Paul McCartney loves animals so much that he feeds them his own fingers.

And here we are, nearly halfway through two thousand and seven. It’s getting late, very late in history. With that in mind, I think it’s time to finally heal a great rift that has lingered on for far too long, a tribal conflict so ancient that those involved have a hard time remembering why it started in the first place.

I am speaking, of course, of the ongoing hostilities between the John and Paul camps. Not that there’s really much of a Paul camp anymore — you’re hard-pressed to find anyone who will stand up in public and take Paul’s side in any debate of relative merits — so maybe what I really mean is, between the John camp and Paul McCartney himself.

To put it briefly and clearly, it’s time to give Paul a break.

Because, let’s face it, he isn’t going to be around forever. (A full-page portrait accompanying a recent New Yorker interview shows him looking wizened, weary, and droopy, though still with a fabulous — albeit artificially black — head of hair.) And he’s suffered plenty in recent years, what with Linda dying and the new wife not working out so great, not to mention having to listen to ten thousand “When I’m 64” jokes. So I for one am prepared to make an effort to forgive Paul his excesses and celebrate his achievements. Well, I can’t forgive “Silly Love Songs,” but I am willing to overlook it in the interest of moving past this destructive conflict.

The anti-Paul forces — and I have at times counted myself among them — accuse him of being an empty vessel, a sentimental hack with no real point of view and a prediliction for the easy and cheesy side of pop music. And certainly there is no lack of evidence for these accusations. On the other hand, he was a fairly important cog in the genius machine we call The Beatles. He wrote “You Never Give Me Your Money.” He played bass on “Rain.” He told Charlie Manson to kill those people. What more do you want?

You know who was a pretty big Paul fan? John Lennon. “Paul was one of the most innovative bass players who ever played bass,” Lennon said in 1980. He was also known to be enchanted by McCartney songs like “For No One” and “Here, There, and Everywhere.” And let us not forget, if it hadn’t been for his desire to compete with McCartney, Lennon never would have become the songwriter he was.

So I hereby, officially and in public, foreswear hating on Paul so long as we both shall live. (I’ll even listen to his new album, as long as I can get it for less than $4 or burn it off somebody.) I encourage you to do the same. Then maybe one day we can all get together, sit down, and smoke the peace pipe. Afterward we’ll order pizza — vegetarian, of course, for Paul’s sake.