As a dedicated Beatles fanatic from the age of 13, I was touched when Paul McCartney turned up at the Concert for New York City following 9/11. What a guy, I thought to myself. New York had played a special role in the ascent of the Beatles, with Cousin Brucie, Murray the K, Ed Sullivan and all the rest. It was moving to see McCartney repay the favor in the form of his appearance at the concert.
Thus I was disappointed to hear McCartney’s classless putdown of President Bush at the White House after he received the Library of Congress’s Gershwin Prize this week, leaving this as his parting remark: “After the last eight years, it’s good to have a president that knows what a library is.” I would like to associate myself with Jay Nordlinger’s comment:
Can anyone tell me why people are such schmucks? Why they are so graceless and clueless and nasty? I mean, Paul McCartney’s like the richest, most popular, most honored musician in the world. Does he not have it in him to behave like a gentleman — or at least a non-boor — while he’s being celebrated at the White House? Does he have to be the Wanda Sykes of popular music? Is it not possible to love Obama, as McCartney does, without hating Bush — or at least insulting him on a high, non-political occasion?
I don’t care that “Penny Lane” is a pretty tune, Paul McCartney is a horse’s butt. Let me amend that: He acted like one, on Wednesday night.
Jay summarized one set of responses to his comment as saying: “Even worse than McCartney’s insult was that the Obama crowd laughed like junior-high hyenas.” To this he added: “Yes, this was surprising from such a classy bunch. I mean, they’ve treated their predecessors with such grace since they took office two Januarys ago.”