Today, December 8th, marks the 32nd anniversary of the death of John Lennon. I am fairly certain there will be stories recalling this event. I have noticed that Wikipedia, for example, has as one of its feature articles today the story behind Lennon's song, Imagine.
When I think of John Lennon, the song Imagine also comes to mind, as does an episode of a television show, WKRP in Cincinnati. The series was popular during the heyday of the late Rev. Jerry Falwell's so-called "Moral Majority." This group was devoted to using religion to effect public life, claiming that they knew what was best, what was moral and upright.
They could be very effective in targeting any media to which they objected. One method was in boycotting advertisers of television stations or radio stations that presented programming that did not meet their standards of morality.
This clip from WKRP in Cincinnati is representative of the tensions between the Moral Majority and radio stations. The action begins with radio station owner Arthur Carlson meeting with Rev. Bob, a not-so-subtle Jerry Falwell lookalike. Rev. Bob had presented Carlson with a list of songs he found morally objectionable. At first, Carlson went along. Then one of his DJs gave him the words to Lennon's Imagine:
Well, the TV show WKRP in Cincinnati is no longer on the air. Jerry Falwell is dead, and so is the Moral Majority. But does this lesson from the past have a message for us today? Perhaps it does.