Essence Of Man

  There was an almost hearing this date, 02-12-2002. What took place will be added shortly.

  But for now, Galileo is remembered as a famous man who did many things. In his day, not a wise move to publish one's thoughts. He endorsed the heliocentric theory, challenging the status quo that prevailed for over a thousands years. Bureaucrats didn't want him telling people the world wasn't flat. Anyway, not only did his contemporaries think he was crazy, but thought his writings bizarre to say the least. The Vatican called him on the carpet and under pressure, he recanted his writings.

  It was suggested that I either remove "offensive material" or voluntarily censor this site. To "clean it up".

  By the way, how many books have you read in your lifetime? What kind? Try reading something by the German author, Thomas Mann (1875-1955).

  Connection? Read his biography.

John Lennon pulled a Galileo

The "We're More Popular Than Jesus" Scandal

  John Lennon, throughout his career, had a habit of speaking his mind with almost no consideration of consequences. Such was the case on March 4, 1966, when he told journalist Maureen Cleave of the London Evening Standard that Christianity will go. It will vanish and shrink. I needn't argue about that, I'm right and will be proved right. We're more popular than Jesus Christ now. I don't know which will go first, rock 'n' roll or Christianity. Jesus was all right, but his disciples were thick and ordinary. It's them twisting it that ruins it for me.

  It was one of many things he said in a lengthy interview, and the British public "who were used to his offhand remarks" didn't pay much attention to the statement. Not so in America. In July of that year, Lennon's words reached the U.S. fan magazine Datebook, and suddenly a furor erupted. The focal point of the outrage lay in the rural South and Midwest, where churches, radio stations, and various conservative groups sponsored the destruction of anything having to do with the Beatles. People gathered to burn, shred, or grind to bits records, magazines, and photographs of the group. One anti-Beatle radio station, KLUE of Longview, Texas, was struck by lightning and put off the air for the night. The station had held a Beatle bonfire earlier that day, and their program director was knocked unconscious by the bolt. However, KLUE resumed programming the following morning.

  The world soon began to react. Spain and the Vatican denounced Lennon, but the press in Hong Kong "a predominantly Buddhist city" questioned what all the fuss was about. South Africa banned Beatles music from its airwaves. Years later, after the group broke up, the apartheid regime allowed the music of McCartney, Starkey, and Harrison on the radio, but John Lennon's songs remained under ban. "I Was Not Saying We Are Greater" By the time Lennon had an opportunity to clarify his statement, stock in Northern Songs, the Beatles' publishing company, had dropped from $1.64 to $1.26 a share. In Chicago on August 11, 1966, Lennon held perhaps the most difficult press conference of his career. Appearing quite shaken by the outrage he had inadvertently caused, he told reporters I suppose if I had said television was more popular than Jesus, I would have gotten away with it. I'm sorry I opened my mouth. I'm not anti-God, anti-Christ, or anti-religion. I was not knocking it. I was not saying we are greater or better.

  People generally accepted his apology, although the Ku Klux Klan tried unsuccessfully to keep the group from playing a show in Memphis. A few months later, in October 1966, the Archbishop of Boston agreed that the Beatles were more popular than Jesus Christ, modern times being what they were. It is interesting to observe that one reason why nobody cared about Lennon's comment in Britain was that they assumed it was just one man's opinion. In America, on the other hand, much of the furor had its wellspring in the fact that the Beatles enjoyed a status larger than mere mortals, and their opinions were not just opinions. Hence the very reaction to his comment helped to prove John's point.


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Updated: 02-14-2002