Simon Rants About "The Love We Make"
I hit ‘random article’ on Wikipedia and then rant about whatever I see. This week: The Love We Make. I don't like the Beatles.
I'm not saying I dislike the Beatles; I'm an asshole, not a petulant twat, but I don't go apeshit over the newest re-release of The White Album. The thing about the Beatles is that they are so generally accepted as the greatest band ever that saying you like them is meaningless. Pretty much everyone likes at least one Beatles' song -- if they don't they are probably lying or someone who hates lame puns for band names. When I say I don't like the Beatles, all I'm saying is that I don't have a preference for their music. I don't go out of my way to listen to them and I wouldn't say they are one of my favorite bands. I'm not arrogant enough to say that the Beatles are passe or that they aren't one of the most influential bands of all time, but I'd really rather listen to the Rolling Stones.
I'm not in love with the Beatles collectively, and accordingly, I'm very much less in love with the Beatles individually. And I'll be honest, I really couldn't care less about what Paul McCartney is up to. It's one of those things where I understand why people care, but I really don't want to see him perform at the Superbowl or see him telling jokes about goat-fucking. I've heard that Wings has some sweet songs but really who gives a fuck? It's swell that Paul McCartney's still going, but it's not really what I want to pay attention to.
So we get to this page on Wikipedia, which is about a film about Paul McCartney giving a benefit concert to the people of New York City in the wake of 9/11.
I have a brief aside about 9/11, and jokes in particular. I was at an open mic in New York City, and someone told a hilarious 9/11 joke. It was ridiculously funny and I wanted to congratulate him. I had heard before then that a funny 9/11 joke couldn't be told, and here it was disproven. Similarly, I know people who will laugh at rape jokes and holocaust jokes but frown at cancer jokes, or African genocide jokes or anything else. I strongly believe that the only jokes that shouldn't be told are bad ones. While I can't say I've ever come up with a funny cancer joke, I'd be lying if I said I had never tried.
So anyway, Paul McCartney and shit. It's good that he cares, but is this worth filming? I guess movies are cheaper to produce these days but did anyone go see this besides Beatles fans? On that note, is there anyone who is a Paul McCartney fan but not a Beatles fan? Seriously, I know people who like Phil Collins and not Genesis and I know people who are fans of the Foo Fighters but not Nirvana, but who is a fan of Paul McCartney and not the Beatles? I posed that question to an informant I can only identify as Power Ranger, and Power Ranger was confused that I could even conceive of such a question. But that's really the point: nothing McCartney does could even come close to his work with the Beatles.
Even the title of the documentary is a reference to a Beatles' song. Paul McCartney had a long career after the Beatles and still they used a lyric from a Beatles song to name the movie. I think McCartney wrote that song, but even still, he wrote a million fucking songs and they couldn't have picked one that was credited to McCartney instead of Lenin-McCartney?
And the other thing about McCartney is that he's washed up. He's old and he can't sing that well and he's no longer very handsome. As terrible as it sounds, it's a good thing that REM called it quits and Led Zeppelin broke up after Bonham died; look at the fucking Who and tell me that good things don't pass. Paul McCartney has passed, but only metaphorically, as opposed to the other two members of the Beatles (for I, like everyone else, must denigrate the man who allegedly kept the Best Beat in Britain). But as I wrote this, I began to think to myself of the book A Spot of Bother or the film About Schmidt and I realized basically what I'm asking Mr. McCartney to do is retire, which is a terrible, terrible thing to ask someone.
My grandfather was a remarkable man in a lot of ways, but one of the major ones is that he never retired. He worked for as long as his health would permit and that's something that I would like to do as well. I begin to feel the oppressive atmosphere of inaction when I run out of Venture Bros. episodes to watch OnDemand. I can hardly imagine what it would be like to retire.
And considering my relatively unexciting life, how could I presume to ask this of a rockstar? Paul McCartney has literally spent more time being one of the most famous men ever than I have spent breathing, it's ludicrously presumptuous for me to call him over-the-hill. How could he slow down? What does Jimmy Page do these days? Does he just stand alone in his massive mansion, writing beautiful riffs that no one will ever hear? Maybe he spends all of his time tuning guitars, just tuning and tuning for a show that will never come.
And it's inaccurate to say that nostalgia is what motivates the ticket sales for Paul McCartney and Bruce Springsteen and Eric Clapton. They are still remarkably capable musicians, and while their voices may have faded and their playing might be looser, they are still who they are. They are still professionals and if any report from any of their shows is to believed, they still play that same brand of timeless, enduring music that drove fans wild decades ago.
I'm never going to see Paul McCartney in concert, I know that because I don't care about his music that much and because I hate going to shows in stadiums. But that doesn't mean other people won't, it doesn't mean that a ten year-old who hears Paperback Writer isn't going to beg his parents to see the last remaining traces of that magical, mystery tour that everyone loved so much. My friend's younger brother just got into Eric Clapton and really it's wonderful that he isn't as in love with Jimi Hendrix. People like what they like, and that shouldn't be dictated by who is currently touring.
I fell in love with Eugene Ionesco's plays when I was 17. I wanted nothing more than to sit down with him and discuss playwriting and absurdism, but I couldn't because he's dead. I'm never going to have a discussion with one of my idols because I was born too late and I wish that wasn't the case but it is.
That said, who really gives a fuck about The Love We Make, it sounds like the shitty halfbreed child of a pretentious concert film and an exploitation of the residual emotion surrounding 9/11. So thank Sir Paul, you asshat, for making a quick buck off of people's tears.
A brief postscript: The thing I said about people retiring? That doesn't apply to Tom Petty. Motherfucker should've called it quits in '93. Seriously. You could never sing Tom, and you are not getting better with age.