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Friday, 22 November 2013

JFK

Fifty years since Lee Harvey Oswald did not act alone.  Fifty years since a book depository (had we ever used that term before?) ironically revealed the sword mightier than the pen.  Fifty years since the man with the umbrella, the troops standing down, the epileptic fit, the magic bullet, the three hobos, the manhunt, the swearing in on the plane.  Fifty years to create a new American myth - one never equalled - in terms of complexity, and paranoia. Fifty years since it became possible to imagine the mob, the FBI, and Castro in bed together. Fifty years since a few seconds of gunfire put a Texan in the White House.  Fifty years since JFK became LBJ. In my home town, there are schools and streets named after JFK.  My brother's initials are JFK (Jordan Fraser Knowlton) in honour of the fallen Irish Catholic president.  What was his legacy?  Publically, decorum, vigour, culture, a sense of Cold War hope.  In private?  Whoring, and ballot stuffing. Was JFK a great man?  He was certainly the most charismatic US president - the best-dressed, the most openly visionary since the Depression. Arguably, Martin Luther King's death was more terrible, for the world, for America - but every assasination is dreadful. In fifty more years, it will all seem as remote as Lincoln's death.  Historical, intriguing, but not, possibly, tangibly sad.  But today, it is different.  Across the world, anyone over the age of 55 likely has some recollection of one of the darkest most shocking days in US history.  A day in Texas.
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