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Do I Know You?

To the Editor:

I read, with dismay, John Rodat’s review of The U.S vs. John Lennon [Cinema, Oct. 19]. It was titled “Who Put All That Shit in Your Head?” Considering the intellectual dishonesty of the review, the same question must be asked of Rodat. His choice of adjectives (“slick,” “nifty”) belie his prejudice. In his sight, this film never had a chance as a work of art. It is a well made and excellent documentary that clearly presents the truth, including the fact that Lennon’s innocence was taken advantage of by political opportunists like Jerry Rubin. Those of us who lived through this time all too easily forget that we did. More disturbing is Rodat’s need to analyze the filmmakers’ motives. Is that how he reviews all films? May there be only historical documentaries that he considers relevant?

And relevant it is. In silence, we finance an unjust and immoral war, based on the lies of a delusional, corrupt administration. We have learned nothing in 35 years. My friends who died for nothing will be 21 forever, just like those who are dying for nothing now. And we have killed three quarters of a million Iraqi citizens. Rodat, like the New York Times reporter in the film who condescendingly chided Lennon’s idealism, just doesn’t get it. For every kid who, inspired by Lennon, refused to go to Vietnam, multiple lives were saved. Not only his American life, but also those who he would have killed. That the current administration is (not “may” be) overzealous and criminal makes Nixon’s thugs pale by comparison. (Try reading John Dean’s Worse Than Watergate.)

Gore Vidal is but one of the many commentators in the movie, but Rodat is obviously such an apologist that he is offended that even one had the gall to speak truth to power. Too bad, kid. You wanted us to “bring it on”? Well, here it is, punk. I had nothing to do with when I was born and grew up. What’s your excuse? I may be a product of the baby boom, but at least I’ve never been an establishment tool like you. John Lennon was a working-class kid with a guitar, who became one of the most important people in the last century. His impact changed the world. Many of us still care deeply about him and what he stood for. He still matters. Ignorant twerps like you never will.

P.S.: Please don’t send Rodat to the Dixie Chicks [documentary]. I don’t care for their music, but they deserve an unbiased reviewer.

Fred Dilber

Lake George


John Rodat replies:

Well, which is it? Was John Lennon an innocent dupe of political opportunists or a visionary leader of the peace movement who personally saved multiple lives? If the filmmakers had sought to honestly explore this question—rather than fawning over a fabled pop icon—The U.S. vs. John Lennon might have been a provocative and useful movie. But they didn’t, so it wasn’t. If you had been willing to respond to criticism of a movie that failed to deal substantially with that question, or any other—rather than engaging in a defensive and factually inaccurate ad hominem attack—your letter, too, might have had some use. But you weren’t, so it doesn’t.


The photo for the food column on Oct. 26 (“In Search of Donut Perfection”) was not credited; it was taken by John Diefenderfer. We regret the omission.

In the headline for our endorsement (Nov. 2) for New York State Assembly, District 112, we incorrectly identified the candidate as Michael Carter. The candidate’s correct name is David Carter.

Metroland welcomes typed, double-spaced letters addressed to the editor. Metroland reserves the right to edit letters for length or clarity; 300 words is the preferred maximum. You must include your name, address and day and evening telephone numbers. We will not publish letters that cannot be verified, nor those that are anonymous, illegible, irresponsible or factually inaccurate.

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