Life Advice



Ask Amy: Readers respond, correcting assumptions

Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

In a recent letter concerning four longtime friends, you used “John, Paul, George, and Ringo” as clever stand-ins. But I feel it’s unfortunate the name “Yoko” was used to identify the sullen and angry woman mentioned as “John’s wife.”

Many readers may recall the torrent of criticism, if not hatred, directed at Yoko Ono in the late 1960s, which, 50 years on, may be viewed today as misogynistic and anti-Asian vilification.

She was blamed for breaking up The Beatles, an unfair and mostly untrue accusation. (The Beatles broke up The Beatles.)

The real Yoko Ono is now 88. Her pioneering avant-garde art and boundary-bending music, not to mention her tireless dedication to peace causes, have brought on a reassessment of her brave impact on the creative community.

Forgive me if I am over-analyzing this unintentional slip, but to new generations of feminist rockers, Yoko Ono is their favorite Beatle!

– Tom in New Orleans

Dear Tom: I supplied those substitute names in the letter about four friends, and I take responsibility for replaying a very tired trope about Yoko Ono. As you rightly point out, “The Beatles broke up The Beatles.”


I apologize to Ms. Ono, who I recognize as an important artist, creator, and inspiration to many, including, of course, John Lennon, who did such important work in collaboration with her.

I also apologize to Beatles fans and other readers, who I know deserve better.


(You can email Amy Dickinson at or send a letter to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.)

©2021 Amy Dickinson. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.




John Darkow Dave Whamond Dan Wasserman For Better or For Worse Cul de Sac Dana Summers