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Modern and Traditional Japanese Culture: The Psychology of Buddhism, Power Rangers, Masked Rider, Manga, Anime and Shinto. 在日イギリス人男性による日本文化論.

Monday, August 06, 2007


John and Yoko

According to most sources, including the wikipedia article this photo was taken the morning of John Lennon's death. While I am a wikipedia fan,“taken in 1980 the morning before Lennon’s death,”doesn't sound quite right. I think that the interview for Rolling Stone may have been the day of his assasination, but was the photo?
I doubt the wikipedia assertion only because I also think that John Lennon commented on the photograph saying that it was great because summed up his relationship with Ono perfectly.
So unless Lebowitz also took a instant polariod too it is difficult to see how Lennon could have commented on the photo if it were taken on the morning of his death because the photograph would have not yet been processed (unless he was just commenting on the pose).
The pose says a lot. Lennon is like a foetus or at least a infant, stuck to, almost suckling, and anyway dependent upon Ono. Ono has her arms raised above her head - almost blase' of Lennon's affection - and her eyes slightly open (I think) while Lennon's are shut. This suggest something along the lines of rather absolute trust on the part of Lennon, and "looking out for us both" on the part of Ono.
Lennon was parted from his mother at an early age and raised by his maternal aunt. His mother lived not so far away but Lennon did not know that at first, presuming that the infrequency of her visits was because his mother lived a long way away.
In fact, after the disappearance of Lennon's father (a 'listless' sailor) his mother found another man, and just did not feel able to keep a child from a previous marriage with her new man.
I think that Lennon became aware of this truth (that his mother had chosen a relationship with a new man over himself) before his mother's death.
I think perhaps that Lennon's mother died in sight of Lennon in a automotive accident (hit by a bus??) as she left after one of her visits.
These circumstances, it seems to me, may have produced in Lennon a far bigger than usual oedipus complex in the Lacanian sense.
Freud argued that male children naturally want to have sex with their mothers. This seems silly to me, living as I do in Japan where children share the parental bed. (My son does not try to hump his mother.)
Lacan (an obscurantist twerp at times I think, but also brilliant) argued that (Western) upbringing results in the formation of the oedipus complex. That is to say that because (Western) mothers reject their infants and (mixing in Richard Schweder's "Who sleeps by whom") go and sleep in another room, infants gain the impression that the 'thing that daddy can do' must be wonderful, and wish that they could do it too. This, Lacan argued, results in the oedipal/sexual desire.
In the 'normal' Western household this is predominantly a result of bedroom arrangements, but in Lennon's case his mother opted for a sexual relationship to the extent of not just another bedroom but living completely apart, even to the point of death.
It is no wonder then that early Lennon was super Western and, echoing the pan-sexual-theorist Freud, was fond of saying "It's all dick (according to the movie "Back Beat" at least)."
Indeed, the Beatles, with their songs of sexual love, chanted the Western mantra big-time. "All you need is love." Or perhaps, all you need is a, or many, coital relationships.
But then John Lennon found Yoko Ono who, Japanese as she is, did not idolise sexual love. Even after all the bed-ins and the Ono arranged affair still loved him. This was the mother he always wanted. She was his rock, she looked out for the both of them, his trust was eyes wide shut.
Personally, I thin that Ono was a smidgeon upwardly mobile and don't believe in pure love myself. But I can appreciate Lennon's point of view.
Here is love. A beautiful photo.

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I recently attended a public talk by Annie Liebowitz, in which she talked about taking that picture the day Lennon was shot. So there you have it from the horse's mouth.
But what do I have?

I believe that there was a film (movie) made recently abouth the shooting of the photo, and Mr. Lennon.

Oh, sorry - you mean I have confirmation that the photo was taken on the day of John Lennon's assination. Thank you.
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This blog represents the opinions of the author, Timothy Takemoto, and not the opinions of his employer.