You May Say I’m a Dweemer

The other night, on New Year’s Eve it was, I turned on the television shortly before nine in order to see 2017 stride confidently ashore on the east coast. What I actually got was a few minutes of a standard issue pop star with nice teeth, encouraging everyone to sing along with a traditional favorite . . . and you know, I am enough of a schmuck to wonder if we were going to get some auld acquaintance, or something like that. But no, what we got was the treacle-enriched nihilism of John Lennon’s Imagine. “Da dum da dum da dum . . . you may say I’m a dweemer . . .”keyboard

And it occurred to me that what that song desperately needs is some extended commentary. It could be a scholarly annotated commentary with extended bibliography, which I will leave to others more qualified, or it might be the kind that someone in my position might be able to do—you know, Mystery Science Theater kind of stuff.

I would approach it this way because I like to think of myself as sort of a C.S. Lewis, only without the scholarship, intelligence, humility, grace, or deftness of touch. Other than that, the parallels are almost uncanny. When Lewis dealt with a subject, all would simply stand back in wonder and say, rem acu tetigisti, “you have touched the thing with a needle.” In my case, it is more like rem salix alba tetigisti—you have touched the thing with a cricket bat, and we are not quite sure that tetigisti is the right verb.

But one wonders sometimes—doesn’t one?—whether there are times when all public-spirited apologists think to themselves that nothing but a cricket bat will do.

Imagine there’s no heaven

You mean this is it? This is the whole shebang? I’ve spent virtually all my life in Hoboken, and now you tell me there’s no heaven?

It’s easy if you try

We see now that rigorous worldview analysis is simply a matter of closing your eyes, and humming a little tune. The question is not what kind of universe you actually live in, but rather what kind of universe you want to be living in. A moment’s reflection will show that this is total nonsense, but then another moment of wishing will fix it. It will erase the whole thing and make all those nasty logicky thoughts go away.

No hell below us

Ah, now this is the sticking point. Not only is it the sticking point, if we successfully remove it, it becomes the selling point. If you can imagine this, then the rest of song becomes quite catchy.

Above us only sky

Since we are in a song called Imagine, just imagine what you can now get away with. That shady business with the stocks? Above you only sky. Those pills for slipping into your date’s drink? Above you only sky. Helping the Russians get into John Podesta’s email? Above you only sky.

Imagine all the people

Okay, this is an easy one.

Living for today . . .

Actually this is an easy one also. The only people we know are the ones living for today. That is why we work in a Dilbert cubicle with an idiot boss, and a teeming, snarling swirl of office politics up and down the stupid skyscraper, with all of them living for today, and then every weekend nothing more than three incoherent parties with the only unifying theme being that everyone at the parties is living for today. Fortunately in the short term she is not bad looking, she is coming to our apartment afterward, we have these pills, and nothing over us but sky.

Aha-ah . . .

This is the only part of the song that makes any sense.

Imagine there’s no countries

Where are we all going to live then?

It isn’t hard to do

It is too hard. Where are we going to live? Who is going to collect the garbage?

Nothing to kill or die for
This one is kind of a trade-off. I agree not to kill you, and I agree not to die for you either. That way I am not the murderer, and when the murderer comes for you, I can stay out of it. I am detached, enlightened, and am overflowing with pure thoughts. And on the “not killing” part, I also reserve the right to change my mind on that point because floating over top of all such commitments is the most convenient exculpatory category of “only sky.”

And no religion, too

Except for the religion we are all in the process of imagining. The one in which we have no heaven, no hell, and only sky.

Imagine all the people

Okay, all the people. Got it. We have been over this one.

Living life in peace . . .

This particular wish is qualified by our earlier assertion that there is nothing to die for. Living life in peace would certainly appear to be a desideratum, but it is not worth dying for. I won’t die for that on your behalf. Tell you what I will do, however. I will do all in my power to imagine it for you. Easy if you try.

You . . .
Yes, you.

You may say I’m a dreamer

Well, yes, actually, that thought had occurred to me.

But I’m not the only one

Because if anything will improve a hallucination it would be multiplying power of a mass hallucination.

I hope someday you’ll join us

No, thanks.

And the world will be as one

As one? Or one? Maybe you just needed it to scan?

Imagine no possessions

Great. Let’s start with the residual royalty stream from the hit song Imagine. Where do I log in with my PayPal info?

I wonder if you can

Yes, I can. I have my log in info right here.

No need for greed or hunger

Was somebody arguing that we needed hunger?

A brotherhood of man

I don’t know. I have been feeling kind of cynical since getting stiffed on that royalty business.

Imagine all the people

Yes, yes, the people. Just like in Eleanor Rigby.

Sharing all the world . . .

Not sharing at all. You can’t fool me anymore. What’s the point? They are living for today, remember? Grabbing, lost and lonely, also like in Eleanor Rigby. Above them only sky.

You . . .

Yeah, you.

You may say I’m a dreamer

I will admit the tune is catchy.

But I’m not the only one

What do you have when a million people think that two and two make five? What you do not have is the future of mathematics.

I hope someday you’ll join us

Perhaps if we could revisit the royalties question . . .

And the world will live as one.

Until the heat death of the sun. Prior to which point an astute observer will point out that the entire history of our planet will have amounted to nothing more than the dance of millions of gnats and midges on a long summer afternoon five centuries ago. They are all dead now.

Imagine there’s no nothing. No mellow chord change. No treacle. No nothing.

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weisjohn
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weisjohn

> Was somebody arguing that we needed hunger?

I’m dying over here with laughter… Please never stop blogging.

somethingclever
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somethingclever

A person observed once that everyone wants paradise. Half think it would be a great place to live. The other half think it would be a great place to plunder.

Capndweeb
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Capndweeb

That WAS something clever!
I’m guessing that among those plotting to plunder, there are some who would do so through taxation.

Frank_in_Spokane
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Frank_in_Spokane

“[H]alf think [paradise] would be a great place to plunder.”

One of the ghosts in The Great Divorce thought so. He “just” wanted to bring some capital back to Hell / Purgatory to open a market, to buy and sell the materials for building real houses …

Billtownphysics
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Billtownphysics

LOL, yep the Vikings were always looking for the next “paradise”.

adad0
Member

Then Tom Petty and the Heart Breakers came along and wrecked everything by releasing their song,
“Refugee”! ????

(A song almost Trump-like by comparison!)

Capndweeb
Guest
Capndweeb

Nooo, you dooooooon you doooon haf to lif like a refugeeeeeeee.
Thanks for sticking THAT in my head for the rest of the day.

adad0
Member

No prob cap’n! I figured your awesome hat liked rockin’ tunes! Happy new year!????????????????

Rob Steele
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Rob Steele

Man, you totally own the Mystery Science Theatre style of cultural criticism. It’s so much more entertaining than bald arguments, though opponents unfamiliar with the arguments will not get it. They wouldn’t get it anyway.

Capndweeb
Guest
Capndweeb

I have also blogged about “Imagine.” If Lewis touches his subjects with a needle and Wilson with a cricket bat, mine is more like an ever-so gentle and poignant tap with the south end of a north-bound elephant.
Which, according to Google translate is: tetigit cum elephanti DOLIUM.

http://kinshipchristianradio.blogspot.com/2015/03/imagine.html

John
Member

I think a swift swat with that hat should scare just about anyone on earth. No need for an elephant.

bethyada
Member

I so think meat is a good Christmas present. And the fish head story was excellent

Capndweeb
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Capndweeb

Thank you, bethyada!

ashv
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ashv

I believe about this time last year I predicted 2016 was going to be “rowdy”. I hope this one’s a little more boring — for us, at least.

wisdumb
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wisdumb

I dunno Consider who has been offended…

steghorn21
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steghorn21

To paraphrase Jesus, the Offended are always with us.

Johnny Simmons
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Johnny Simmons
Jill Smith
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Jill Smith

I have to disagree with you that the tune is catchy. I think it is massively dreary unless you have first been self-medicating with the kind of substance that used to make me think I was hilarious when I wandered around saying “Pol POT!”

I am really sorry that John Lennon got murdered, especially for such a dumb reason. But, looking on the bright side, at least he didn’t live long enough to get a Nobel for literature.

Ian Miller
Member

Would he have, though? I mean, none of the other Beatles have, and they were way more popular than Dylan. :)

Arwenb
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Arwenb

Speaking of Lewis, I like to think that “Imagine” is the song that the Green Lady was playing in The Silver Chair

Jane
Member

Right, the one with the catchy tune is the almost equally execrable “Merry Xmas: War is Over.”

The saving grace of that one is that it makes a truly amazing concert band piece. Take out the words, add some brass and symphonic percussion and it’s really actually a very good piece of music!

BurlyGates
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BurlyGates

A couple years ago I spent a day in prison visiting Mark David Chapman*, and it’s hard to deny that he was simply living out the ‘no hell below us’ with his crime of murdering John Lennon.

*Long story short, my dad led him to Christ in the mid-’80s and has been discipling him ever since. I talked with Mark on the phone many times growing up and finally got to meet him in person on one of my dad’s trips from Florida to visit him.

BurlyGates
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BurlyGates

Btw, I’ve been reading this blog for over a decade but haven’t commented in forever. It’s good to be back!

bethyada
Member

Did Lennon believe the stuff he wrote?

https://youtu.be/FViap2HRjJc

steghorn21
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steghorn21

PJ O’ Rourke wrote a great piece about Imagine in an article. He seemed to think that Lennon repudiated it in his later years.

Matt
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Matt

I don’t understand why anyone finds atheism comforting.

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

I am not an atheist but I can see why it is comforting. The thought of just going to sleep and never again knowing the pain of consciousness.

Orque
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Orque

Because it makes you aware of just how small a part of the universe you are. I mean, how can you worry too much about things you honestly can’t change? It’s not like you’ve got any reason to believe that the universe owes you anything? But I also want to clarify that I’m referring to things you can’t control, like having a chronic disease. I’m not talking about the ‘I should really study for my exams but I don’t feel like doing anything at all’ or even the ‘how can one single person do anything meaningful to protect the environment’… Read more »

sean carlson
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sean carlson

A wonderfully funny take on one of the all time most ridiculous songs.

jigawatt
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jigawatt

Don’t be too hard on Lennon; the song was pretty much written by Forrest Gump.

jigawatt
Guest
jigawatt

In the gallary of popular music “Imagine” is an LED bespeckled Thomas Kinkade.

Flagrant Regard
Guest
Flagrant Regard

Fantastic piece! Years ago, we put this pastiche together to combat/counter Lennon’s erring vision. Hope you can appreciate it. :-)
https://youtu.be/78g928UwKeg

timbushong
Member

“…you know, Mystery Science Theater kind of stuff.”

Which, if it’s really funny, is harder than it looks! It’s like the Spike Jones/Weird Al mode of skewering pompous pop culture, and it’s fun to boot! And this post just rocks.

“Let’s start with the residual royalty stream from the hit song Imagine.”

Yup…socialism for all. Come on, Yoko–do it..

John Warren
Member

“what that song desperately needs is some extended commentary” Yes! I’ve always thought this. Well done, Pastor Wilson!

Now, can you try your hand at Stairway to Heaven?

Kevin
Guest
Kevin

This bothered me the same night, this is amazing.