This morning I was listening to Jim Goad talk about stalkers. He talked about Mark Chapman, the man who murdered John Lennon. Chapman was angered by what he saw as John Lennon’s ‘phoniness’. I hadn’t known this and for the first time I grasped the connection between the murder and Catcher in the Rye, the novel Chapman had with him when he shot John Lennon. The protagonist of the novel, Holden Caulfield, despised phoniness.
I think John Lennon probably was phoney. He preached love but was unpleasant to many people he came into contact with. I’m sure he would defend himself by saying he had never claimed to be a saint but this shouldn’t stop him from telling other people they ought to behave.
I look at things differently. I sometimes see us adults like big children: our bodies grew and we got better at manipulating words but we didn’t really change. From this perspective I see Lennon as a school bully who, with the weird, straggly-haired girl from Form 4C, goes round telling all the other children in the playground that bullying is bad. In short he was a hypocrite, the kind of person Lennon himself railed against.