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Quietly Remembering John Lennon

(Source: newyorker.com)

The ten minutes of silence observed in memory of John Lennon by the crowd in Central Park and by other crowds around the world two Sundays ago was certainly the sparest ceremony—whether for mourning or for any other purpose—in a long, long time. The one activity of the mourners—prayer for Lennon’s soul, suggested by his widow, Yoko Ono—was both silent and invisible. Perhaps she foresaw that more conspicuous or highly organized observances would inevitably be taken over by the forces of commerce and publicity which she and Lennon had sought so strenuously to evade in the years of their marriage. She herself kept out of view, further reducing the opportunities for sensational reporting and all the other forms of exploitation that now seem to swallow up almost any large public event. For a few, staying silent appeared to be a small ordeal. One television station that covered the occasion in Central Park (simply and with dignity, on the whole), and was therefore faced with the question of how to cover the ten minutes, solved its problem by showing a rapid montage that included shots of the vigil and film clips of Lennon and the Beatles singing soundlessly. The impression was given that the station had only just barely managed to keep quiet. But all in all one would have to go far back in time to find as moving an expression of public sorrow. The silence seemed to create a space into which the strong emotion felt by Lennon’s generation—and by many who were not of his generation—could rush. In fact, in that quiet interval the generation itself, with its old message of “Peace” and “Love” held aloft again on placards, magically reappeared in public for the first time in years, after losing itself in the general population for a while. In a noisy and distracted age, a silence had proved more eloquent than any number of words could have been. ♦

More Info: newyorker.com

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