john fitzgerald kennedy
35th president of the united states
anyone who knows me or reads this blog knows that i'm a fukkin dork to like thee extreme. hahaha. and for those of you who know me "in real life" know that one of the subjects i dork out about most is JFK or more specifically, his assassination. this year being the fiftieth anniversary of that fateful day, i thought i'd do up a post on random shit about it and my thoughts and all. i don't really have a plan right now cuz there is SO MUCH info about it out there its overwhelming. i know a lot of it but i don't want to get too crazy with it and make it a million miles long so i'm just gonna go with the flow and post what comes to me as it comes. haha.
and also, just a note, even though he only served a short time in office a lot of shit went down during that time [my mom loves to tell me how her eleventh bday occurred during the cuban missile crisis in october 1962] but...i'm not really going to talk all that much about his presidency, things he did right or wrong or whatever. this is more just to talk about random things i found interesting surrounding him or the assassination. i'm not a political scientist and am not aiming to analyze his track record or motives.
so...yeah, here goes...
i'm not a crazy conspiracy theorist. like...i'm not one of those people who thinks the aliens are kidnapping people and doing tests in the middle of the night. i don't think courtney love had anything to do with kurt cobain's death. i don't think president obama wasn't really born here or that he staged aurora and newtown so he could ban guns. and i def don't think that there were "no planes" on 9/11. but i do think there are conspiracies out there and there is tons of shit we aren't being, or haven't been, told. and on top of that list, at least for me, is the assassination of JFK. i mean, if you really just take a step back from it for a minute, not even a big step, just a small one, you'll see that there are soooo many inconsistencies with the "official" version of events. that is mind boggling and that fact alone has "conspiracy" written all over it, duh!
i'm not going to go into all that much detail here, cuz i could be at it for DAAAAYS if i do. and honestly i need brush back up on some things cuz i haven't read a lot on it over the past few years. haha. but i mean to me, you have to be a moron to believe that only one person acted that day and three shots were fired but only two bullets [because one "missed"] did all that damage to two different men, as texas governor john connally was also [non-fatally] shot that day. magic bullet eh? crap, that's what i say! hahaha. i know that the people who believe this theory and also that lee harvey oswald acted alone, including our own government, have brought in all kinds of experts to say that it could have happened and that it def did, but i don't buy it and i never will.
you don't have to be an expert or really even know much at all about guns and ballistics to know that some bullet isn't going to just zig-zag all over the place, change directions at will, puncture that much tissue, hitting ribs and thick bones [the governors wrist] along the way, and then later fall out on its own on a stretcher at the hospital almost completely intact [did i mention the hitting BONES part???] you also don't have to be a forensics genius to know that when an object is struck from the front, it falls backwards. if JFK had been hit by a shot from the sixth floor of the texas school book depository, from the angle the official report said LHO shot from, he would have slumped forwards, not back. if LHO was in fact shooting from the sixth floor, why didn't he take the head-on shot as the limo came directly towards him and the window while it was traveling on houston street? he would have had a much better shot before the limo made the turn onto elm street and it would have been much easier to hit his target. but according to official reports, he waited til the limo made the turn around the corner onto elm st, which was a weird angle for someone perched in that particular window and oh yeah there was that pesky friggen tree that would have been in his line of site...yeah.....anyway....i feel myself starting to ramble! hahaha
i mean there are so many theories floating around out there, there are disputes on how many gunmen there were or who ordered it to happen: the mafia, the cubans, VP lyndon johnson so he could be president, the soviets [of course it was the commies!!!] that it was religiously motivated cuz he was catholic, j.edgar hoover hated him so he did it, allen dulles* was pissed JFK fired him as head of the CIA, or the big one, the whopper, the most preposterous one i've come across, that JFK himself ordered his own death so he could die a martyr [i read that a long time ago but i couldn't find a current link to it. that's even better than the one about kurt cobain's left handed guitar killing him. hahaha] just google and you'll see, there are some pretty crazy ones out there.
i don't buy any of those, i stick with the most logical, which is the one brought up in the oliver stone film JFK** that he was eliminated because he wanted to pull us out of vietnam. at the time we were there in an "advisory" role and not engaging in active combat [even though, yeah we actually were] but were ramping up to go in further which JFK was against it's their war, they're the ones who have to win it or lose it. as the film goes on to state that war is big business and "no war, no money" i can't think of any sentiment more true...or more of a motive to get him out of the way. his assassination wasn't the work of some lone wack-nut, this was serious business worth a lot of damn money and the only people powerful enough to carry off something like that and then cover it up was the CIA.
again, i'm not going to explore a lot of detail cuz i mean, i will go on forever and ever. i know, i'm sure you are all dying to know what i think about the CIA connection to it all, hahaha, but for a good primer on the subject, give the film a watch, then look up some stuff and you will get a good idea of it. also on the randomy list below there is a book to check out on the same theory. there are so many intricacies to things too and so many players involved and so many bits of info that it would be lost here in this format. but i do wonder, if this had happened today in the world we live in now, what would have been different? i don't think there would be any questions as to who was in the sixth floor window or on the grassy knoll, if anyone, or anything like that. there would also be so many images, our senses would be overloaded. i really don't think in a digitized world, were everything is recorded somehow, everything is tracked and monitored to the second, that something like this could have been pulled off so successfully. it is an interesting concept to think about.
the government eventually started to realize that their story and their "findings" from the rushed and botched warren commision report, which was headed chief justice earl warren and was assembled by president johnson to investigate the assassination, were crap cuz in 1976 the house select committee on assassinations was established to investigate the assassination further [see below where i talk about the zapruder film. the committee also investigated the slaying of martin luther king jr] they concluded their investigation in 1978 and ruled that JFK was most likely assassinated as part of a conspiracy, but did not name any one group or organization likely to be the culprits. all documents relating to this investigation were supposed to be sealed for fifty years but in 1992 the assassination records review board was established to open some of these documents after the public went nuts when the film JFK was released in 1991. even so, there are over 12,000 documents still sealed. here is a FAQ sheet on the national archives stuff available.
*interesting to note, mr. allen dulles was a member of the warren commission. idk but that just kinda seems like oh a uh slight, conflict of interest to be investigating the death of a guy who fired you. but hey, that's just me talking here.
**one of my fav lines of the movie JFK is when creepy david ferrie frantically declares that "the shooters don't even fucking know!" insinuating that this is so far up the chain of command and so far reaching, that contract killers were brought in and just told to aim but not who they were aiming at and that the killers themselves didn't know who had hired them.
ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country from his 1961 inaugural address is arguably his most famous quote, but my fav was delivered at rice university in sept.1962
we choose to do these things, not because they are easy but because they are HARD
-----his presidency lasted exactly 1036 days, which is just shy of three years
-----sixteen songs that honor JFK
-----while texas governor john connally never publicly disputed the findings of the warren commission, he was known to have doubts about the "single bullet theory" for the remainder of his life. get more info on what happened to the other man caught in the crossfire of this shooting.
-----for my 23rd bday, my mom bought me a copy of the official warren commission report. it points the finger entirely at LHO of course, and is a big fan of the "single bullet theory" so naturally, i didn't care for it all that much. haha.
-----for christmas i think last year or the year before, my mom got me the stephen king novel 11.22.63 which involved time travel and alternate future realities that could have happened if JFK hadn't been killed [maine becomes a part of canada? huh?] it also posited LHO acted alone and even saw the protagonist of the book attempt to stop LHO while he was supposedly on the sixth floor. it was awful. so so awful. if anyone but SK had written it, the publisher would have laughed in the author's face at the badness of it. ugh.
-----a weird video about the so called umbrella man haha
-----JFK is one of my favorite movies. i find the opening sequence layered with images and snippets from eisenhower's farewell speech warning us of the "military industrial complex" to be so powerful. i especially love right when it goes to the part as JFK is about to get shot and the scottish drumline kicks in...man, they are some EPICALLY amazing drummers. even on my best day, i can't hold a handle to them. if i'm not mistaken the drummers in question are the royal scots dragoon guards which is a calvary regiment of the british army. this style of drumming is referred to as "pipe drumming" because it usually is accompanied by bagpipes. where i went to high school, our marching band played pipe style music and i played snare drum for two years. after high school i played in another pipe and drum band for a time too. in either setting we never played something as hard or badass as this intro tho; these are some seriously talented drummers for sure. on my best day, i don't have half the chops these guys have! shit! take a listen below... [i couldn't find a clip of the opening sequence prior to the drum parts with the opening montage. grrrr]
-----the music for the film was composed by the brilliant john williams who is the man responsible for the star wars themes as well as indiana jones, schindler's list, saving private ryan and scores of others. the man came up with "the imperial march" aka darth vader's theme. clearly, he is a genius
-----five wild JFK conspiracy theories
-----there are soooo many videos about this subject on youtube i need to watch. i may never leave my house again. hahaha.
-----i recently picked up two new books [well new to me, they were in the bargain bin! haha] JFK-the CIA, vietnam, and the plot to assassinate john f. kennedy by l.flecher prouty who himself was a proponent of the, as i call it, "no war, no money" theory of elimination and who is the basis of "mr. x" in the film JFK. the other is forty ways to look at JFK by gretchen rubin. at first i thought it was a volume edited by her with forty different authors, but it is forty essays by her. topics covered how he presented himself, a circumstance that shaped him, and his view of himself. she also obviously touches on the assassination.
-----"mr.x" is responsible for another of my favorite lines from the movie "it started in the wind" in reference to the idea of offing the president just started in a simple conversation, as an idea
-----whenever i see those old records of presidential speeches at the thrift store i pick them up mainly cuz i'm a dweeb. haha. at first i thought they might be worth a few bucks if i put them up on ebay but they really aren't, they're just something cool to have for fifty cents. haha
-----is there a kennedy curse? idk, maybe...didn't one of them ski into a tree?
-----i really do believe that if he himself had not been assassinated as well, JFK's younger brother robert would have won the presidential election in 1968
------he had addison's disease which is a disorder of the adrenal glands
-----yeah, i think he totally banged marilyn monroe but idk if i would go so far as to say he was involved in her death
-----my version of heaven is this: when i die, i will have revealed to me every mystery, every unsolved case i've wondered about, i will get to see anything in history as it actually happened. first on my list of what i want to see is this.
-----though you can argue that it is just a piece of clothing, one of the most iconic parts or really images of the assassination still to this day is the pink chanel suit that the first lady was wearing at the time. the role of the suit, and of the president's blood spattered on it and jackie were quite significant to the perception of the events.
in the postal service song "sleeping in" ben gibbard sings:
last week i had the strangest dream
where everything was exactly how it seemed
where there was never any mystery
of who shot john f kennedy
it was just a man with something to prove,
slightly bored and severely confused
he steadied his rifle with his target in the center
and became famous on that day in november
he really had me with those opening two lines about the dream and all but then when he got to the JFK bit it made me angry. haha. for real the first time i heard that song, i was steamed at his apparently ignorant dismissal of the subject and making it seem so trivial and like some guy was just bored and wanted to get famous for doing something drastic* i know it isn't a big deal, it is just a silly song, but every time i hear it i get a little annoyed even still. hahaha.
*though shooting the president to impress an actress you're obsessed with like in the case of john hinckley jr. shooting ol ronny raygun to get jody foster's attention, now that is prime snotty lyrics territory. hahahaha. i wonder what mr. hinckley's thoughts are on her being a lesbian. oh snap! hahahahahahahahahahaha
though the images from the famed zapruder film captured by abraham zapruder seem ubiquitous to us now, and they are out there for anyone to watch and study, there was a time when the frames were off limits to the public and under strict copyright. it is hard to imagine that now, not having instant access to images, since we now live in a media obsessed society where the news outlets shovel content onto us non stop and seemingly everyone has the ability to take pictures and vidoes of anything and everything around them whenever and wherever they want; something so life shattering as an attack on the president would have been intensely documented by the second as it unfolded. while black and white still frames were made available to the public in life magazine, who purchased the film from mr. zapruder for $150,000 immediately following the assassination, the actual film was not shown "in motion" in its entirety to a wide audience for over a decade. bootleg copies of poor quality were in circulation as early as the latter half of the 60s but i'm sure they were of pretty dubious origin and quality.
in finding it's way to the public, it was first shown in 1970 on a chicago area program "underground news" with chuck collins and was also syndicated to a few other cities. from what i've read, it didn't make a huge impact at the time. however, the real outrage came in 1975 when it was broadcast on network tv for the first time on abc's late-night show "good night america" [which was hosted by geraldo rivera] it reached a much larger audience, who for the first time, could actually see the assassination happening in front of them. its not surprising then that public opinion started to shift away from the LHO lone gunman theory to a conspiracy and cover up. in response to this outcry, the above mentioned house select committee on assassinations was created to look into matters further.
it seems soooooo insane and foreign now that something as crucial as footage of the assassination of the president would take TWELVE YEARS to get widespread broadcast on network television, but the world in 1963 was not one of social media, surveillance cameras, and cell phones that can take HD videos. it also was a different time in terms of what could/would be shown in print media and on tv. abraham zapruder himself asked for "frame 313" to be left out of magazine printings because of the graphic nature of the moment when kennedy's head exploded and i believe that they weren't even color printings so really, they weren't all that bad. funny how in fifty years, things have changed so much that we can take seeing such shocking things as someone getting their head blown off as common place and we can spread images of such like wild fire within seconds of events happening.
[regarding him asking for frame 313 to remain out of printings, i'm unclear in my readings if zapruder himself still retained some control over the copyright and how it could be used even though time/life owned the actual film. i know it shifted back and forth between the zapruder family and time/life and i think the fbi and/or other government agencies a few times so who knows who had the final say. the physical film itself entered the national archives in the 1970s but the zapruder family must have retained control over it from that time because oliver stone had to pay them $85,000 to use it in JFK. idk, i think i just need to do more reading and take some notes on it to sort it out]
frame 313 the infamous moment of the "head shot"
-----there were other home movies shot that day, but this film by far holds the most evidence, gives the clearest picture of the events happening, and is the most well known. i have a dvd somewhere where all the films are edited together as best as possible to kind of create a seamless chain of events. it was an interesting perspective.
-----there are also allegations that parts of and/or all of the zapruder film were doctored or were outright fake. the wiki link above touches on that a little. i don't really think that is true.
-----through the use of updated digital technology the film has been cleaned up a lot. there are very vivid and more detailed versions now widely available. though there is only so much detail you can glean from something based on 1960s tech
the first time i saw this image in a book, i couldn't help but chuckle at it's irreverantness and really at it's pure genius; i think what really put it over the top for me was the dead kennedys logo sneakily placed into the background. i wasn't able to find a larger version of this online, cuz the original was def bigger. i also have not been able to come up with the artists name, which stinks cuz i'd really like to know who had the idea for this but idk, guess i'll have to keep looking. anyway, the original image was captured two days after the assassination when LHO was being transferred from the dallas jail to another holding facility. before the transfer could be completed, jack ruby pushed his way through the crowd of police officers and reporters and fatally shot LHO in the stomach. at the time, who would have known it would be possible to doctor photographs like this and make them into a total parody so perfectly? both of my parents have said they remember seeing this happen on live television [my mom was twelve and my dad was fourteen at the time] and both of them have also expressed disapproval at this doctored image, finding it disrespectful.
though jack ruby maintained that he murdered LHO "to spare jackie kennedy from having to go through the pain of a trial," many conspiracy theorists have posited that ruby had far more sinister reasons. it has been speculated that ruby had actually known LHO for some time and that he himself was involved in the assassination plot and was silencing LHO as part of the overall plan. he would go on to die from cancer related complications in 1967 [which some other conspiracy people will tell you is cuz he was poisoned or "injected with cancer" idk about that one...]
it is an interesting contrast in that just above i talked about the zapruder film not being shown until the 70s but that when LHO was murdered, it was being broadcast on live television. just odd the way things happened to play out in that sense. things might have very well worked out differently if there were tv crews there in dealey plaza when the shooting took place.
as an aside, it completely wouldn't be me if i weren't to point out that mr. ruby is "playing" his guitar left handed. hahaha.
arriving at love field, dallas. less than an hour after this was taken, he would be dead. i do believe this appeared in life magazine immediately after the assassination. i love the vivid colors of the sky, roses, and jackie's pink chanel suit. i had a copy of it hanging in my bedroom while i was in college.
lee harvey oswald was at the time, and still is, painted as a monster, a traitor, a loser, and a wacko, among many other things. i mean, i have never really completely ruled out in my mind that he definitively didn't have anything to do with the assassination. he most likely did, but i think at a very low level and that he prob didn't really shoot anyone. i think he was exactly what he said he was, a patsy, promised all sorts of things by whoever masterminded the plot, but in the end, was left to be the one to take the fall. in any case, he was a complicated character who had interesting relationships and alleged alliances with some not-so-savory people. he defected to the soviet union in 1959 and then came back in 1961 which definitely raised alarm and some people who believed he was solely responsible said was part of the fuel to the fire in why he shot kennedy. though conversely he was reported to have been aligned with anti-communist groups at points in his life. again, so many confusing connections! aaaah!!!!
but what i will say, in all the negative-ness that encircles him, and probably always will, people forget that he left behind a young widow and two daughters that were toddlers at the time; his younger daughter, audrey wasn't even a year old. i can't imagine what it must have been like to grow up like that, not knowing your father to begin with and then the whole world hating him on top of it so no one would ever tell you anything nice about him. both of his daughters and his widow are still alive today.
lyndon johnson being sworn in as the 36th president aboard air force one. u.s. district judge sarah hughes performed the grim ceremony. she has the distinction of being the lone woman to have ever sworn in a united states president. LBJ with his wife lady bird johnson to his right and jackie still in her pink, bloodied suit to his left. jackie remained wearing the suit for the rest of the day stating "i want them to see what they have done to jack" this remains as one of the most iconic and haunting images of the twentieth century.
this image is another that is burned into the american memory. little JFK Jr salutes his father's coffin as it rode by, drawn by horse and carriage. what makes it even more heartbreaking is the realization that instead of celebrating his third birthday on 11/25/1963, like he was supposed to, JFK Jr attended his father's funeral and was captured in this timeless photograph paying his final respects.
and there you have it! hope you enjoyed it, maybe learned something from it. idk. i will be back at it soon with a "regular" post yo!
fin xo- hoos