDOM is just another word. . . (Kris K. not withstanding)

I still revere Aldous Huxley as an intellectual. I remember the time Dick Alpert saved me from my own dragons while on an acid trip. And if you want a real "trip" get old grads of Starr King to tell you about the stories of Grizzly Peak!

I respect you though--"red" can't be all "bad" can it?

Just an 'ol Fart--now 63 and counting.

Cheerfully, Roger Kuhrt

LaReinaCobre said...

I am a Gen X'er I guess, and I love the song Imagine.

Chalicechick said...


To me the world it describes sounds very bland and unappealling.


LaReinaCobre said...

I like it because it feels sincere. It's about thinking outside the box. I've liked the song ever since I was a kid. I think my mom (48 years old) really likes it, too. It's not specific, but few songs are.

Chalicechick said...

I can see that, though I don't really share its vision.

That said, I wrote this when it had just been voted "best song ever written" by all the baby boomers who listen to one of my local radio stations.

It's an OK song, but not the best song ever.

LaReinaCobre said...

I don't think it's best song ever written, either. Not that there'd ever be any agreement on that question!

kinsi said...


but dont give up on blake.

he's cute.