Monday, September 24, 2012

The People Vs. John Lennon


  1. Logan did a very good job of explaining the main theme of the film, which focused on the United States government feeling threatened by John Lennon’s strong and influential opposition to the Vietnam War and the Nixon administration. The backdrop of the film involved the court case that evolved between the United States government and Lennon, in which the government unsuccessfully attempted to deport Lennon.
    The overall pacing of the video was very good, but the volume was bad and it was difficult to understand what Logan was saying at some points because of the poor sound quality. She seemed prepared with regards to the content of the video. She knew her facts and seemed to know the documentary very well. However, even though Logan was looking up at the camera in the beginning, she was looking down at her notes a lot by the end of the video. Consequently, Logan appeared very confident until the end of the video when she began to look down. But she seemed well-informed about the facts of the movie.
    One fact that Logan provided was a background of John Lennon’s life, specifically his abandonment by his family and his working-class status, which led him to become a rebel. A second important fact that she provided was that Lennon’s song “Give Peace a Chance” became the theme song of the anti-war movement in the United States, which probably made him seem more of a threat to the government than he really was. In fact, the government basically lost interest in Lennon after Nixon got reelected.
    I think that the theme of the film relates to what we studied in class with regards to government overstepping its boundaries in order to maintain control. In this case, the government wanted to silence Lennon in order to maintain control of the general public’s opinion of the Vietnam War. Logan also related the film to what we learned in class by mentioning that the documentary, like our textbook, covered the Watergate scandal and the corruption surrounding Nixon’s presidency.
    The film seemed very interesting, especially because Lennon was such a popular pop star and his music is still played today. Like most documentaries, the film was biased toward the perceived victim of the situation being chronicled. Similar to the film I reviewed (Waco), the government is portrayed as overzealous and controlling of its citizens. Logan noted that the director painted Lennon as admirable and charismatic, while the government under Nixon was characterized as very corrupt. Logan also pointed out that the film had bad transitions and was very jumpy, switching from one topic to the next without any recognizable order.
    One strength of the movie was that it gave some background on Lennon and his wife Yoko Ono. However, it is a well-known fact that Yoko had a lot of influence on her husband, especially with regards to his social and political views. It would have been helpful if the film had gone into greater detail about this particular fact because it would have explained what kind of influence Yoko had, if any, on Lennon’s views on the Vietnam War.

  2. Personally a fan of the Beatles, I would love to see this documentary! I had no idea of the political involvement, or political interest - more so of the Vietnam war in particular - of John Lennon! I thought Logan did an excellent job explaining this involvement to someone who, let alone, had never seen the movie, as well as to someone who had no idea that this had even happened.
    I can, personally, fully understand why there was such a strong bias, as Logan stated in her podcast, throughout the documentary - siding with Lennon. I think it was beyond absurd, on part of the government, to try to deport someone simply because they disagreed with government viewpoint on an issue and had enough fame and fortune to become a threat to that particular stance.
    Trying to put myself in Logan's place - if I had watched the documentary myself I feel as though I would have had a hard time relating it to what we have learned in class, but I believe Logan did a really good job of this. Connecting the entire situation - Lennon involving himself in what Logan called a "political firestorm" and later being forced to attend an alien trial (possibly receiving the fate of deportation)- to the Nixon Watergate scandal and subsequently a corrupt government in general was not my first thought, but was a very valid point. Sometimes, I believe, the government can be completely ridiculous. This is evidenced through this film, as well as, for example, the fact that we got involved in the war in Iraq for essentially no reason.
    Personally I'm a huge fan of the government, but sometimes I they act a tad questionable. The government had to have been in some sort of flawed state to not realize that deporting someone for speaking out is an extreme abuse of law - even I can see that it violated the first amendment rights. I mean c'mon guys, you can’t just deport your problems.
    Anyways, I felt as though I got a thorough understanding of the documentary, as I said before, without even watching it. Logan went into detail about Lennon's past as talked about in the film - of his abandonment along with his rebellious childhood; his marriage with Yoko Ono.
    I loved the part where Logan played the excerpt of the Beatles song "Give Peace a Chance" - I thought it added a fun, cute piece to the podcast!
    As I said before, I had no idea of Lennon's political involvement with the Vietnam war! Logan talked about Lennon's tour promoting peace that followed President Nixon throughout the country, along with the song "Give Peace a Chance" (that I mentioned above) which later became the Anti-war National Anthem. It all added to my longing to see the documentary - it seems so interesting and fun to learn about; also made me respect the Beatles even more than I already had - they're such artsy people.
    Lastly, Logan stated that the weakness of the film was the flipping and flopping around many different themes, facts, and events which, if I had seem the film, I probably would have agreed with. I hate movies that flip around between different events. Take The Time Traveler's Wife for example - talk about confusing! Surprisingly, though, Logan's weakness only made me want to see the documentary even more! I'm curious to see if it’s true!
    My one complaint about the documentary was the sound quality - although Logan presented information well and seemed to know what she was talking about, it was hard to hear, at times, what she was saying.