Today is the anniversary of John Lennon and Yoko Ono's Bed-In For Peace

Forty-seven years ago today, John Lennon and Yoko Ono celebrated their honeymoon with a weeklong Bed-In For Peace at the Amsterdam Hilton Hotel. Was it a prank or a protest? Yes.

"It's part of our policy not to be taken seriously," Lennon said. "Our opposition, whoever they may be, in all manifest forms, don't know how to handle humour. And we are humorous."

Above is the short documentary of the events, titled Bed Peace.

War is over! (If you want it).

More at Imagine Peace.

Below, the song "Give Peace A Chance," recorded June 1, 1969 during the second Bed-In, at Montreal's Queen Elizabeth Hotel. (Bonus appearance by bOING bOING patron saint Dr. Timothy Leary!)

bed_in_01

Notable Replies

  1. wish i'd seen this earlier. i would have stayed in bed all day in honour.

  2. doop says:

    Rich celebrities thinking they could change the world by pointedly not doing anything. I guess you had to be there.

  3. From my point of view, squarely beats being annoying and banning stuff.

    More of this, please.

  4. doop says:

    Yeah OK. But it doesn't appear to have beaten, for example, war.

    Personally I think if celebrities (or anyone else) want to do something to fix the world's problems it'd be better if they'd, y'know, do something. A "Bed-In for Peace" seems to me to be about morally equivalent to liking Peace on facebook.

  5. Allen Ginsberg came up with the idea of "declaring the war over", about 1966, when the war was pretty invisible (except in traditional pacifist circles). Phil Ochs wrote a song based on that notion, and organized two "War is Over" rallies in 1967. The song is on 1968's "Tape from California".

    At some point Jerry Rubin went over to see John and Yoko, to convince them to be political, which would seem to explain John's alignment with John Sinclair.

    The Bed-in was art, some weird modification of the idea of lunch counter sit-ins. If you look at the list, Allen Ginsberg is the closest thing to a pacifist there, they were generally celebrities or artists. No Jim Peck WWII pacifist and later Golden Rule crewmember and Freedom Rider. No David Harris member of The Resistance and Joan Baez's husband, who went to prison rather than the war. No Marty Jezer who may have been among the first bunch to burn draft cards in the sixties, who was involved in "WIN" magazine, about non-violence. He also co-opted The Beatles Yellow Submarine as a symbol for Polaris Action, and then later a general pacifist symbol as attempts were made to involve the counterculture. No Bayard Rustin who'd also sat out WWII in prison, and was behind the scenes during the civil rights movement. No Daniel Ellsberg (though maybe it was too early) who decided to release the Pentagon Papers after attending a War Resisters League workshop where he saw people preparing to go to prison rather than war. The list could be long, but they weren't at the Bed-In.

    People loved John because he was a big musician, for many "peace" wasn't all that deep. People don't remember the organizers and the people who went to prison or held weekly vigils (a 1968 issue of WIN I found two years ago had a full page listing such events). Most people never knew about Phil Ochs. And the war was opposed not because it was war, period, but because of the draft, or because it was an "unjust war", as if one could pick which wars to support. The history is gone, but the musician gets remembered.

    Phil Ochs organized one last "War is Over" rally, in May of 1975, when the war was actually finally over.

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