A journal of free voices We will serve no group-or party but will hew hard to the truth as we find it and the right as we see it. We are dedicated to the whole truth, to human values above all interests, to the rights of humankind as the foundation of democracy; we will take orders from none but our own conscience, and never will we overlook or misrepresent the truth to serve the interests of the powerful or cater to the ignoble in the human spirit. Writers are responsible for their own work, but not for anything they have not themselves written, and in publishing them we do not necessarily imply that we agree with them because this is a journal offree voices. PUBLISHER, RONNIE DUGGER The Texas Observer Publishing Co., 1980 Vol. 72, No. 25 December 26, 1980 Incorporating the State Observer and the East Texas Democrat, which in turn incorporated the Austin Forum-Advocate. EDITOR Rod Davis ASSOCIATE EDITOR Laurence Jolidon LAYOUT: Beth Epstein STAFF ASSISTANT Susan Reid CONTRIBUTING EDITORS: Warren Burnett, Jo Clifton, Chandler Davidson, John Henry Faulk, Bill Helmer, Jack Hopper, Molly Ivins, Maury Maverick Jr., Greg Moses. Kaye Northcott, Janie Paleschic, Dick J. Reavis, Laura Richardson, Paul Sweeney. Lawrence Walsh, Alfred Watkins CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS: Keith Dannemiller, Roy Hamric, Hans-Peter Otto, Alan Pogue, Bob Clare, Russell Lee CONTRIBUTING ARTISTS: Berke Breathed, Jeff Danziger, Ben Sargent, Mark Stinson, Gail Woods BUSINESS MANAGER Cliff Olofson The Texas Observer Editorial and Business Office 600 West 7th Street, Austin, Texas 78701 Publisher’s Office P.O. Box 6570, San Antonio, Texas 78209 Published by Texas Observer Publishing Co., biweekly except for a three-week interval between issues twice a year, in January and July; 25 issues per year. Second-class postage paid at Austin, Texas. years, $49. One year rate for full-time students, $12. Airmail, foreign, group, and bulk rates on request. Microfilmed by MCA, 1620 Hawkins Avenue, Box 10, Sanford, N.C. 27330. POSTMASTER: Send form 3579 to: 600 West 7th Street, Austin. Texas 78701. 2 DECEMBER 26, 1980 Cover Drawing: Ben Sargent All He Was Death of Lennon I woke up. It had been raining. My wife was asleep. I could hear my daughter tossing in her bed in the next room. It was no quite dawn. The light was gray and musty. It was cold again. got out of bed with no particular thought and walked barefoo into the living room. I turned on the TV for the morning news People were talking about John Lennon. I figured it had some thing to do with the new album so I watched, part of my mind friendly cynical about the impact of publicity on record sales and then I picked up that the person being interviewed, a record producer, was referring to Lennon in the past tense. An instinc t quickened, but the probability was too great; I dismissed it as a lapse of syntax. And then the scene cut back to the Today show, and Tom Brokaw said that John Lennon had been shot So I woke up, got out of bed, turned on my TV, and John Lennon was dead. His wife, Yoko, is said to have pleaded, “Tell me it isn’t true’ when it happened; but it was true and I suspect, if what Lenno n said about her is true, too, then she will bear up under this bette r than anyone else. What is true is true: life, death, it is all true. I all hurts. This isn’t going to be much of a biography; others will be doing that; others will be making grand assessments; others will even be getting in their licks, in the way of the media madness ultimately perhaps, holding Lennon guilty of being a martyr. There will be a movie. It will wallow in inevitability. That’s what we do with our dead; pre-figure their fate. But there was no fate at the Dakota at 11 p.m. Dec. 8. There was only a lunatic with an uncontrolled handgun who had to make a statement; who had to kill. The only statement that need be made is that one of the best and gentle-minded of my generation has been murdered; that we seem to be getting fewer all the time; but that we still have to care about each other. There is something to save, something to make, something to give, something to do. From what I read of Lennon in the last interviews he gave, especially a fine one in Playboy, it was apparent that he had effected his own revolution, the toughest one of all, because he had overthrown the destructive ego of the artist for the loving nature of a husband and father. He had a good mind. Right from the first he had an outrageous ear for punnery and nonsense \(Q. “How do you find the He was the Beatle most vulnerable to the society he re-cast, and to the end he seemed both fascinated and perplexed by what he could or could not do, maybe, just a little, looking for ways to be serious to atone for a Northern English wit that knew no censor. It was Lennon who cracked off about being more popular than Jesus, Lennon, who shacked up in a hotel to protest the war, Lennon who got in the first jam for smoking dope and Lennon who fought the U.S. immigration bureaucracy so he could become a resident of the maddened obscenity of a city that killed him like it kills everything else good and decent. I don’t mind if he’s made into a hero now; many people thought he was anyway, and he was, in the way heroes should be: ignoring hero talk. I would like to have been with him at three moments. First, anytime in 1964. Second, when Yoko tossed him out and told him to go decide who he was. He went on an extended debauchery. I would like to have gotten drunk with him then and chased women and laughed out some black t , I t
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