The Courier News from Blytheville, Arkansas on August 16, 1966 · Page 9
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The Courier News from Blytheville, Arkansas · Page 9

Blytheville, Arkansas
Issue Date:
Tuesday, August 16, 1966
Page 9
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Pagt Twelv* - Blylhevllle (Ark.) Courier News - Tuesday, August It, MM Walter C^qotist at oL ame "By now the Beatles are well into a tour of American cities that will bring them to Memphis for two performances Friday at the Coliseum. Para - religious outrage that threatened for a while to force cancellation of the tour has abated, although there are still pockets of antagonism along the American countryside — and elsewhere. Conspicuous in the anti - Beatle movement have been such diverse forces as the Kir. Klux Klan, the South African police state, and Mayor William (Inch) Ingram of Memphis. Ingram's stand has been particularly valiant, and seems especially so when one recalls that at the time of his first salvo against the Beatles he was already deeply engaged in battle j with his city commission in an' attempt to thwart a reform charter that would modernize Memphis government. Taking on the Beatles meant a two front war. Ingram notwithstanding, the Beatles will appear in Memphis — unless the Coliseum Board, too, succumbs to the Mayor's totalitarian frenzy. Strong rumors persist that the Beatles are coming to the Coliseum to sing, nol, as Ingram suggested "lo insult anybody's religion.' Religion has indeed been thoroughly smeared in this debacle - but not by the Beatles. The basic principles of Chris- tianity'both in its beginning and in our time (although not for a long, bloody interim period ol expansion and exploitation in the name of religion) have been charity, selflessness, and a renunciation of hate. These principles have been seriously damaged by the pro- teslors — by the hypocritical fervor of a strange mixture of professional pitchmen, bigots, politicians, and many — alas, too many — perfectly normal people whose understanding of the issues involved has been imperfect. What happened, to rehash the relevant events, was this: John Lennon, founder and intellectual eminence of the group,, told Maureen Cleave, an English newsgirl, last spring that "We (the Beatles) are more popular than Jesus now." Lennon continued: "Christianity will go. It will vanish and shrink. I needn't argue about that. I'm right and I will be Back-to-School m HOPSACK Here's the snug, trim fit young men want in line dress slacks! Haggar tailo.o them for perfect fit and easy freedom of action in a premium-quality fabric that holds its shape and press. •. stays wrinkle-free. We have your size... in your favorite Fall color. Hopsock Slacks-$7 MARTIN'S THE STORE FOR MEN & BOYS proved right, I don't know which will go first —.rock-and-roll or Chris tianity. Jesus was all right, bu its disciples were thick am ordinary. It's them twisting if that ruins it for me." The statements about Chris tianity were a legitimate part o, a long, exhaustive interview Lennon gave Miss Cleave for the London Evening Standard in an attempt to illuminate his thinking on life and things in general Three facts are immediately evident upon an examination ol he context of Lennon's remarks: 1) He told the truth about what he thought, and thus dis- inguished himself from the general run of celebrities who, when nterviewed, will say all sorts ol silly, insincere things they think he public wants to hear. 2) His remarks about religion >vere buried deep in the resultant 1,600 - word article that ap- >eared in the Standard, and can inly with difficulty be construed as an attempt to broadcast sac- liege lo an international audi- :nce. (These remarks were completely ignored, in fact, un- il two American disc jockeys dug them out of the files — mt more on that later.) 3) Miss Cleave, in any case, laims Lennon was "deploring" he all - too - obvious decline of eligion in our times — not re- ishing it. This latter tack has since also ieen taken by Brian Epstein, he Beatles' manager, and by Lennon himself when the group Appeared in Chicago. (Miss Cleave, Epstein, and -ennon are surely just attempt- ng to still the troubled waers. ^leiher Lennon nor his three omrades profess a religion. In- restingly enough, all four ad- nitted they were agnostics last ear to Playboy Magazine, and o stir was made about it then, n defending the Beatles, it is o more necessary to claim they re Christians than, in condemn- ng capital punishment, it was ecessary to claim that rapist "aryj Chessman was innocent.) Lennon's comments on Chris- anity were extracted from the tandard interview months later y one of the American pulp nagazines that specialize in the filiation of adolescents. Although presumably Lennon's emarks were then read and igested by the thousands of ymphets who devour such magazines, there was still no utcry. Enter the pitchmen: two Birmingham disc jockeys who had ot previously manifested public iety to any marked extent. (In- eed, the frankly exploitative aure of their trade tends to nhibit truly ethical behavior.) But suddently the D. J.'s got eligion! The Beatles, they said, re unworthy of being broadcast n the airwaves of our God - earing nation. And so the righteous onslaught began. The Beatles were banned in Birmingham (while meanwhile the two knights of the turntable got notoriety beyond — or perhaps to the limits of - their dreams), and the bannings, the burnings, the Bible - poundings spread like a truly 20th century mass - communicated plague. For once, though, the zealots miscalculated. In Memphis, for example, while both major rock- and-roll formula stations timidly bowed to the will of the outcriers and shelved the Beatles, the demand for Beatle records did nol abate. Joe Cuoghi of Poplar Tunes, the city's major record retailer, reported last week, in the middle of the controversy, that demands for the foursome's records had reached a new high a fact which indicates how the public demagoguery may actually, have boosted the popularity of the Beatles. More interestingly, the two hyper - religious D. J.'s have according to latest news reports "forgiven" the Beatles and begun playing their records again. Cynics may be pardoned for believing that this action was a response to the public's demand :or its heroes and not an outpouring of charity by the D. J.'s. This sudden piety and equally sudden recantation, by the way, must be one of the shortest lived two - man revivals in history. The Beatles, within the scope of this controversy, may be regarded in two lights. First, as entertainers, they iave revitalized rock - and - roll : or some of us who had ignored the genre in disgus'. for years— ever since Elvis Presley became Bobby Vinton. They won our admiration by striving for good arrangements and by introducing sophisticated musical techniques into a primitive idiom, thereby enriching it. Proof of their lasting impact upon the mainstream of Anglo- American popular music may be gained by listening to any non rock - and - roll radio station. )n any given day one will likely icar orchestrated versions of our or five memorable Beatle unes. Such songs as "Michelle," 'Yesterday," and "Nowhere Man" will inevitably take their place in the archives along with 'Blue Moon" and "Stardust." And, as "theologians," the Seatles, singly or as a group, are presumably entitled —under he general protection of our nation's official toleration of free expression and free opinion — o believe anything they wish — whether it be wise or foolish. Likewise, they are entitled to express themselves, heretically or otherwise, on all subjects — and to be listened to or disregarded by the citizens of what is supposed to be a free and olerant society. Many of us think that Lennon s as flippant a theologian as is Dr. Norman Vincent Peale, and we prefer to hear Lennon sing. At any rate, as the Memphis Press • Scimitar's Grand Old Man, Robert Johnson, says, we should all be mature enough ol View to consider the Beatles' entertainment value as wholly separate from their private eccentricities. Indeed, one of the aspects of the present controversy most crippling to religion is the artificial disinction drawn by zealots between the Beatles and Christianity. The Beatles are obviously having fun and enjoying life and causing millions of others to have fun and enjoy life, and it is surely unfortunate to ask people to distinguish between this sort of wholesome pleasure and a religion that does not really proscribe such fun. The world'.of Christianity has plenty of room for the sort of enjoyment of God's universe that the Beatles encourage. Moreover, the response by many Americans — in the name of religion — to the cynical call of pitchmen attests to a dangerous and unseemly streak in the body politic. Masses trooping upon an instant pretext to false colors in the name of false issues is the sort ot thing that made Hitler a world figure. Religion, ultimately, is not a matter of accusation and outrage and public paranoia. It is— and must be, if Christianity is to achieve again the same kind of devotion among 20th Century youth as that now commanded by the Beatles — a matter for the contemplative and charitable private heart. It must be a religion of love and joy, after the spirit of its Founder. Yeah. In fact, yeah, yeah, yeah. Exterminators Army ants of the American tropics are highly efficient insect exterminators. When a column of ants leave a house it will be free from any unwelcome insects, according to the Encyclopaedia Britannica. • Ocean Salt If the oceans of the world suddenly dried up, they would yield no less than 4.5 million cubic miles of rock salt or about 14V? imes the bulk of the entire con- inent of Europe above highwa- er mark. SEAT COVER SALE 420 Sets For Only $12.50 to $30 INSTALLED CLEAR PLASTIC Seat Covers — 58 Sets $20 Inst. GILBERTS 600 E. Main — PO 3-6742 Get Ready For BACK-TO good looki wfce EVHR-IR JEANS LEAN LEGGED LONG LEGGED ROUND LEGGED A boy rides high and walks tall in a Nev-R-lron T - M - Jean ... the Jean you never have to iron. It's Sanforized to keep its shape and lean good looks under the roughest wearing conditions. Where other Jeans give up, Nev-R-lron'- M - begins. An ordinary Jetn washed IS timil without ironing A N.yJMron T -"M««n wishid 15 timet without ironing MARTIN'S the Store For Men and Boys OPEN AND READY TO SERVE YOU! CURTS '66' SERVICE CURTISS BRACKIN, OPERATOR PURALATOR OIL AND FILTER SERVICE 1ST AND ASH STREET For the Next Three Weeks We Are Having TROP-ARTIC MOTOR OIL (Insurance In A Can) "GET-ACQUAINTED DAYS" With Each $2.50 (Min.) Purchase, or More, of Gasoline, You May Register for a 12" General Electric Portable TV Set to be Given Away. R egistration will Continue Until Noon, Sept. 3rd (Sat.). Winners Name Will Be Drawn at 2:00 P .M., Sept. 3rd (Sat.) At The Above Location. You Do Not Have To Be Present To Win. Car Care Is Our Business

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