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A Last Time Around the Track

Goodbye forever, JFK. We Know You Well Enough

This is Dark Cloud on Wednesday, November 20, 2013.

It's been fifty years since Kennedy was murdered, and like most everyone I'm sick and tired of the rehashing of conspiracy theories and the Camelot aura. He was not a great President, but he got better. The one thing that still impresses is the knowledge he did live with a great deal of pain. Like his father he did not drink alcohol, or play sports because of injury. His pleasures seem to have been sailing and sex, with tons of willing women. It was not a character flaw, it was self medication to keep him sane.

He was only 46 when shot, his body strapped to a back brace that precluded his slouching forward in the limo, his blood rich with medication from near quack doctors. He was the first Catholic president, although he wasn't religious at all, and had been given the Last Rites three times in his life even before his marriage. Not as big a deal as Obama's election, but it was still an important improvement in our nation to see one prejudice bite the dust.

If he and I are wrong, and there is an afterlife, I hope he's without pain, at peace, and free from further analysis. The affection those my age feel is for a young man and his charisma who had twenty years less life than I to this point.

One thing the rehashing of JFK does is bring before the public how much police work has improved since 1963. Watching the beefy Texas Rangers strutting in their white hats destroying the crime scene in the room where Oswald fired his shots, just stomping around with no gloves or clue, is embarrassing today. The absolute incompetence of the police destroying evidence and being unable to protect the assassin in their custody probably shocked enough people to get police everywhere to a higher professional standard. All to the good.

What also came out of it was the realization that falsehoods offered as mysteries made a lot of money, and the absolutely moronic theories about that assassination established a whole segment of publishing and media dedicated to feeding the empty lives of both seriously disturbed people and seriously bored people. The media makes money on it, so they can excuse themselves by calling things mysteries or competing theories. This goes back to the Warren Commission and the attempts to discredit it.

Such media underpinnings gave the Creationists today permission to offer Intelligent Design, which has about as much ballast as gunmen on the grassy knoll.

The people fixated on the surety that a civilian airliner, seconds before impacting the World Trade Center, fired a missile to explode a millisecond before the plane did in 2001, derive entirely from the 1964 nonsense of Mark Lane, an attorney who represented Oswald's mother, a fact unknown to the readers of his early books debunking what, in fact, happened. This atop those who say no plane whatever hit the Pentagon. It's a mystery how that flaming hole got there.

As a result, we have people who were never in the military posturing as authorities on it and weapons systems, which continues to this day. Apparently, a significant portion of the public believes that people dressed to camouflage are real soldiers just as they believe people dressed in scrubs are doctors or nurses, and someone with a degree and impressive sounding name - beards help - speaking sanely but without the affectations of bad actors, must be smart and telling the truth. The internet crawls with them today, and those, for example, trying to pretend they are TED lecturers can be amusing performers in inverse proportion to their sanity or actual knowledge.

In 1963, Sunday was still a day of home because you couldn't buy liquor, even in restaurants, and hardly any stores whatever were open. Many people still worked the day after Thanksgiving, although schools tended to give a long weekend break. Pro football was played by guys who needed an off season job to support a family. College football was huge, with big games on Thanksgiving , in 1963 only six days after the President's murder. There were three TV networks, but most TV was black and white and with low resolution, and went off the air around midnight, sometimes earlier, after playing the national anthem.

I much prefer today to then, and because JFK is emblematic of the time, I hope this is the last year we dig him up to reminisce and wallow in false memory and nonsense. Let him be, with Garfield and McKinley.