11 February 2006

Stimorol Superstar

Waking-up from the Beatlemania, John Lennon said "We're more popular than Jesus, now". "We", as in the Beatles, of course. If you take the entire quote, Lennon was convinced that "Christianity will go. It will shrink and vanish.". He didn't give a timeline though. The hateful reaction to those words published in March 1966 didn't kick before July of the same year in the Bible belt. Seems like religious sensitive people are always slow to get started.
I remember a scene in Witness, that I saw again recently, where Harrison Ford is dancing in the barn with Kelly McGillis on Sam Cooke's "Wonderful World". They are happy and laughing and enjoying life and then suddenly, the Mormon's father shows up, rather angry and shouts at her daughter for listening to music.
When I grew-up, I wasn't quite the Mormon's daughter, and I wasn't living in a reclused area. My parents home is in the very center of Paris and I was attending public school, open to all kinds of cultural winds. Yet, I could clearly see a difference between "the outside" and "the home". At home, I lived in a Jewish world, no doubt about it, and it was not even orthodox, far from it. Most of the time, I really think it was tolerant and fun but as I was getting older, and with new desires for my life, it became constraining in so many ways. To get away from all this, waiting for my adult time to come, I was listening to music and to the Beatles, I was reading all sorts of books until my eyes would close, and I projected myself on hundreds different lives that would unfold in hundreds different movies. Nothing special here for a teenager, I agree.
Except, I could do it because I was born in France, a democracy. I could find without much difficulties the ways to free myself from religious dogma. Music, Art, Cinema, Litterature, Comics ARE subversive. Integrists and fascists of all kinds are right to be scared of them. When they burn books, they know where their enemies are.
If needed, it becomes clearer to me that "laïcité" - the political concept on which the separation of Church and the State is based in France - is never to take for granted, but a victory to fight for permanently. Religious say and censorship has no legitimacy here, whatsoever.
At the risk of passing for a Ferris Bueller, I'll quote Lennon again in his song God: "I don't believe in Jesus (...) I don't believe in Buddha (...) I don't believe in Yoga (...) I don't believe in Kings (...) I don't believe in Beatles, I just believe in me...and that reality".
And THIS is already a full time job, so...

-- Joëlle.

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