Gentlemen, we’ve finally done it. The year is 1959, and we’ve achieved the impossible: we’ve traveled back in time and saved the course of human history from the scourge that would be known as… THE BEATLES. And though the world will never know our sacrifice, we can rest assured that the deaths of these four young men, now mere footnotes in the story of the 20th century, will bring about generations of boundless peace and prosperity. And to think, it all began 60 years from now, when I saw a post on Twitter.com…
It was 2019, and the world was in chaos. Donald Trump was the president of the United States. The Global South was being ravaged by the excesses of capital and the American military-industrial complex. Endless bloody conflicts tore apart the Middle East and Africa, motivated by the bottomless greed of the global ruling class.
And perhaps worst of all, movies had gotten very bad.
The megaconglomerate known as Disney was gradually accumulating all popular intellectual property and seizing control of the entire entertainment industry, thus hastening the homogenization of all popular entertainment, and what was once known as the art of cinema was wasting away before our eyes. Even once-respectable filmmakers, such as British director Danny Boyle, aging out of relevance and caught up in the confusion of our increasingly-senseless world, had been reduced to churning out cloyingly sentimental, nostalgic dreck. Little did I know that Boyle’s new feel-good pukefest Yesterday would form the axis upon which my life, and indeed the path of history itself, would hinge.
I didn’t actually see the movie. I didn’t have to. All it took was a simple image, a small ray of light, a beacon of hope:
This image, and the absurd implication that it carried–that the nonexistence of the beloved 1960s rock band, The Beatles, would somehow prevent the tragic events of 9/11–was roundly mocked. It was laughable. Ridiculous. Impossible. Or was it?
The movie, of course, certainly couldn’t be any good or possess insight of any real value. But that didn’t matter. The image was a mere spark that set off a wildfire of realization inside my mind. It was as if my head had cracked wide open and boundless knowledge of the space-time continuum was being revealed to me. Suddenly I could see all the gears of time turning in multitudes of unthinkable dimensions. I knew, then, what needed to be done.
And so my life’s mission began. I spent decades studying quantum physics, temporal mechanics, electrical engineering, Marxism, and jazz. I traveled the world, assembled the finest minds on the planet, and united them all under one simple task: unlock the secret of time travel, venture backwards into the mid-20th century, and… kill the Beatles.
And now here we are in 1959. We’ve neutralized these four unsuspecting lads from Liverpool, and the timeline has been permanently and irrevocably altered. The rest is pretty straightforward from here:
- Without the music of The Beatles warping the minds of every white teenager from San Francisco to Copenhagen, the raucous decade known as “the 60s” becomes considerably more tranquil. Social progress for all marginalized people begins to proceed on a steady path, without the constant, irritating interruption of a bunch of drugged-out middle class kids screeching about free love to no particular end.
- Without the pressure to compete with The Beatles, Brian Wilson manages to mostly retain his sanity, and he singularly advances the intellectual progress of pop music far beyond what was perceived as possible in our Beatles-poisoned timeline.
- Charlie Manson, lacking the inspiration of The Beatles’ music, never conceives of his groovy race war theories, and never really takes off as a cult leader, thus the infamous Tate-LaBianca murders never occur. Director Roman Polanski, having never tragically lost his wife and unborn child, never has occasion to criminally assault an underage girl, thus continuing his storied Hollywood career unabated. With his help, the critically-successful era of 1970s American film carries on well into the future, as a less distracted and paranoid public demands thought-provoking and challenging films.
- The failure of the phenomenon once known as the “British Invasion” leads to the end of British nationalism, and the United Kingdom signs on to the Warsaw Pact in 1983, greatly reducing Cold War tensions.
- In the cultural vacuum left by the lack of Beatlemania, a young singer named Frank Stallone manages to rise to pop prominence, becoming one of the world’s most beloved performers and outshining his older brother Sylvester, whose film career never really takes off as a result. The elder Stallone’s film Rambo III is never made, and without its famous dedication, Osama bin Laden and his Mujahideen fighters are crushed by the mighty Soviet machine.
- John Hinckley Jr., with less cultural noise to distract him from his true purpose, is more focused–more determined–and succeeds in assassinating President Ronald Reagan in 1981. After being found not guilty by reason of insanity, he marries the love of his life, actress Jodie Foster. Their first kiss, in front of the courthouse after his acquittal, becomes an iconic moment in American history.
- Vice President George H.W. Bush’s attempt to replace his beloved predecessor is met with derision and scorn. The Republican party declines greatly in popularity due to his weak tenure as president. Wall Street deregulation and Reagan’s famous tax reforms never occur. No one in Bush’s orbit ever succeeds in politics again, effectively ending Dick Cheney’s career.
- With increased international cooperation, the infamous Chernobyl disaster is averted. In 1989, President Michael Dukakis makes peace with the Soviet Union, ending the Cold War and allowing communism to flourish worldwide. A new age of world peace begins.
- Dick Cheney, trapped in dead-end job in the waning oil industry, never has the chance to orchestrate the 9/11 attacks. The towers never fall.
Isn’t it beautiful, gentlemen? The elegance of my grand design, like an endless arrangement of dominoes falling perfectly into place, all predicated on the simple axiom that The Beatles are indeed the engine of all entropy, as first suggested to me by that awful turd of a movie, which I have not seen and never will. Certainly not now, for I am an old man trapped in a Liverpool jailhouse in the year 1959, known only to these people as a stranger who appeared out of nowhere and committed a senseless act of violence. They have no idea of the bright future I have created for their world. After all, how could they? And as for Danny Boyle, well, I suppose I’ll never know what becomes of him. But one thing is for certain: in this glorious new timeline that I’ve created, that stupid, stupid movie Yesterday will never exist.