I’d love a “King Foot-in-Mouth” episode! All about Paul’s many many failings as a PR man and why his reputation as such is ridiculous
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Hi, @talking-perfectly-loud ! LOL, that would be quite a listen for sure! There’s a veritable goldmine of Paul being King Foot-in-Mouth from over the years.
I think people genuinely confuse being affable, professional, and pleasant in interview settings with actual “public relations” which does include charisma to a point, but it also includes crafting a compelling and interesting narrative and having some measure of control over how you’re perceived by the public.
Good PR is understanding how certain statements may be interpreted and how to use carefully crafted messaging and branding to shape public perception. People usually need help and coaching from a professional in this area to be able to do it well.
Paul is simply not gifted in this arena as evidenced by telling the same four Beatles-centric stories in every interview, being exceptionally untalented at explaining his political and social justice beliefs without it coming out in a hamfisted or tone-deaf way, and being stingy in terms of releasing his coolest unreleased (officially anyway) solo works.
thanks for answering my question earlier! i’ll put shout lower on the list. also, i’d love an episode on maxwell’s silver hammer. there’s so much going on there. love the pod and appreciate what you guys are doing!
Hi there, Thalia here 🙂 Thanks so much for this amazing comment and suggestion! You are right, there is a lot going on “Maxwell’s Silver Hammer.” We’re glad you’re enjoying the show, and we hope you keep listening!
Hi. I love your podcast. Just have one comment on your interpretation of Come Together. Ono Sideboard isn’t about Yoko being on the “side”. In English houses, a sideboard is a small dresser to keep your best china. Adults also use them to keep valuables away from children. I was never allowed to go in my Grandma’s sideboard, I always wondered what was in there. John must have kept his valuables (his heart? his secrets? hopes? future plans?) for her to be his sideboard. That’s my interpretation.
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Thank you for that information! That’s a lovely interpretation which could be true!
Hello, I’ve really been enjoying your podcast but as an Asian American woman it upset me to hear you (in 3.b) both be so dismissive to the possibility of a racist element in the reaction to Yoko in the 60s. Your gleeful and mocking disdain for Yoko in general left me feeling uncomfortable. But that it extends to the point you can not envision how challenging the world was for an Asian woman living in a very white, conventional England in the sixties is upsetting to say the least.
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Thank you for this thoughtful ask on an important topic!
We deeply regret any implication that we don’t believe Yoko faced special and unfair challenges due to race or nationality, because we are absolutely positive that Yoko faced racism, sexism and anti-Japanese sentiment in the 1960s (and probably still does today).
In 3.b we were specifically suggesting that the cause of the negative public reaction to Yoko was not solely about race, but mainly due to her behaviors, attitudes and artistic eccentricities such as her unconventional fashion sense, her jarring and very unusual singing style, her bizarre art and artistic “happenings” (the nude album, the interviews in black bags, throwing acorns at their TV audience, etc). Yoko was a conceptual artist whose career was founded on shock value and making people uncomfortable, so from our POV it is disingenuous for John & Yoko to be surprised or offended when people react with shock and discomfort.
John and Yoko were weird, unconventional and provocative (which they embraced), and this alienated almost everyone virtually overnight, which is why we find it unhelpful to attribute her negative public reception to the single cause of racism. This is not to say we don’t believe she experienced racism; of course she did! But both things can be true at once. She can experience racism and she can also be disliked for reasons having nothing to do with racism.
Similarly, we don’t think the reaction to Linda, as touched on in this quote was based soley in anti-semitism. At the same time it would be absolutely insane to suggest that Linda had never experienced anti-semitism in her lifetime.
In the breakup series we are mainly focused on the dynamics within the group, and we believe their primary issue with Yoko seems to have been her disruptive and unwelcome presence within a creative space which for years had been the sole domain of the bandmates.
In any case, we sincerely apologize for upsetting you.
We never want to reduce Yoko to her sex or race, which we feel is both unfair to her and an impediment to a candid examination of her work (which we think has been absent from Beatles discourse). One of our biggest complaints is how Beatles authors only evaluate Yoko as an influence on John, and never allow her to stand or fall as an individual artist in her own right.
As for our occasional mocking of Yoko (which often includes John), we can assure you that has nothing to do with race either. Any disdain on our part is reserved for the self-aggrandizing tone with which John and Yoko often discuss themselves and their art.
We acknowledge that it can be difficult and challenging to be critical about a woman with such a controversial place in history, perhaps undervalued as an artist and subject to some unfair prejudices. We have tried to strike a balance in terms of being empathetic to Yoko as a person while simultaneously subjecting her to the same rigor we would any artist, including the Beatles – whom she famously considered herself to be as good or better than.
Thanks again for taking the time to write to us and share your reactions. We will continue to consider this important topic in the future.
Hi! I’m listening to your episode about Klein for the second time and I must ask you… Do you think John knew about his bullying and what he said about Paul (“the reluctant virgin” and all that stuff)? I think he knew.
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We don’t know. There is no evidence to suggest he did or didn’t know.
However, based on what John said later, we suspect he would have been aware — however — he might not have seen it as bullying but rather Klein maneuvering to get his way (which was John’s way) and he might have rationalized that the end justifies the means.
Importantly, however, we think that John saw Paul as powerful and strong during the period, so he probably wasn’t worried about Paul being hurt or bullied.
Hi! I just wanted to say that I adore the podcast and loved the new episode. I’d never thought about Come Together in any other way than the general hippie togetherness idea and laughed out loud during your discussion of a possible sexual meaning, unfortunately Come Together is in the background of one of the quarantine-themed adverts that’s on TV currently, and I’ve been thinking about ‘they’re all coming on his face, but not in a gay way’ everytime it comes on. Looking forward to part B!!
First things first, I abso-fucking-lutly love your podcast. Found it only 2 days ago, I’ve been listening as much as I can. Having women’s voices in the sea of sausage that is the Beatles fandom, and not only that but challenging the narrative that’s been established since the beginning is such a fresh breath of air that I’m high on the oxygen. 1/2
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Well first of all, thank you so much for your kind words! We LOVE receiving messages like this from listeners.
We agree that the break-up, particularly the Get Back sessions, can be almost overwhelming. At the end of the day, even if there was no neat solution to John and Paul’s interpersonal problems, we truly believe that both of them were driven by fear of being hurt by the other. It’s hard not to get bummed out by that.
However, we encourage you to keep listening! We believe it’s necessary to wade through the emotions of the period rather than avoid them (like every author ever), so we can at least ATTEMPT to figure out what was really going on. Since fans are still trying to figure out the breakup, and both Paul and Ringo are still being asked to explain what REALLY happened, it’s clear that the traditional explanation just isn’t satisfactory and doesn’t ring true. And we believe the story doesn’t ring true because it ignores the deeply emotional (sensitive, taboo, unspoken) issues between John and Paul. That’s why we consider this work so important to do.
We’re very pleased and thankful that you’ve followed us in this journey. ❤️
Thank you for episodes 4 & 5, I really enjoyed them. Our dear Beatle Authorship could learn from this “applying sensitivity and emotional intelligence to our analysis” thing you’ve got going on . You don’t just defend Paul against the stupid tropes of mainstream fandom – IMHO, you have done John the greatest service: being regarded as a human person and not a cliche male fandom object of worship. You have fleshed those four guys out (and I can’t wait for the Linda episode!!)
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Thank you! It is part of our mission to faithfully represent what we believe is John’s POV as well as Paul’s. As much as John has been reductively demonized (i.e. Albert Goldman) or superhero/exalted (by take your pick of authors), the truth is that almost everyone in his life testifies that he was a deeply sensitive and sweet person who was easily hurt. We respect John’s courage and talent but we also respect that he was a fragile person with huge (and maybe sometimes unrealistic) needs.
You were so right about Brian’s often unprofessional behaviour (ex. his trip to Spain with John) in the episode about Klein!!
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Thank you, listener! We always try to sensible and fair. We know Brian is a well-loved figure in the Beatles story, and was very important to their success. However, we see that his favoritism and sometimes unprofessional behavior has been normalized and excused from the start, and many authors (most recently Lewisohn) have painted Paul as “difficult” for expressing frustration or concern over the situation, and we believe that’s very unfair.
Happy New Year! I love your podcast! Learned about it from a YouTube commenter on one of the “Understanding Lennon McCartney” videos. I am becoming a more serious Beatles fan and wondered if there is a book list available that touches on quotes you’ve mentioned on your shows (if there already is a list, kindly disregard). Keep up the great work.
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Hi listener, happy belated New Year to you as well!
We’re fans of the Understanding Lennon/McCartney videos, so it’s very cool that you found us from a comment there! It’s nice to know the word about our show is getting around. 🙂
Thanks for your patience while we talked about how to approach this ask! The question of Beatles books can lead down quite a rabbit hole as you may guess. At the moment we’re working on making our web presence more interesting and elegant, and something like a list and ranking of the resources we use is something we’re discussing. In the meantime we did answer another listener’s ask that was somewhat similar to yours.
This list is not exhaustive or super detailed, but it has some good titles in it, many of which we have used for our episodes.
Just want to say thanks for the great podcast. Has completely changed my view on Paul and the Beatles. Like, once you realize that Paul was disengaging possibly more than any of them, so many things start to click and make sense that didn’t before. It’s amazing how pervasive the narrative that he was desperately clinging to the band seems to be.
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We’re always thrilled when people have this kind of reaction to our show, so thank you for writing to us!
This narrative is so persistent and pervasive, isn’t it? When we really examine the actual behavior of John and Paul at that time, and put it under a microscope, this narrative simply makes no sense.
Stay with us – we have a lot of interesting topics coming up!
Just wanted to say I love your guys’ podcast and it is so extremely necessary. I’m amazed at how well you’re keeping your cool if you’ve read as many Beatles books as it seems like you have. I’m trying to get through Phillip Norman’s Paul bio and I want to reach through the pages and bitch slap the author. Anywho, love ya, thanks for the stellar content 😘
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Hello listener, and thank you so much for the kind comments! We really appreciate it and are glad you’re enjoying us. It is true that combing through most of the Beatles books out there is an exercise in patience! 🙂
Norman is a bit of a mixed bag depending on what metric we’re going by. There are things about his approach we find frustrating (a bit of misogyny here, a bit of editorializing there). But we do want to give him credit for being willing to revise his opinions on Paul as an artist and a human being, his marriage to Linda, and the Lennon-McCartney partnership as being that of two equals who had mutual respect and love for one another.