Here we find ourselves in the third week of November, 2008, and another rock great has just passed away. As opposed to the obligatory obituary post in honor of Mitch Mitchell, I decided to tackle my old adage of “What’s older is always better” from a different angle. Last night, while viewing an utterly amazing documentary centered around John Lennon (it’s called John Lennon: Imagine) on MTV’s new HD channel, Palladia, it finally hit me. They don’t make rockstars like they used to.
While observing Lennon battle with reporters during his legendary stand against the Vietnam War in late 1969 in New York City with Yoko by his side, it occurred to me that there hasn’t been anyone quite like John Lennon to walk the earth since. No duh, right? But the more I thought about it and the more I thought about the way the media has handled things that are considered milestones for my generation, the more I thought about how the media has failed me (us). In a tizzy, my mind began racing. The question I struggled with was this: do people like John Lennon still exist (and the media fails to give them proper attention)? Or is there no one willing to stand up for what they believe in and force the media to listen by the slight of their own celebrity status?
Lennon was a freedom fighter, and a songwriter. He (along with the Beatles) changed the face of American popular culture and music permanently, and they did it in less than a decade. John Lennon had a courage and a brilliance that inspired a generation (and arguably many others after). Who has come along since his departure from the world? Bono, Fred Durst, Pete Wentz… I cringe at the thought of any of those “visionaries” speaking on behalf of me for a global or national cause. And Lennon did it willingly, honestly, and loudly. It seems the only thing you can get anyone today to speak out on today has to involve a brand at the Gap and a limited edition iPod. So who will be the figurehead to speak for us when times get tough in the future? Is there anyone out there with the power to change the face of the world by advocating non-violence and hope? Is there anyone out there man or woman enough to do it? I hope so, because if I’m still remembering John Lennon 50 years from now as the last legendary peace advocate/rockstar, then there’s not much hope of any sort of “change” happening.