Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Back then, Lennon died

Today, December 8th, the chronicle of an unforetold death receives an almost biblical beginning. To say “at that time” suggests references to the Holy Scriptures, and could be one of the meanings. Without wishing to commit heresy, the man who was recognized as “more famous than Jesus Christ” together with three other “long-haired men”, was basically a good man who was persecuted and sacrificed.

If goodness is to avoid violence, his response in the last period of the group was to mediate, make peace, and even disappear in the tensest moments, so as not to fan the flame of resentment among them. I mention this because we already know about the global peace campaign, and everyone is capable of humming Give Peace a Chance.

If kindness is being generous, John was generous to anyone who exuded love. Not to others. He helped his friends in bankruptcy, and even bought one of them, ex-Quarrymen Pete Shotton, a supermarket to help him get ahead. Cass Elliot, the founder of Mamas & The Papas, woke up one morning by surprise with her hand in the genius’s, hearing from his voice a “Cass, I love you,” as he looked at her behind his round glasses. She had cried with her friends assuring her that John, with whom she was in love, would never love her because she was too obese. They became friends.

He was the one who said, “When you do something noble and beautiful and no one notices, don’t be sad. The sunrise is a beautiful sight and yet most of the audience is still asleep.”

He also famously said, “We live in a world where we hide to make love, while violence is practiced in broad daylight.” For it was at night.

Who killed John Lennon at 11 p.m. on December 8, 1980? Yes, the material perpetrator is there, with his details: inmate Mark David Chapman is serving a life sentence at the Wende Correctional Facility in Erie County, New York. Yes, the same maximum-security institution where Epstein ended up. Right. Too simple.

Back then also tells of a 1980s New York full of violence and neighborhoods the police couldn’t even enter; of a Lennon who had been hunted down earlier by Nixon’s henchmen as a pacifist; and of a terrible example of Fate’s synchronicity.

It was not the flapping of a butterfly’s wings that generated one of the saddest hurricanes in 20th-century culture, but it was, for example, the sordid shoddiness of a rubber hose. The one used by the individual now begging for mercy to attempt suicide, years before he committed his crime. It was ruined by the heat being that of the vacuum cleaner (also, clumsy) and did not introduce enough smoke from the exhaust pipe into his car. He was not so successful in this venture. Another wing-flapping of the “butterfly effect” would be in the curious slip of the killer being unfaithful to his wife. Probably any other reader of the innocent and famous juvenile book The Catcher in the Rye would hate himself for lying, and that would be that. But this being didn’t have enough, and probably wanted to do away with someone who embodied goodness but, for him, lied. Our greatest aggressiveness is usually against what we see in others and reminds us of what we do not want in ourselves. Apparently, according to the unbalanced man, being a good person was not compatible with living in the exclusive Dakota building or having a chauffeur.

I should not interpret, since it is an exercise in rudeness outside of therapy, but I will not do it either because, in the words of the criminal himself, he did it simply to make a statement. In a crude, crude and stupid way, but he succeeded. Among other things, because another of his killers was John’s true kindness when he asked the driver of his limousine to park on the sidewalk opposite the entrance to his house on 72nd Street so that he could greet the fans who were always on duty at his door. Those few meters of roadway and sidewalk were the deathbed for someone who asked Chapman himself if he wanted anything else when he signed a copy of his “Double Fantasy” album hours earlier. Yes, he wanted to be famous, and in the process, he wanted to bump off someone who represented goodness.

The misfortune happened in a world that gives visibility to the wicked, and in a country where someone with a serious disorder can buy a gun for just over $160. There was no alert. Not even from the friend who provided the ammunition, in the face of such an excuse as wanting to defend oneself in a dangerous Manhattan. And so dangerous.

With John’s blood spilled on the cruel asphalt of the metropolis at the center of the world also went an inspiring soul who, surely, would now be asking for the freedom of his own murderer.