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Idol Chatter

Okay, there’s some cynicism brewing out there about today’s sale at a London auction house of John Lennon’s scrawled lyrics to “Give Peace a Chance.” Gail Renard, a Canadian television writer who lives in London, parted with the scrap of cardboard, on which Lennon’s penned the song during his 1969 lie-in for peace with Yoko Ono, for some $800,000, according to Christie’s.
On first blush, the sale does seem to fall in line with rock music being deployed to sell VWs, or Bob Dylan working for corporate radio. Lennon himself would no doubt have a bitchily witty comment about how many iBooks $800K would buy for Afghan schoolgirls.
The longer view says that artwork and its accoutrements gathers value as the message it contains does: feminist artists like Judy Chicago don’t quibble with the prices their work fetches because lucre might cheapen the cause. The fact that Lennon’s lyrics brought $200,000 beyond their highest expected price listed in the catalogue should only ennoble his sentiments.
Lennon, at any rate, might be bitchy about this, but he wouldn’t be surprised. When he handed Renard his handiwork in Amsterdam 39 years ago, he reportedly told her, “Here. This might be worth something one day.”

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