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         Seeing as Sir Paul McCartney is in town, and next week marks the 25th anniversary of John Lennon’s murder, I thought it especially timely to share an amusing document sent to me by Mark Haefeli Productions.
          It is entitled simply “film treatment,” and it outlines the theme of the forthcoming official documentary of the 2005 McCartney tour. Haefeli Productions is a very wealthy and prestigious outfit that did, among other things, the “Paul McCartney in Red Square" DVD.
         The treatment came my way because I was asked to appear in the film, commenting about McCartney’s music, but they wound up with too many people so I didn’t make the cut.
          Now, one expects these tour videos to be all fluff and fawning. But what we have here is, well, let’s just say that if hype were a weapon of mass destruction (when it comes to brains, maybe it is!), the McCartney treatment would have bumped “nukes” to number two on Saddam’s list.

READERS REACT. . .CLICK HERE                                            

          Even knowing Sir Paul’s reputation for being every bit as demure about his accomplishments as, oh, Donald Trump, I find it hard to believe he would approve of this. Let’s have a look, shall we? Starting with the title:
          Paul McCartney; US Tour 20005.
          Yes, the man looks great for 63, but I suspect someone is being a bit optimistic about his longevity. Onward:
          It has been said that our emotional response to music is deeply rooted in memory. Often, whether we realize it or not, music is reconnecting us to events in our lives, many of them from childhood, to which the birth of our imagination is inextricably linked.
          Quick, call the high school term paper police!
          This theory might explain the open weeping---
          Wait a second. Theory? Yes, it seems that it now requires a “theory” to explain the appeal of ex-Beatle Paul McCartney. E equals Mc(Cartney) squared. In this case, the “theory” seems to involve puerile patter about “memory” and “imagination.” Well, I do remember The Beatles, and it does help me to appreciate McCartney, but I don't think this idea is very competitive with Relativity. Meanwhile, here’s my theory: music makes people happy, and McCartney’s music makes people happy, too. Relatively speaking.
          To resume:
          This theory might explain the open weeping, rapturous physical expression and seemingly uncontrollable outpourings of human emotion that mark audience’s (sic) behavior during the Paul McCartney US Tour of 2005.
          Open weeping, rapturous physical expression. . .You'd think “Lady Madonna” shed tears of blood. Well, I attended the last two shows of the Paul tour. I saw a whole lot of people having a pleasant time (although some left to beat the traffic!) I did not see or hear any open weeping, thank goodness, but I’m sure it was there. Screaming Beatlemaniac girls grown old, mourning the loss of their youth is enough to make me weep right now. But. . .rapturous physical expression? Well, I guess it beats rapturous non-physical expression, which doesn’t show up well on camera. The only uncontrollable outpouring I noticed was in the men’s room. And as for human emotion, no argument there---I saw absolutely no evidence of cat, dog, chicken, or any type of animal kingdom emotion in the crowd.
          Hmm. . .Of course, perhaps Haefeli's group based its findings on only one audience, judging by their use of the apostrophe. Let's continue:

Yessir, Paul songs are napkin rings in your psyche, finger bowls in your heart. . .Are they talking about music here, or Prozac? Or maybe Viagra?

          Although Paul McCartney’s music, in so many ways defines the rock era, it has become more then (sic) that.
          Make that it has become more THAN that, but let’s not fault a multi-million-dollar film company for first-grade spelling errors. It’s the content that matters, and numbers, not letters, preferably with dollar signs in front. Funny thing, but I didn’t know there was a “rock era.” I knew there was a Pleistocene Era, and a classical era, and maybe even an Oprah era (and an Uma era), but well, okay, let’s say there is a “rock era.” So McCartney’s music “defines the rock era?”
          “Silly Love Songs?” “Ebony and Ivory?” “Bip-Bop? “
          To quote Seinfeld: “I. . .don’t. . . think. . .so.”
          Call me a stickler, but I think The Beatles’ music, not McCartney’s, went a long way toward “defining the rock era,” whatever that means. And McCartney’s Beatles songs, it must be noted, are not McCartney songs. Okay, with the exception of his lovely “Yesterday,” a tune which, contrary to rumor, does not cure cancer. Yes, he also appeared solo on "Blackbird" and a couple more, but the rest of McCartney’s Beatles songs are Beatles songs, because no matter how much McCartney wrote or arranged them, they were played and sung and recorded with. . .other Beatles. (Sometimes when those other Beatles could barely stand it.)
          In other words, these songs would simply not have been as splendid without John Lennon, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr. Doubt it? I cite 98 percent of McCartney’s Beatle-less solo catalogue, and rest my case.
          Gee, the Haefeli “treatment” sure is taking a long time to getting around to mentioning The Beatles, isn’t it. . .
          Now for those readers who think I am being unduly harsh or sarcastic here, please lock up the dog and hide the kids. You are not going to believe the next paragraph.
          It has become a multi-generational time capsule that extends through the lifelines of children, parents and grandchildren, in a unification process that heals the wounds of the fractured, uplifts the spirits of the masses, and transcends the mundane lives of so many into a special place.
          Yes, but when will Paul be turning water into wine?
          A grammar question. How does one “transcend” a life “into a special place”? Transcend is something that happens to the transcender. One does not transcend objects into other things. Note to Haefeli Productions: Joseph Conrad did wonderful, oddball things with English because it was his second language, but you can’t compete.
          Let's give the benefit of the doubt to the author of “Treatment” (is it Haefeli himself?) and assume he does not mean that “Band on the Run” will literally mend your broken leg. But what he does seem to say is that Sir Paulie’s music is a panacea for uniting broken families.
          Well, it sure hasn’t worked in my case.
          As for uplifting the spirits of the masses, fine. Snickers bars and “Desperate Housewives” do that, too. But here is the part that really should prompt Sir Paul to immediately un-hire Haefeli: transcends the mundane lives. . .
          Now it’s true that McCartney is a knight, and it’s true that most of the people who attend his concerts are not. But to imply that his fans lead “mundane lives," and that they require Paul-music to transcend them, is condescending to the point of cruelty. This is a long way from McCartney’s touching “Another Day,” which expressed sympathy for a woman character who was. . .leading a mundane life. Perhaps Haefeli consulted Barbara Bush?
          (Er, um. . .still no mention of those Beatles. . .)
          But wait---it gets even better:
          Paul McCartney has been there so often for the American people in times of need.
          Um. . .yes. Paul was here during Civil War, The Depression, Pearl Harbor, the McCarthy era, the Nixon resignation, the Loma Prieta earthquake, Hurricane Katrina, and the O.J. trial. Forgive my lack of imagination, but isn’t McCartney just a singer-songwriter? Have I missed his decades of devotion to the poor and starving? Did I overlook his years of activism in the United States on behalf of civil rights?
          Look, it’s quite true that he wrote a dreadful song, “Freedom,” after 9/11, a time when he also urged all Americans to get firmly in line behind George W. Bush. He said something like “he’s the boss, and you get behind the boss in a crisis.” Not exactly “Give Peace a Chance,” eh? It’s true he organized a nice benefit concert for New York City. It’s also true that The Beatles happened to arrive in the States a couple months after President Kennedy was shot, but once again I am forced to distinguish between Beatles and McCartney history---something that the Haefeli crew just does not seemed so inclined to do.
          I mean, Ed Sullivan didn’t say, “Here they are! The McBeatles!”

It seems that Haefeli Productions has decided that each coming of Paul McCartney to the United States, at least to the “finest working class” suburbs, is akin to celebrating the birth of Christ.

          We press on:
         His musical anthems, that we have so many times turned to, have become bigger then (sic) the joyous events and devastating tragedies of our lifetimes.

          Eh? “My Love” and “Say Say Say” are bigger than the loss of my father? Bigger than the death of John Lennon? Bigger than my recovery from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome? Okay, they’re not really anthems, that’s right. But exactly what anthems has Paul written? Aside from the odious “Freedom,” I come up with exactly one: “Give Ireland Back to the Irish.”
          (Regarding yet another “then” instead of “than,” well, another memo to Haefeli: best to check the elementary school report cards of prospective employees.) And. . .
          They have become place holders in our soul, giving people the power to cope, the power to excel, and the power to love again.
          Whoah! This crème brulee has been over-torched by about twenty minutes. That ain’t PR, that’s PU. An excellent verbal imitation of suet. Yessir, Paul songs are napkin rings in your psyche, finger bowls in your heart. . .Are they talking about music here, or Prozac? Or maybe Viagra?Coming soon to NBC---Dr. Paul! Power to the people! Wasn’t that a Lennon song?
          No other artist has managed to capture the soul of the people in such an influential and powerful way. . .
          Congratulations are in order here. By Haefeli’s appraisal, Mr. McCartney has surpassed Van Gogh, Billie Holiday, Mahler, Edgar Allan Poe, Debussy, Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, Kandinsky, Rodin, Gaugin, James Brown, Jane Austen, and Elvis. And, apparently, John Lennon. That’s quite an achievement, and all I can add is that it’s a good thing Jesus didn’t sing. More Haefeli huff-and-puff:
          These are the moments that our film will capture and expound upon in an extraordinarily produced concert documentary. The performance will be captured in the most state of the art technology possible. High Definition concert production shot at a frame rate 23.98p. This cinematic technique, combined with the most sophisticated camera instruments and technology in the world to bring a concert to life that has never been produced in such a “Star Wars” like fashion, yet capturing the intimacy of a tear shared by thousands or the gaze of grown man who was once young.
          Never mind that that last two sentences are not sentences, as we’ve come to expect this from the Haefeli lierati. It’s good, though, that they are using the best possible equipment. After all, it takes only the most advanced gear to photograph the gaze of a grown man who was once young. As we know, most grown men were never young, and their gazes are easily captured.
          Our cameras have traveled the country with Paul documenting the people who his music touches; visiting families in the suburbs of America’s finest working class where they gather in ritualistic fashion prior to his concert and celebrate the day like it were Christmas. There (sic) homes tastefully accented with mementos of the one who has so touched there (sic) lives.
          Hey, it’s just great the Haefeli only visited the “finest working class” people in America, because you sure don’t want any riff-raff working class people talking about Sir Paul, do you? One wonders how these finest working class people gather in ritualistic fashion. Do they have McCartney prayer groups? Do they dance naked around a fire and chant “ooga-booga,” or sacrifice small working class animals? Okay, forgive me---maybe they dance naked around a fire and chant “Live and Let Die” or “C Moon.” Guess this makes Paul a working class hero. Wait---that was another Lennon song.

After all, Sir Boss is the guy who wrote “my love does it good” and “in this ever-changin’ world in which we live in.”

          Christmas? Didn’t Paul’s people learn anything from John? Don’t they remember the trouble John inadvertently caused by comparing the Beatles to Jesus Christ? Or his lyric, “Christ you know it ain’t easy. . .they're gonna crucify me?” Guess not. It seems that Haefeli Productions has decided that each coming of Paul McCartney to the United States, at least to the “finest working class” suburbs, is akin to celebrating the birth of Christ.
          (Unless, perhaps, they meant a secular Christmas, and the Santa Claus simile instead. But that doesn’t hold up so well, either, given that Paul is rumored to have had his beard removed through electrolysis because he has a deep lifelong hatred for shaving.)
          As for their misuse of “there,” let’s just be forgiving and assume at this point that English is their second language.
         We will hear from scholars, astronauts, actors, poets, and musicians who articulate this phenomenon of change in such a way, to admit that although they may have not been around for Mozart, Beethoven or Bach, they feel privileged to have been around for McCartney.
          Now, I would really like to know what buffoon has likened Paul McCartney to Johann Sebastian Bach. I think he or she might need a music appreciation class, or perhaps a change of underwear. And um, what phenomenon of change are they referring to? Paul's hair color? Well, it's good that these astronauts  and poets admitted they were not around for Mozart. No shame in growing old.
          For the record, Sir Paul does not read or write music, does not have a background in counterpoint or harmony, and as one critic noted of one of his symphonic works (written by Carl Davis, using McCartney themes), “he does not do development.” McCartney is every bit as much like Mozart as Oprah is like okra. One suspects that even Sir Paul is humble enough to admit that he is not fit, musically speaking, to kiss Beethoven’s ear-trumpet.
          Finally. . .
          It has also been said that when two or more gather, sharing a common goal, enormous power can be generated.
          Sure. Abbot and Costello, Hitler and Goebbels, Mickey and Minnie, Steve and Edie, The Three Stooges. . .
          In our film we touch upon the thousands whose lives have become a better place as a result of gathering around in song.
          I know it will come as a surprise to the Haefeli team, but a place is not a life. Here’s a grammar lesson from John Lennon: “there are places I remember all my life. . .” See? They are actually two separate kinds of things, and entirely different kinds of nouns! Isn’t it wonderful?
          But I realize it is unfair of me to expect intelligible syntax and decent grammar, let alone weighty thinking, from an outfit hired to facilitate idolatry. After all, Sir Boss is the guy who wrote “my love does it good” and “in this ever-changin’ world in which we live in.”
          Both of which are lyrics from McCartney songs, not Beatles songs.
          The Beatles being that group that Haefeli Productions does not mention a single time in its “treatment” for documenting a tour built almost entirely on The Beatles’ catalogue.

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