A young guy with this modification of John Lennon’s famous "Imagine" printed in white on an Apple classic black T-shirt is high fiving his friends who have just produced "Lotus-eaters", a short music video warning of the dangers of unthinking submission to seductive technologies. They did this in less than 24 hours using the facilities of the new John Lennon Bus, being shown at Macworld Expo 2008 in San Francisco, after its re-launch at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas earlier this month. (The concept has been in existence since 1998).
The guest speaker, Richard Dreyfuss (who starred in Mr Holland’sOpus, a movie that celebrated student creative achievement in music), spoke passionately about the benefits of the bus and of Apple specifically, as a company that makes the best tools for creative expression. He went on to make a political statement about the lack of Civics teaching in US public schools. Maybe because the US Primaries are suffusing all media at preset, it seemed to be a day for political posturing.
At the morning’s keynote, Steve Jobs introduced Randy Newman who performed a song decrying the current state of US foreign policy, essentially apologising for the current "empire" and its leaders. This was not written for Macworld, having been first performed in 2006, but its placement at a technology show was curious. The lyrics, available onthe New York Times web site, are pointed and acerbic, in typical Newman style.
Do these performances mark a return to the protest movement of the 60′s? If so, the John Lennon Bus provides a great vehicle for producing your own, as Richard Dreyfuss demonstrated, contributing to this day’s "opus" produced by final year students from a local Arts school. Sponsorship from a myriad of companies precedes all videos produced on the bus, as seen on the Lennon Bus web site, indicating the level of support and excitement such a project provides.
"This is precisely the kind of project John Lennon would have loved," Yoko Ono Lennon is quoted as saying.