Lester Bangs on John Lennon


Jacket Copy has scrounged up an old op-ed written by the rock critic Lester Bangs, published six days after John Lennon was killed.

“Look: I don’t think I’m insensitive or a curmudgeon. In 1965 John Lennon was one of the most important people in the world. It’s just that today I feel deeply alienated from rock-n-roll and what it has meant or could mean, alienated from my fellow men and women and their dreams or aspirations.

I don’t know which is more pathetic, the people of my generation who refuse to let their 1960s adolescence die a natural death, or the younger ones who will snatch and gobble and shred, any scrap of a dream that someone declared over 10 years ago. Perhaps the younger ones are sadder, because at least my peers may have some nostalgic memory of the long-cold embers they’re kneeling to blow upon, whereas the kids who have to make do with things like Beatlemania are being sold a bill of goods.”

Seth Fischer’s writing has twice been listed as notable in The Best American Essays and has been nominated for The Pushcart Prize by several publications, including Guernica. He was the founding Sunday editor at The Rumpus and is the current nonfiction editor at The Nervous Breakdown. He is a Dornsife PhD Fellow at USC and been awarded fellowships and residencies by Ucross, Lambda Literary, Jentel, Ragdale, and elsewhere, and he teaches at the UCLA-Extension Writer’s Program and Antioch University, where he received his MFA. More from this author →