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"He shoot Coca-Cola"
John Lennon sniffing Coca-Cola, assumedly on the set of "A Hard Days' Night"
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By Andrew W. Griffin

Red Dirt Report, editor

Posted: August 29, 2012

OKLAHOMA CITY – As I noted in my prior piece “2012 or 1984,” I noted a lot of similarities between the two years – politically and otherwise.

Being tuned into synchromysticism – "The art of realizing meaningful coincidence in the seemingly mundane with mystical or esoteric significance," to quote Jake Kotze, or “The vast and noble undertaking of piecing together the occult holographic language system of the universe, in order to identify and more aptly understand the relationship between the collective unconscious of all sentient beings on earth and beyond," to quote Steve Willner – 2012 has been an incredibly busy year, and this summer incredibly violent - Loren Coleman calls it "The Summer of the Gun." 

As such, I have also been noticing syncs between 2012 and the important year 1969. This one is important to me not only because my parents were married that year – creating me three years later – but because culturally it resonated with me a lot - the coming together of the counterculture at the Woodstock rock festival, with the flipside being the horror of the Manson Family/Helter Skelter murders.

In 1984 (there’s that year again), the Canadian pop-rocker Bryan Adams released what was arguably his best and most accessible album – Reckless. I loved these songs, particularly “Summer of ’69.” That particular song really excited me as a 12-year-old. It captured what I imagined it felt to be alive in 1969. In fact, that would lead me to start looking for music from that era. While Bryan Adams said the “69” was a reference to a sexual position and not the year (he was 10 in 1969),

I mention this because I am seeing numerous syncs related to the year 1969. We just had the death of NASA astronaut and American hero Neil Armstrong, who, aboard the Apollo 11 lander, first stepped foot on the Moon on July 20, 1969 – 43 years to the day before the Aurora, Colorado “Red Dawn/Dark Knight” massacre.

Regardless of what you think about Armstrong and the Moon/Apollo mission controversies, Armstrong came across as a gentleman, although I was struck by his reluctance to talk about his experience on the Moon. Coincidentally, a few days ago, in Harper’s magazine, I read an interview with Apollo 11’s Buzz Aldrin. He is also asked about his memories of walking on the Moon. He simply didn’t want to talk about it. Very odd.

It’s hard to ignore The Eagles’ biggest hit, from 1977, “Hotel California.” The song, with its dark undercurrent of disquiet contains lyrics that have been interpreted and misinterpreted for many years. Many conclude it’s about Satanism or something sinister.

One line receives a lot of attention: “So I called up the Captain / Please bring me my wine / We haven’t had that spirit here since 1969.”

When Eagles songwriter and singer/drummer Don Henley was approached by a rock critic about the line and that wine isn’t a spirit, Henley, in his characteristically cranky way responded that the reporter had missed the point of the lyric and the metaphor.

“(T)hat line has little or nothing to do with alcoholic beverages. It’s a sociopolitical statement. My only regret would be having to explain it in detail to you, which would defeat the purpose of using literary devices in songwriting and lower the discussion to some silly and irrelevant argument about chemical processes.”

So, don’t attempt to ask Don Henley about “Hotel California” or it’s literal meaning. A battle with rock rivals in Steely Dan? A reference to Church of Satan founder Anton Levey (who has been noted on some synchromystic blogs i.e. Christopher Knowles’ Secret Sun blog) regarding his love of Objectivist and libertarian atheist Ayn Rand – someone also reportedly loved by Mitt Romney’s running mate Paul Ryan, the congressman from Wisconsin.

And so that takes us to the current presidential race … between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney … and that all-American beverage – Coca-Cola. Obama reportedly liked "coke." But Mitt abstained from caffeine as a Mormon. 

Or is it something else entirely? 

I'd like to teach the world to sing ... in perfect harmony ...

Just like there is the undercurrent of dread in “Hotel California,” there is the undercurrent of “coming together” in this year’s presidential race. I have been seeing this “come together” theme for weeks now. At the London Olympics, in the opening ceremony, broadcast on NBC, up-and-coming UK band Arctic Monkeys performed the Beatles’ “Come Together” before a global audience of millions ("he got monkey finger").

The closing ceremony of the Olympics featured an homage to John Lennon, his pursuit of peace and his song “Imagine.”

I suspect the Olympic message is that there is some unfinished business at hand.

And then you have Bob Dylan talking about his new song “Roll On, John,” referencing “Come Together.” It will appear on his upcoming Tempest album, to be released on Sept. 11, 2012. I wrote about the upcoming Dylan album here. Curious that a "tempest" would be rolling ashore on the Gulf Coast (7 years to the day!) as a major political event is taking place at a time of great uncertainty.

And what is interesting about “Come Together,” (a song Alex Jones uses in his bumper music) is that Lennon was inspired to use that lyric and song title by drug enthusiast and “tune in. turn on, drop out” counterculture hero Timothy Leary. Leary announced his plans to run for governor of California in May 1969 with the slogan “Come together, join the party.” He was running against Ronald Reagan – whose spirit is clearly hanging over this week’s Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida.

Leary would then join Lennon and Yoko Ono in Montreal, Canada for their “Bed-in” and Lennon would write Leary a campaign song – “Come Together.”

A campaign song!

Funny, in checking the campaign site, scrolling down a little bit I saw an image of some Obama supporters waiting to host “convention watch parties” in advance of the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina. The name of the post on the website? “Come together.”

Anyway, back to 1969. A drug offense would derail Leary’s “Come Together” campaign. Leary, of course, loomed large in Lennon’s life. On April Fool’s Day, 1966, Lennon first purchased The Psychedelic Experience: A Manual Based on the Tibetan Book of the Dead by Leary, Richard Alpert and Ralph Metzner. A book I was thumbing through the other day – it having been damaged by a flood of water here in the offices of Red Dirt Report. The purchase was made at the Indica Books & Gallery in London. This was an important location in that it was where Lennon would meet Yoko Ono on 11/9/66.

Of course Lennon would read Leary’s manual and take acid – “When in doubt, relax, turn off your mind, float downstream” while surrendering to “the void.” This, of course, inspired arguably Lennon’s greatest song – the acid-drenched, psychedelic “Tomorrow Never Knows,” which would be featured on the Beatles classic Revolver.

The Leary reference also got my attention in that I was reintroduced a few days ago to a song by 90’s alt-rockers Marcy Playground – “It’s Saturday.” One of the lines goes: “But I’ve got some kind of disease / There are no remedies / Think I’ll join Timothy Leary / In a cryogenic freeze.” With Saturday the last day of the week and the Marcy Playground singer feeling sick, perhaps Sunday - a new day - will dawn.

Meanwhile, Lennon would record the song “Come Together” with the other Beatles for their “final” album Abbey Road (Let It Be would be released the following spring with songs largely recorded prior to Abbey Road) released in October 1969. Earlier that same year, Mitt and Ann Romney would be married in suburban Detroit, Michigan, Romney’s Republican father having had his 1968 presidential campaign derailed the prior summer over a reference to being “brainwashed” during a 1965 visit in Vietnam.

"Here come ol' flattop, he come, groovin' up slowly ..."

John Lennon would perform “Come Together” live once – exactly 40 years ago tomorrow – on August 30, 1972 at Madison Square Garden in New York City, with the Elephant’s Memory band. And remember – elephants never forget.

Curious in that in the past few days with viewings of both Dumbo and Jungle Book. Both films involving elephants – and all amidst a political convention – the RNC – featuring their “elephant” logo. Republicans never forget – Ronald Reagan.

Interestingly, the first story I read today about the Romney campaign was at and headlined “Mitt Romney the GOP placeholder.” It goes on to say that “The next generation of Republican leaders, most of them born in the 1970s, see themselves as the heirs to an upbeat, Reagan-style conservatism and belives Ryan’s free-market orthodoxy is the platform upon which they’ll return to national majority status.”

And then curiously, the Politico reporter, Jonathan Martin, makes this reference – “The two bookends, Reagan and Ryan, represent a party that is unmistakably moving from George W. Bush’s compassionate conservatism to a new Republicanism that sounds a lot like the old-time religion but with fresher packaging. To use the language of their youth, these children of the 80s want to dispense for good with New Coke and return to Coca-Cola classic.”

As Lennon sang: “He shoot Coca-Cola.”

And to reference your Red Dirt Reporter’s last article on the child-sex scandal at Kanakuk Kamp in Missouri: “I should note that I attended a Kanakuk camp in 1985 (the year I fell in love with ‘Summer of ‘69’) and had a fairly positive experience, except for the fact that ‘contraband’ like candy and soda pop was not allowed (this was the summer New Coke reverted back to ‘Classic Coke’). Perhaps since 2012 is so much like 1984, 2013 will be more like 1985 – a sunnier year with a brighter outlook. The year Coke was replaced with New Coke and went back to Classic Coke. I was also an obsessive Dr Pepper soft drink fan as well. Drinking it in vast quantities while on a trip in the late spring of ’85 to rural Arizona, paralleling Route 66. I recall Abbey Road's "Here Comes the Sun" playing a major role in my memories of that trip.

I think John Lennon was a Dr Pepper drinker but whose counting. One Beatles insider said Dr Pepper “fueled the Imagine sessions.” Imagine that.

Infamous “lone gunman” Lee Harvey Oswald was reportedly a habitual Dr Pepper drinker as well but on the day of JFK’s assassination he was drinking Coca-Cola.

“He shoot Coca-Cola.”

Dr Pepper, of course, has "23 flavors." At the moment of his assassination, Caesar was stabbed 23 times. To kill a king.

Of course after the “king” was killed on the 33rd degree (yes, I’ve been reading some James Shelby Downard as of late – he lived in Ardmore, Okla. ya know) the Beatles made their appearance on American shores.

And now we have a spectacle of political disaster. A Republican Party that seems unsure of its future. And with the Democrats, there seems to be uncertainty about what they stand for. Who will be the king?

Elephants are looming large. Is there an elephant in the room?

Copyright 2012 Red Dirt Report

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Andrew W. Griffin

Editor & Owner.

Andrew W. Griffin received his Bachelor of Science in Journalism from...

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About Red Dirt Report

Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

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