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It's safe to say that the Beatles had a pretty good time in the Sixties. They were certainly at the forefront of the hippie movement, a central aspect of which was the Free Love ideology.

However, in Lennon's 1970 song Working Class Hero, he sings:

Keep you doped with religion and sex and TV

And you think you're so clever and classless and free

But you're still f***ing peasants as far as I can see

A working class hero is something to be

Why would he condemn sex as a mind-control tactic? Was he disillusioned with pop culture at the time of writing?

Any ideas appreciated!

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  • Maybe you're over-analyzing this. I wouldn't be at all surprised if he just needed add a word to get the rhythm right and 'sex' seemed to fit well.
    – PiedPiper
    Jun 4 '20 at 16:43
  • "And you'll never understand/what it means to live your life/with no meaning or control/you just drink and dance and screw/cos there's nothing else to do" Pulp's song 'Common people', another take on that.
    – Angst
    Sep 26 '20 at 10:50
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The BeatleBible states that the song expressed Lennon's views of the exploitation of the working class

Lennon was disenchanted with the way he felt workers were used by the upper classes to build wealth, and were “doped with religion and sex and TV” to remain as an underclass.

The same website carries a quotation from Lennon in which he says:

"I hope it’s about what ‘Give Peace A Chance’ was about. But I don’t know – on the other hand, it might just be ignored. I think it’s for the people like me who are working class, who are supposed to be processed into the middle classes, or into the machinery."

The question is confusing two points. Free love was fine between consenting adults. Lennon was speaking of sex as a mind-control tactic, within the context of this song, as a means of pacifying the middle classes into passive, receptive conformity.

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Perhaps he had read Aldous Huxley's Brave New World which is enough to disillusion anyone with pop culture. Unlike Orwell's 1984 where sex was repressed, Huxley's dystopia used sex, drugs, entertainment and religion (Henry Ford) as highly effective means of control. More relevant to our situation than Orwell's effort.

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  • 1
    This is pretty speculative. Do you have a reference to suggest a direct connection between Lennon and Huxley's ideas?
    – Aaron
    Sep 25 '20 at 20:50
  • A couple of google hits. This appears to offer a Lennon quote on BNW: orwelltoday.com/huxley.shtml Also, Huxley was on the cover of Sgt. Pepper's. Sep 26 '20 at 21:12

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