50 years ago today John F Kennedy, president of the United States was assassinated by Lee Harvey Oswald in Dallas, in Texas and that was that.
Actually it wasn’t. It was the start of 50 years of conspiracies large and small, and it probably kick started modern culture’s fixation with the Conspiracy Theory. It did help that the actual murder of JFK was captured in a shaky bit of film shot by Abraham Zapruder, which even though it’s 50 years old, is still an astonishing powerful, not to mention shocking bit of footage. However it would take 12 years for the people of America and the world to see this bit of film as you can see from this remarkable bit of footage from 1975.
The Zapruder Film is a genuine snuff film. We watch someone die in it, and die quite horribly as they’re shot by one (two?) assassins. Frankly, I don’t believe the official line which give my past blog on Conspiracy Theories on 911, is probably a horrible bit of hypocrisy. Let me explain.
I’ve always been fascinated by JFK’s murder. That’s partly due to my parents being huge Americophiles, so when I was born one of the stories I was constantly told when growing up was about how distraught my mother especially was about JFK’s murder, and how she couldn’t believe that Lee Harvey Oswald was the only person involved. She thought it was insane to think that. So when I was growing up I was steeped in JFK lore, and was probably a serious Conspiracy Nut in regards to this subject by the time I was 16.
As I grew older and read more and more on the subject I became (and remain) convinced JFK was killed by more than one person, however I became more interested with how this was affecting culture. Oliver Stone’s splendid, if somewhat mental, JFK, is a film I’ve seen dozens of times not only because it’s possibly one of the best edited films you’ll see but because it manages to capture that conspiracy insanity when it takes over from the real world.
Around the same time, DC Comics had published Pete Milligan’s excellent comic, Shade: The Changing Man, which started it’s run diving headfirst into JFK conspiracy theories, while indulging in wonderful flights of surrealism.
After Stone’s film, JFK was a important part of culture worldwide as a cultural myth, or at least, his murder was a folk tale where we could impose what we wanted to upon it, but there’s a human story in all this which is of a man being murdered not only in front of the world, but his wife. Those images of Jackie Kennedy scrambling on the back of her presidential car trying to scoop up her husbands skull are horrible, tragic and at the same time incredibly powerful as you don’t do that to someone who you don’t love.
So this 50th anniversary by all means continue as I will to insist JFK was killed by more than one person, but remember that there’s a human story at the heart of this. Remember that.