FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Lennon Imagined

by MARC CATONE

Imagine there is a Heaven.

Imagine John Lennon is in Heaven, and he is retching over this.

John Lennon’s image, and an imitation of his voice, has been exploited in a television ad to ship laptop computers to poor children all over the world.  Calculatingly altruistic, but it is sickening to watch.

I began my opposition to the commercial exploitation of The Beatles’ and Lennon’s music in TV ads almost 25 years ago.  It began in 1985 when the first commercial of that year’s Grammy awards was a Chevrolet ad using “Help”…the first time a Beatles song was used in such a manner.  I objected to The Beatles music, copyright ownership by Michael Jackson, being used in advertising that had no correlation with the intent of the song or its lyrics.

Back then, I formed a shoe-string organization called “F.A.C.E. The Music” (Fans Against Commercial Exploitation) which gathered petitions and sent letters to major advertising firms, and the major TV networks, to stop accepting advertising using Beatles music.  The NBC legal dept threatened to sue me over my alleged “harassment” of their advertising dept.  Sending them two letters, and a petition was too much for them.  I told NBC to go ahead, sue me, and make my day.  Of course, their feckless lawyers never did.

Eventually, “F.A.C.E. The Music” faded away. Over the decades I’ve become inured to Beatles songs as background music for TV ads, but now comes this….the actual image of John Lennon being used to promote a commercial product, with a voiceover saying things he never said.  This strikes me as reprehensible.

I have defended Yoko Ono many times, publicly and privately, regarding the commercial licensing of products lending themselves to John Lennon (e.g. children’s pajamas containing some of his drawings), but this time I think her permission to have John’s image advertise laptop computers has crossed an ethical line.

It’s one thing to say that John Lennon would promote peace if he were still alive, it’s another thing entirely to say he would have advocated a laptop for every child in the Third World.

Some say that this commercial will benefit children.  I don’t believe that.  It’s actual purpose is to make the computer company money.  Who knows if the computers will actually be used by children.  More than likely they will be used by adults…and who knows towards what ends.  And even should a child in the Sudan or Uruguay come to own one of these laptops, will it really be used to learn, or merely to entertain?  Wouldn’t bringing food, clean water, sanitary facilities, and vaccinations be a more worthwhile goal for poor children throughout the world than shilling a computer, no matter how “noble” they label the endeavor?

Some will say that John Lennon was Yoko Ono’s  husband, and that as head of his estate she has the right to do whatever she wants.  Well, that’s true, but as with every freedom there comes responsibility.  The misuse of Lennon’s image (figuratively and literally) is irresponsible, and not in keeping with John’s history.

The desensitization of our society by commercial advertising continues unabated.  As a Beatles and Lennon fan, I am saddened that his image is being manipulated in this way.

Marc A. Catone can be reached at marc_catone@yahoo.com

 

 

 

 

 

More articles by:
Weekend Edition
February 16, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Jeffrey St. Clair
American Carnage
Paul Street
Michael Wolff, Class Rule, and the Madness of King Don
Andrew Levine
Had Hillary Won: What Now?
David Rosen
Donald Trump’s Pathetic Sex Life
Susan Roberts
Are Modern Cities Sustainable?
Joyce Nelson
Canada vs. Venezuela: Have the Koch Brothers Captured Canada’s Left?
Geoff Dutton
America Loves Islamic Terrorists (Abroad): ISIS as Proxy US Mercenaries
Mike Whitney
The Obnoxious Pence Shows Why Korea Must End US Occupation
Joseph Natoli
In the Post-Truth Classroom
John Eskow
One More Slaughter, One More Piece of Evidence: Racism is a Terminal Mental Disease
John W. Whitehead
War Spending Will Bankrupt America
Dave Lindorff
Trump’s Latest Insulting Proposal: Converting SNAP into a Canned Goods Distribution Program
Robert Fantina
Guns, Violence and the United States
Robert Hunziker
Global Warming Zaps Oxygen
John Laforge
$1.74 Trillion for H-bomb Profiteers and “Fake” Cleanups
CJ Hopkins
The War on Dissent: the Specter of Divisiveness
Peter A. Coclanis
Chipotle Bell
Anders Sandström – Joona-Hermanni Mäkinen
Ways Forward for the Left
Wilfred Burchett
Vietnam Will Win: Winning Hearts and Minds
Tommy Raskin
Syrian Quicksand
Martha Rosenberg
Big Pharma Still Tries to Push Dangerous Drug Class
Jill Richardson
The Attorney General Thinks Aspirin Helps Severe Pain – He’s Wrong
Mike Miller
Herb March: a Legend Deserved
Ann Garrison
If the Democrats Were Decent
Renee Parsons
The Times, They are a-Changing
Howard Gregory
The Democrats Must Campaign to End Trickle-Down Economics
Sean Keller
Agriculture and Autonomy in the Middle East
Ron Jacobs
Re-Visiting Gonzo
Eileen Appelbaum
Rapid Job Growth, More Education Fail to Translate into Higher Wages for Health Care Workers
Ralph Nader
Shernoff, Bidart, and Echeverria—Wide-Ranging Lawyers for the People
Chris Zinda
The Meaning of Virginia Park
Robert Koehler
War and Poverty: A Compromise with Hell
Mike Bader – Mike Garrity
Senator Tester Must Stop Playing Politics With Public Lands
Kenneth Culton
No Time for Olympic Inspired Nationalism
Graham Peebles
Ethiopia: Final Days of the Regime
Irene Tung – Teófilo Reyes
Tips are for Servers Not CEOs
Randy Shields
Yahoomans in Paradise – This is L.A. to Me
Thomas Knapp
No Huawei! US Spy Chiefs Reverse Course on Phone Spying
Mel Gurtov
Was There Really a Breakthrough in US-North Korea Relations?
David Swanson
Witness Out of Palestine
Binoy Kampmark
George Brandis, the Rule of Law and Populism
Dean Baker
The Washington Post’s Long-Running Attack on Unions
Andrew Stewart
Providence Public School Teachers Fight Back at City Hall
Stephen Cooper
Majestic Meditations with Jesse Royal: the Interview
David Yearsley
Olympic Music
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail