Monday, May 18, 2015

Queen Ono

"Recently, I sent a friend a YouTube link in an email and warned her, “Only watch this if you want to be angry!” It was a video by the comedian and podcaster Bill Burr, talking over a 1972 clip of John and Yoko performing with Chuck Berry on The Mike Douglas Show. Lennon and Berry are “killing it,” Burr declares, and Ono’s just “playing some stupid fucking drum, and even though she has no fucking talent whatsoever, he’s putting her in the fucking band just so she’ll shut the fuck up and stop nagging him!” This joke was not original enough to offend me, but I felt an anger rising when Burr panned back: “Dude, did you ever have, like, a buddy of yours and he’s dating some fucking psycho but he’s in love with her so you can’t fucking say anything? And you’re just sitting there waiting for the fucking lightning bolt to hit your friend in the head where he finally realizes that he’s dating a psycho cunt?”

I have always been drawn to the women who can arouse this kind of vitriol. The kind of hate that seems too big and billowing to be directed at just one woman, the kind that seems like a person or an entire society is vomiting out all its misogyny onto one convenient scapegoat. At some point — after successive Joan of Arc and Courtney Love phases — I started to see this position of feminine abjectness as a kind of superpower. A position from which a woman could offend far more deeply than a man.

When I watch that Mike Douglas performance now, I see something different from what Burr does — or from what I might have seen a decade ago. I see in Ono a locus of possibility. A portal leading toward an alternate universe in which I can freely admit sacrilegious things: that I feel uncomfortable falling at the feet of both Lennon or Berry because one of them beat his ex-wife and the other was once arrested for transporting a 14-year-old girl across state lines; that these two don’t sound all that great together; that there is something laughably tame about their performance, and by extension the entire supposedly revolutionary art form of rock and roll, if it can be so profoundly threatened by a woman playing a drum and making weird noises with her voice. I see a woman throwing blood"

- Lindsay Zoladz, Yoko Ono and the Myth That Needs to Die, Vulture

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.