Monday, January 17, 2005

John or Elvis

All of a sudden there doesn't seem to be much difference.


As teenagers it was fun to pose the question to all of your friends, " Are you an Elvis person or a John Lennon person? The answer could vary but when I was coming up it was decidedly all about Elvis. Even when mentioned in 'PulpFiction' the answer was decidedly Elvis.

Now however, it seems that they were not such different men. Both grew up in relatively modest homes financially; Both from small towns; Both had several interesting affairs with numerous women; Both thrown in to politics, war, and social uprisings at young ages; Both were tradgically taken from their fans at young ages; Both were revered as neo Jesus's; Both were inarguably gifted visionaries if only recognizable from the point of view of the future.

Likewise, no matter what time of year it is, it is usually time to remember the anniversary of their birth or death.

John was tied into pop culture by being socially out spoken. He was the intellectuals artist and a highly creative musician. John was less pop and more "punk" or "alternative" early on in his career. Initially, it seemed smart to individualize oneself from the popular boy band image of the early Beatles. But truthfully he was not as timid as the media made him out to be.

Elvis though not remembered as much as a political activist stirred up trouble in his own way. And though pop culture embraced him they just as quickly kept him at arms length for his own insistence on individuality, rebellion, and challenging societies perceptions of integrity and honesty.

A recent cover story in Tracks Magazine on John Lennon inspired me to do this similarity piece. Since current events in politics and the results of the presidential election have a lot of new minds interested in John Lennon which spurred the article and sub articles regarding the final release of the 10 remaining FBI file pages. The fact that many of the issues that motivated Lennon are still troubling us today. I found it note worthy too that many of the 48% side of voters sought solace / comfort in playing either lemon or Elvis songs to get them through the emotional waves of the election results.

Upon learning of Kerry's loss I immediately located and played any and all Elvis CD's I owned. Surprisingly, when I drove around that Wednesday morning many others had done the same. I even saw a few pink Cadillac on the road that day. Its just what people do. Elvis was not necessarily any one thing and in a better world he could have been more things but he was a believer the beauty of life and the possibilities for America. So are we..

I wonder if either of them could have guessed that it would be their respective home countries waging the war of the millennium today?

Both men lived for life and died for some new definition of freedom. Whichever one best represents your ideas about things I hope the torch for real freedom is carried on to the end.


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