Imagine

You know what’s horrible?  When you hate something, and it turns out everyone else loves it.  You know what my daughter Lucy hates?  Oh, just hamburgers, pizza, chocolate chips, and M&M’s.  If I weren’t her deeply sympathetic and loving parent, I might find it funny to watch her navigate life with these loathings.  If you got down to the objective truth, it may be that she only mildly dislikes pizza.  It’s just that it is around so often, and all the other kids and adults around her are generally very enthusiastic whenever they get it, so that the presence of pizza now cues an immediate emotional response for her, resulting in disconsolate sobbing.  The way she melts down when pizza comes isn’t really about sadness, but about total isolation.  It’s like having pizza turns everyone around her into Urdu-speakers, and she’s stuck speaking English, and she’s now barred from communicating with anyone else until dinner ends, and they’re all secretly telling Urdu folk jokes about her the whole time.  Poor girl.  I wish I could make it stop for her.  But I like pizza and hamburgers, and I love chocolate chips in my chocolate chip cookies.  But I can’t deny its an isolating experience.  I used to not like sushi.  Don’t spend time with sushi eaters if you don’t like sushi.  You will cease to exist for an hour hanging out with them.

sushi

A very isolating food

I have a friend with a similar problem. She’s one of these types that doesn’t want to lie to her kids, so teachings of Santa Claus are limited to hints and implications, without any explicit doctrine being imparted.  She takes guff from the pro-Santa crowd for this, resulting in that same old feeling of being a lone holdout in a world of sellouts.  Anyway, the story goes that she was home one night with her family during the holidays, enjoying a cozy re-watching of Miracle on 34th Street.  Turns out that movie is pretty tough on people who don’t believe in Santa.  In fact, only ruthless lawyers and cruel corporate overlords don’t believe in Santa.  The ones that do believe in Santa are beautiful and loving and keep our society together and generally promote faith, trust and pixie dust.  Well, halfway into the movie, my friend’s small daughter looked up at her and noticed she was crying.  With sadness.  During Miracle on 34th Street.  She eventually realized she was ruining the movie for everyone else and quietly excused herself from the room.

When I think about being in that position, I think of Imagine. You know, that inspiring, wonderfully idealistic John Lennon song that everyone loves?  I can’t stand that song.  Suffice it to say, I have deep philosophical disagreements with its message, which, even to mention them, make me an intolerable prig who takes himself way too seriously. So let’s not get into it.  Regardless, I’m irritated whenever that song is on, and the trite humanistic lyrics only send me into a tailspin thinking about my wider disagreements with John, which hurts, because I also love him deeply (obviously).  After a minute or two of listening, I’m pretty much buried in a full-fledged argument with him over everything, and then I’m mad at all my friends and family too.

Hating one song in the world isn’t such an unbearable curse.  Until February 2008:

Yeah, that was the month David Archuleta sang Imagine on American Idol.  Big deal, right?  Well, do you remember how crazy Utah was when David freaking Archuleta was on American Idol?  You couldn’t escape.  He was on every local news program, on every blog, on everyone’s lips.  And when he performed that song in particular, people went freaking nuts.  And such a beautiful song!  One of the most beautiful songs ever written!  Who wouldn’t be blown away by that extraordinary song!

Stupid David Archuleta.  I spent a couple weeks feeling exactly like Lucy feels on pizza night.  You’re alone, but you don’t think you should be, because if people were half intelligent, they’d hate the thing as much as you do, but even bringing it up, let alone trying to explain why they should hate it, would make you look like such a self-absorbed buzzkill, that’s it’s best to just shut your yap and say nothing at all, which results in you sitting silently while everyone exults in the moment of mass idiocy.  Sometimes having more refined tastes means sitting it out while the world has a rockin’ time with Randy Jackson.

randy jackson

Seriously, why didn’t you sing the first verse, David?  Pansy.

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17 Responses to “Imagine”

  1. Amy M says:

    I feel for ya Lucy. I am often the lone wolf in the pack that does not like the normal stuff; Lord of the Rings, Monty Python, M-Tab, milkshakes, all Thanksgiving foods except cranberry sauce, the Beatles period and kittens. I know…I’m a sicko unamerican terrorist. It’s very lonely.

  2. Alanna says:

    I once wrote an excessively long blog post about how much I hate the song “Imagine.” I’m so glad to find that “I’m not the only one” who realizes how pithy and (if you really think about it) terrifying that song is! Thanks for writing this!

  3. Jake says:

    If I were to ask what your reasons are, would you share them? I’m neither yeah or nay on Imagine, but I’m curious about something that generates such ambivalence.

  4. Davis says:

    As I feared, this blog post has served to bring the deviants out of the woodwork.

    No Thanksgiving food but cranberries? How dare you?

    (BTW, I felt this way about Avatar. Very lonely.)

  5. Norm says:

    I think one’s hatred of something should rest solely on the merit of the object of loathing. But this seldom is the case. We end up hating something mainly because of other people’s reaction to that thing. In fact, I’m pretty sure that in most cases our feelings about a song or a type of food have more to do with the trappings that surround that thing then the absolute stripped down essence of the thing itself.

    I also think that (like Ryan with sushi) we can learn to like something that we formerly hated. Think how much better life could be if we turned the things we hate into things we like.

  6. Norm says:

    But I do agree with you about Imagine. So unctuous. So hypocritical. So philosophies of man mingled with scripture. But the words aren’t the only thing. The tune sounds so preachy and self serving to me. Don’t get me wrong. I think it is a pretty song and is further proof of Lennon’s genius. But yeah…

  7. StefStar says:

    Oh my goodness, I love it when this blog turns into a forum where I can speak my darkest secrets. Until now, I thought I was the only one who felt this way about the song Imagine. I got such a negative reaction when I shared my thoughts about it with someone else, that I’ve actually listened intently to it a few times–trying to decide if I’m crazy and paranoid, or if my instinctive dislike is valid. Thank you for helping my solve that stupid dilemma.

  8. Jaron says:

    At least John’s former band mate made up for the lyrical indiscretions of Imagine with the melodic genius of Simply Having a Wonderful Christmas Time…

    Jay Leno… Enough people apparently watch his show to get Conan the boot, but I seriously hate everything that comes out of his mouth.

  9. Nancy says:

    I hate turkey. I’m the left out person each Thanksgiving. I’m gawked at. I’m forced to explain why I don’t like turkey. Sometimes I’m forced to try their turkey because it is far superior to all other forms of cooked turkey. Bleh. I like the tune for “Imagine,” not the lyrics. Maybe someone could rewrite the lyrics.

  10. Kathryn Laura Mackenzie says:

    I’m the only person at my work who hate Twilight. They don’t get why I hate it, I don’t understand why a bunch of grown women think it’s the best thing ever. How is it that ‘m the youngest person there, but I’m the one bitching about how Robert Pattinson needs to wash his hair and stop scowling all the damn time.

    On the Santa thing, when I was seven I had a huge fight with my mother about how it wasn’t fair that when I told a lie I got punished, but she’d been lying to me for years about Santa. I was sent to my room for being a smart arse.

  11. bandanamom says:

    Maybe you missed the memo…but as evidenced by the comments here, almost every single Mormon I know, and Utah Mormon’s in particular absolutely loathe Imagine! Which actually puts me in the position of being a Mormon who loves Imagine and thinks you all are missing the point entirely. But then, I’m also a Mormon and a democrat. So I’m used to being in the silent minority. :)

  12. Too funny, Ryan. I can’t really empathize though b/c I never disagree with anyone – I’m just super popular and everyone likes me all the time.

  13. Jeremy says:

    My daughter is lactose intolerant so unfortunately she must accept, in my opinion, a lower quality of life than those of us who can eat pizza, ice cream and chocolate milk. Luckily she has a pretty good attitude about it, but that doesn’t mean I will stop eating my favorite foods! Kids have to learn about disappointment right….right? I’m justified, right?

  14. LisAway says:

    I hope you do not mean to suggest that if everyone only lived for the pleasure of the moment, had no concept of good or evil, and didn’t really care much about anything (except maybe being completely neutral on all subjects) that the world would NOT be a wonderful dreamland.

    No, surely you could not be suggesting that.

    It is shocking, really. That’s supposed to be a hopeful song? About all the things we should be striving for? And people with values and brains — even religious people — think it’s a beautiful song?

    Shoot, that’s not what I meant to comment on but you had to talk “Imagine” in the end and I couldn’t help myself.

    I meant to say that I came here from Braden’s blog and found this post to be exceedingly hilarious. Hence I am adding this blog to my reader. I shall return.

  15. LisAway says:

    Oh yes, and we aren’t liars either (ha!) and tell our kids from the beginning that we are Santa, and then talk about him all the time like he exists. It’s a great balance, I think, because they know the truth but aren’t giving anything away to their friends. Plus it still feels fun. (just not magical…or deceptive).

  16. Allen Richerson says:

    “Imagine” does suck. It’s a very pretty song about wishing that God and religion would stay out of one’s life due to the fact that mankind thinks that they don’t need God, just humanity. Mankind without God. The One World Godless unity of mankind thinking they can love and coexist without the need of religion or God. In other words – man is their own God. Kinda like communism, except on a world wide scale. Also is the end product of the lie Satan in the form of a snake told Eve in the Garden of Eden – that by eating the fruit of good and evil (what God told them not to do) she would be just like God, therefore not needing God. Again, it’s a lie. And it is a lie today as well.

  17. Ellen says:

    THANK YOU. YES. FUCK “IMAGINE.”

    I feel so much less alone now. “You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one”? No, John, I’M the only one. The only one who hates this phony, preachy, shallow, ripped-off-from-the-Communist-Manifesto song. You think you’re unique, but you are not unique. I’M the dreamer, John. Dreaming of a world in which I’m free to hate this song to my heart’s content.

    Next on the list of popular things that I hate which cause people to assume I’m a Republican until even I myself begin to wonder if I’m not as liberal-minded as once I thought I was: “Rent”!

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