Love the Singers, Hate the Song

[Editor's note: Thank you to all the viewer's who emailed Mark Shea about his article, "I Can't Imagine a Dumber Song." Mark says, "I'm surprised at the chord (pun intended) this article struck. Glad you enjoyed it!]

Dear Mark,

Thank you for dissecting the stupidest song ever. One of the things I find most nauseating about teaching in a public school is how often I've seen the dreamy poster of John Lennon with the word "Imagine" hanging in a teacher's classroom. Not only stupid, but bad poetry: "…and no religion, too." I guess "either" just didn't fit the complicated meter and rhyme scheme.

Anyway, thank you for your service to music.


Dear Ted,

Music and I are old friends. And don't get me wrong. I like the Beatles. I just can't stand bad philosophy and theology.

Mark Shea

Dear Mark,

I always loved the Beatles and always will; however, I agree with you that the lyrics of "Imagine" are nonsense. I applaud you for speaking out.

Joe Stone

Dear Joe,

Thanks! I'm amazed at how many letters I've gotten for this piece! I suppose a lot of people are Catholic lovers of the Beatles who feel a bit jilted by this piece of claptrap.

Mark Shea

Dear Mark,

I just read your piece about "Imagine." Glad to know you share my sentiments and that you have expressed them.

If you are interested in reading what I wrote about "Imagine" check out my blog. If you do, be sure to click where it says "Click here for an explanation of these lyrics and for a side-by-side comparison with the original."

Thanks and God bless,

Fredi D'Alessio

Dear Fredi,

Thanks for the kind words and the link!

Mark Shea

Dear Mark,

You put into words what I have felt about this ridiculous and insidious song ever since I first heard it in an otherwise superb movie, The Killing Fields, about the holocaust in Cambodia under the Communist tyrant Pol Pot. As you may know, they played that song at the very end, and it seemed to undermine the central message of the movie. It was so disappointing.

I was really appalled to read that this song is sometimes sung at Catholic Masses, but then, not surprised, given the spiritual state of much of the American Catholic Church.

Thanks for telling it like it is and I have much appreciated many of your other columns as well. Catholic Exchange is a great web site!

God bless,

Stephanie Hopping
Chula Vista, CA

Dear Stephanie,

It is particularly weird to hear a song pining for "no heaven" at a Mass, isn't it?

Mark Shea
Senior Content Editor
Catholic Exchange

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