Sadly, this is not a scene from Magical Mystery Tour.
Here at the National Evil, we’re sicker than sick and tireder than tired of watching the Beatles cram themselves into all of pop culture’s nooks and crannies, like an American businessman hell-bent on penetrating every conceivable orifice before leaving Thailand. When you’re mangling your tunes for a Cirque du Soleil show, for Evil’s sake, you are officially sullying the legacy. It makes us want to scream, “Guys—if you need cash, I can loan you a twenty to get you through the weekend. So stop with the whoring!”
Worse than the whoring itself is the demographic at which the whoring is aimed: sixtysomething Boomers who are happy to shell out the big bucks to watch the Beatles shift from a visionary musical smorgasbord to aural junk food—greasy, unfulfilling, disposable. An entire generation, wallets fanned, dragging their greatest band into the senescent pool of family-friendly entertainment in which they themselves float. Pathetic!
The Beatles have remained relevant because they exploded in a supernova of mutual contempt, sparing us from having to watch them get old together and become our parents. Yet here they are, aging horribly before our very eyes. Like Walter Donovan at the end of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade after he drank from the false grail:
Now Yoko Ono is in a legal fight over footage of John Lennon filmed just before the Beatles’ demise. He’s composing music, getting high, joking about putting LSD in Nixon’s tea. According to this article, Yoko is “fighting to keep the images private.”
Now, if she simply wants to maintain control of her late husband’s image, that’s fine and dandy. We are all about the IP at the NE. But if anything—as a service to him and his band—she should be thrusting this footage into every American’s face. The moment we all said, “Hey, the Beatles are awesome” coincided with our discovery of the psychedelic stuff, and that they got high all the time, and that Charles Manson loved them, and that they were totally into Eastern mysticism. That made the Beatles a rock band—yeah, maybe our parents loved them, too, but they didn’t love that stuff. Not anymore. The Beatles’ uncouth behavior allowed us to get into the music without feeling like tools.
That’s our generation. But what of the next? The Boomers’ grandkids, shifting uncomfortably between Granny and Gramps as ninja ballet is performed to the music of the Beatles. Is there a chance in hell they’ll ever appreciate the White Album? To them, the Beatles will be muzak, stuff for old people—unless Beatles, Inc. puts out any and all available footage of the stoned, irresponsible, genius musicians they were in their prime, and drops the multicategory marketing blitz.
Maybe they don’t care. Maybe they only want to leech as many dollars from their generational peers as possible before they join the cover photo in that big Sgt. Pepper in the sky. But if they’re interested in maintaining a cultural legacy beyond this generation, they need to produce footage of George Harrison sacrificing a goat. And drinking its blood. Stat.