I don’t know what to make of John Lydon, formerly Johnny Rotten of the Sex Pistols. I read that he is a firm believer in women’s rights. However, during a 2013 interview with a female television hostess he told her to shut up and not interrupt when a man is speaking. I read that he is a staunch supporter of same-sex marriage. However, in a 2012 interview with The New Yorker he said gay marriage is “stupid.” Back in 2001 on Bill Maher’s Politically Incorrect program he said gay men want to be woman, lesbians are dark and terrible and mocked transgender folks. He claims to be fiercely opposed to racism. However, singer Kele Okereke, who is black and gay, claims that racist epithets were hurled at him when he tried to meet his then-idol Lydon following a 2008 performance at Barcelona’s Summercase festival.
Part of his saying such things may be to draw attention to himself. After all, who’s been paying attention to any of his musical output over the past couple of decades? That’s not a good reason, though. He has demonstrated his intelligence and thoughtfulness on many occasions. I get that he finds political correctness confining, but that doesn’t mean that being an asshole is the best alternative. Am I asking too much of a man who introduced himself to the world as Rotten?
Today Lydon turns 59. I’ll separate these twenty fine recordings from the jerk who sang on them.
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