While Erin toils in academia with an unusually heavy workload, I thought I would share another unpublished excerpt from The Historian And The Beatles regarding this now infamous statement attributed to Paul by his erstwhile lover, Francie Schwartz:
One example of Doggett’s occasional acceptance of unverified testimony as fact is his use of Francie Schwartz’s claim that the reason Lennon and Ono left McCartney’s London house (where they were temporarily staying) in Summer 1968 is because McCartney left the couple a postcard with the words “You and Your Jap Tart Think You’re Hot Shit” on it. Schwartz, McCartney’s girlfriend at the time, is the only source for this scene, (Body Count, 220) which, Doggett argues in both You Never Give Me Your Money and in a later interview with Oomska, initiated an irreparable wedge between Lennon and McCartney.
However, neither Lennon nor Ono ever mentioned this incident, even during Lennon Remembers, in which Lennon accuses the other Beatles of seriously mistreating Ono but also acknowledges that their offered examples of mistreatment are unconvincing: “Even when it’s written down, it’ll just look like I’m paranoid.” (Lennon Remembers, 44) Given that Schwartz portrays this incident as an extremely painful moment in Lennon’s relationship with McCartney, and that it directly led to Lennon and Ono departing Cavendish, it would presumably have been, for both Lennon and Ono, a particularly memorable moment. More, describing this incident would have heavily reinforced Lennon’s Lennon Remembers interview agenda to portray himself and Ono as victims of McCartney and the other Beatles. His failure to remember and recount the incident in this particular instance casts suspicions on the accuracy of Schwartz’s account.
While Garraghan declares that “the testimony of a single witness whose competence in every respect is above suspicion may be accepted as true,” (Garraghan, A Guide to Historical Method, 244) Schwartz does not qualify as a competent witness. Her brief relationship with McCartney ended badly when he told her to move out and Schwartz quickly sold articles about her time with McCartney to Rolling Stone and later produced a book, Body Count, in which Schwartz details the postcard scene. The Beatles Bibliography (which repeatedly discredits those pro-Lennon sources promoting the “Lennon Remembers” and Shout! versions of Beatles history) describes Body Count as “a travesty of a memoir,” in part because of its “self-serving and non-reflexive tone.” In credibility terms, Schwartz’s unverified eyewitness testimony is equal to that of the Apple Scruff claiming that Lennon once attempted to hit a pregnant Linda McCartney. While both Schwartz and the Apple Scruff’s claims are generally reinforced by circumstantial evidence (Schwartz by Beatles insider Derek Taylor’s claims that McCartney was sending him anonymous but ominous postcards in that same time period, the Scruff’s by Lennon’s admitted acts of occasional violence against women) Beatles writers who recount both scenes should explain that they are unverified testimony presented by an unreliable source.
Anyone still questioning whether Francie Schwartz is being truthful about the “jap tart” comment need only consider the point which Erin makes here: that J&Y would have been been screaming about this to the press to bolster their position that the rest of the band mistreated them/Yoko, had it been true. I would also add that the vernacular–calling something or someone “hot shit”– sounds far more American than late 60’s British. I think Schwartz gave herself away with that one.
I’m shocked that Doggett didn’t come up with those same, very simple observations.
What say ye, commentators?