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Last year, my friends and I were talking about news stories which bludgeoned the ears (and minds) of the American public throughout the year of 2012.
Of course, the Presidential election was high on the list. It was like watching a comedic version of Eraserhead dubbed over with the soundtrack from “Xanadu.” I must admit though, it was entertaining to see Clint Eastwood argue with a piece of furniture (and losing the argument to it).
Psy’s Gangnam Style infected the airwaves with K-pop and bad dancing. Trayvon Martin’s murder piqued the nation’s curiosity as to what brand of shoes Zimmerman wore.
The Pinterest fad convinced us that if an image exists, it must be real. And rappers Nicky Da B and Diplo made twerking a household word (say goodbye to the Dougie and hello to Miley Cyrus).
As we watched the devastation of hurricanes Sandy and Isaac, I wondered why they don’t give hurricanes less boring names. Like Penelope or Queenie? Or maybe Limbaugh?
Oh wait, there’s already a blowhard with that name!
Why they call it “news” is beyond me. Usually, it’s a singular topic discussed over and over and not always something new.
So when one turns on the television, or unfolds a newspaper, the question asked is, “What am I going to be force-fed for the next four weeks?”
Last year, my friends and I already knew the answer, at least for the month of November 2013.
Fifty years ago, the assassination of John F. Kennedy stunned the nation into political shock when the most powerful person on the planet was killed by a single crazed gunman. What followed was a made-for-TV drama that electrified the imagination in an era of cosmic dribble.
And so it begins again. Did the CIA orchestrate Kennedy’s death? In October 1963, Kennedy signed National Security Action 263, a provision to begin removal of United States troops from Vietnam. Six weeks later, he’s dead and President Johnson nullifies the action. Within two years, our presence in Vietnam increased by half a million troops.
It was a “boom” year for the military industrial complex. Proof positive, say the conspiracy theorists!
Was the Warren Commission a kangaroo court designed to hang Lee Harvey Oswald and protect the true guilty parties? Did the grassy knoll hold clues to a second gunman? Did the 1963 K-bill predict the date of Kennedy’s assassination? Did aliens from Mars kill him in retaliation for his insistence that we begin explorations of space? Is he in fact still alive and living in Bermuda with Elvis Presley?
Thousands of books have been written to put Kennedy’s assassination under a “historic” microscope to answer these questions. Actually, the only question asked by most authors was, “How can I make a fast buck?”
Fifty years ago, the winds of fate echoed a legacy and whispered into the ears of the media, “Don’t let it be forgot, that once there was a spot, for one brief shining moment, that was known as Camelot.”
Camelot? I never did understand that association. If Kennedy was King Arthur and Jackie was Guinevere, was Lancelot played by Ari Onassis?
Well, I always did think that Robert McNamara would have made a great Mordred.
Camelot indeed? We saw the botched invasion of Cuba (The Bay of Pigs fiasco). Kennedy’s promise to end discrimination in Federal housing was realized, but it took 22 months for him to sign in the legislation. Despite his veneer of domestic focus, military spending increased dramatically during his administration. And Everett Dirksen summarized Kennedy’s commanding presence as “a Kennedy legislative had as much impact as a snowflake on the bosom of the Potomac.”
But Kennedy’s death made him a beloved icon in American history. No one wants to think ill of a dead president.
Yes, those were the days of greatness, when time itself stood still, when Kennedy proudly stood before the citizens of Berlin, Germany and proclaimed, “I am a jelly donut!”
So turn on those TV sets and bathe yourself in rehashed analyses and theories of his presidency and his death. Myself, I plan on watching something with more substance. You know, like maybe professional wrestling?