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John Lennon's 'Idealism'

September 10, 1988

Robert Hilburn calls Albert Goldman's biography of John Lennon "heartless" and criticizes the author's "smug, nasty tone."

I can't say that I admire Goldman's book, but those adjectives sound extremely ironic to me, as they would perfectly describe Hilburn's treatment of Paul McCartney over the years.

And not entirely coincidentally, those adjectives would also characterize Lennon's treatment of McCartney--after all, it was Lennon, in his endearingly "idealistic" and "warm" way, who sang to Paul, on a best-selling album, "those freaks were right when they said you were dead."

Hilburn, as a loyal Lennon devotee, would continue that tone of cheap personal attack in the pages of the L.A. Times. It is a sign of the insecurity of Lennon supporters that they cannot see both Lennon and McCartney as having some authentic greatness and deserving enormous respect, in spite of their (frequent) missteps, moral and artistic. Lennon has to be a totally whitewashed angel, and McCartney is made into a contemptible cartoon.

Well, now someone has turned Lennon into a contemptible cartoon and Hilburn's outraged accusations of Goldman's heartlessness ring awfully hollow in the ears of this long-time McCartney admirer.

FERDINAND GASTELUM

Los Angeles

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