From saki@evolution.bchs.uh.edu Sat Aug 26 23:33:15 CDT 1995
Talent is an asset<BR>

Talent is an asset

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In article <41jtd6$7d1@harbour.awod.com> pshank@awod.com (Paula Shank) writes:

>I don't think she has talent, that's why she married John, so that she
>would be in a position to have people listen to her music....

This still strikes me as a curious assessment, since Yoko's primary artistic expression was non-musical. In fact, she has stated (and then-gallery-owner John Dunbar concurs) that Yoko was reluctant to meet Lennon because of his "millionare" status and the fact that she cared nothing for pop music.

Yoko had produced experimental music, but not mainstream pop, and seems to have had no interest in the latter at all. Her creative focus seems centered around films (what were then called "art films") and conceptual artistic "happenings", of a type not found very much now but then quite the rage in New York and London.

For contemporary opinion on Yoko's output, you might want to examine what critics of the time said of her work. I too am often more impressed with a conceptual artist's audacity and chutzpah than their creative ability, but even so it takes someone trained in the field to properly assess her talent. I'm no expert.

>I always felt she didn't truly love him, but only used him. But of course
>that's the opinion of an outsider looking in.

Well, staying with a man for twelve years---enduring a not-insubstantial interlude of separation, as well as emotional upheavals of various sorts; bearing his child at great risk to her own health; and managing their business matters with surprising skill and good fortune---does not strike *me* as "using him", and I'm an outsider too! :-)

The fact is, when you're an outsider, there's an elemental truth you always miss.

No matter how irritating Yoko Ono may have been to some Beatles fans (and what do we matter, anyway?), she was exactly the woman John felt he'd been seeking for years. He said so, numerous times.

Her outrageousness, avant-garde courage, and conviction of her own artistic worth all captivated him, and perhaps made pale his own inner fears and inadequacies. Did she suggest to John that such apprehensions were meaningless? Her methodology could certainly be seen that way. This was years before "performance art" was even a well-known phrase, and much of what Yoko did in the art world was seen by outsiders as merely bizarre. Yet such an artist cannot afford fear. Hers was the sort of statement John admired; hers was, apparently, a kind of bravery and insouciance that provided him with s vision for his own artistic future (even if you happen to think that he took the wrong turn. :-)

His attraction to Yoko, and hers to him, was not entirely based in music as performance or entertainment, but music as a portion of art...and life. John had been creating art anyway for years, but his need was to make a clean break here, a solemn divorce of his old way of life. It wasn't just first wife Cynthia who had failed to provide that nourishment; it was now his profession, which could no longer sustain him. He needed a new art form, and part of that need was realized in making his joint life with Yoko into a new artistic statement. Life itself became potentially unified with one's art.

No question that this was the beginning of the end of the Beatles; but that was inevitable, no matter how long the group continued to put out records and bicker like tired old siblings. It was not so much Yoko's entrance into the recording studio that harmed the Beatles' future; it was John's estrangement from his former life, and his desperate need to consolidate his emotional and creative yearnings into one person, that caused the Fabs' flame to flicker.

But frankly, they were almost all looking for a similar way out.

What about the problems John encountered after this time? Would they have been eliminated or at least eased if he'd just settled in for the long haul with Cyn? There might be no "Imagine", no return to graphic (no pun intended) art, no Green Card travails, no political/revolutionary pronouncements, no "Double Fantasy" and promise of a return to composing....

But maybe these aren't good enough? Maybe, you might argue, John could have produced much better, more consistent art had he shared that quiet, pliant, devoted lifestyle with a docile mate. And I'm not arguing against ordinary, simple, dependable domestic harmony! Good heavens; it suits many quite wonderfully.

But it's also arguably not for everyone, and I'd still suggest that it would have destroyed Lennon's art---however you define it--- and perhaps have embalmed his soul, too, had he settled for life without his self-determined soulmate.

John and Yoko's relationship was not one of complete bliss and romantic innocence; it was often tense, estranged, drug-tinged, and seemed unpleasantly bombastic and farfetched to viewers on the outside. But we remain on the outside. It was their life; in some sense it is *still* their life. And while it was not always a form of art---or a creative connectivity---that we can accept, it's worth wondering if it was, in the end, their own justifiably best of all possible worlds.

--
"Fads don't last, but it should be clear by now that the Beatles are no ordinary fad."


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