Watch Me Risk My Life

I am ambivalent about films and stories about men and women who unnecessarily risk their lives, on mountains, in cars, under water– for…  well, that’s the question.  For what?

Almost no documentary or book about these individuals would dare suggest that these people are selfish, self-centred individuals interested primarily in self-promotion and ego gratification.   (I make an exception for “Into Thin Air”, the amazing book by Jon Krakauer which considers the issue at some length.)  Think about why that’s so.  Why doesn’t “The Last Mountain”, for example, seriously consider the issue?

Could that be because the viewer, who adores these stories, would feel implicated?  I get pleasure by watching other people put themselves in grave peril at the expense, sometimes, of their lives?  Could it be because the writers (often the daredevils themselves) or film-makers (ditto) really want you to believe they are doing something important and admirable?  Think of how often they claim there is some higher purpose to their activities: to learn more about sharks, to extend human endurance and achievement, to fulfill personal goals?

Real Character

David Brooks, columnist for the New York Times, has written a book about character. He essentially defines character as a strong connection to something outside of yourself. He means “character” in a positive sense– not in the sense of “what a character!”. And not in the sense of “he is a deeply flawed character”. He means, “this man has character”. He has principles. He has strength and conviction. His life means something.

It really is an odd criteria, but it plays well with conservative tropes about duty and respect for authority and service. It honors soldiers who come back from war, having done their “duty”, and having killed for the state, or the state’s vested interests, without ever questioning the justice or rationality of its cause. It plays well with religion: character is obedience, to that something outside of yourself, God, or the church itself.

And so, among the failures of Bill Clinton, we often hear conservatives insist that his was a failure of “character”. He was dishonest as a politician. He cheated on his wife.

He was such a character!

But what if character is the opposite? What if it is precisely the man who refuses to obey authority unquestioningly, because he doesn’t have that connection with that outside thing that he thinks is smarter or more respectable or more honorable than his own conscience? What if a man with character is more like Thomas More, not because he believed in something outside of himself– the Roman Catholic Church and it’s corrupt hierarchy– but that he might be right and everyone else, who had all sworn allegiance to King Henry VIII as the new head of the church, was wrong?

Brooks’ mistake is that he assumes that the thing “outside of oneself” is transcendent.  It isn’t potentially just as flawed as the values of a person who, in his view, isn’t loyal to those principles “outside” of his own needs and wants.  But it is obvious that the values that exist “outside” of yourself are someone else’s values: patriotism, religious belief, prurience.  Brooks wants you to believe that those values aren’t the product of some other person’s wants and needs– like a king or corporate executive or general.

That’s why it’s a pity to see Rand Paul trying to go mainstream. I thought he had character, with his odd positions on the drug laws, the invasion of Iraq, and tax breaks for corporations.

The CBC’s Tunnel Hysteria

CBC Hysteria: tunnel vision
Why does the CBC do this? A CBC reporter happened upon the story of a tunnel found in a wooded area near the University of Toronto and, for the next week, never failed to use the word “terror” in every report connected to it. Ooooo— it is near a venu that will be used during the PanAm games! We know that they are probably a top target of Isis!

It was, perhaps, the most narcissistic news story of the year, so far: the CBC reporting on itself being absolutely, hysterically, almost sexually obsessed with what an amazing story this was.

It was a nothing story. It was trivial. It was not newsworthy in any respect whatsoever, except, perhaps, as a minor, one-off triviality.

But without a current contagion story in it’s dossier, the CBC had to do something to keep listeners riveted.

The most offensive part of it all was the way they kept insisting that the entire world was now enthralled with this ridiculous story and was waiting with baited breath for every new installment from the CBC, and couldn’t wait to hear Gill Deacon speculate as to what the purpose of this tunnel was.

It was nauseating and utterly unworthy of the CBC.


Tactless CBC

Who you gonna blame
The star of the game
Or the no-name girl in the marching band?

Quarterback, Kira Isabelle

I just heard the CBC play some songs from the CCMA show (Canadian Country Music Awards). First, a sensitive song about a young girl in the marching band who is date-raped by the star quarterback of the football team, who then posts pictures of her naked on the internet. (The chorus is “Who you gonna blame/The star of the game/or the no-name girl in the marching band?”)

The ever-tactful CBC followed this with a presentation of “Day Drinking” by Little Big Town. “I know you know what I’m thinking/Why don’t we do a little day drinking? Day drinking! Day drinking!… Ready get set, baby here we go”. Sung with that bombastic pseudo-rock stadium gusto: woohoo!

Maybe the CBC programmers were doing a little day-drinking of their own.

Incidentally– or not– I note that line in the chorus– “who you gonna blame/ the star of the game/or the no-name girl in the marching band” captures nicely a sentiment expressed by many women about the issue of date-rape, but which I find problematic in this sense: it is no doubt true that too often, the famous athlete or favorite son or celebrity miscreant, is automatically believed because so many figures in authority have a vested interest in believing him. After all, he is the star; she is a nobody. Maybe they really believe him, maybe not, but she, after all, is still a nobody.

And I note that “Quarterback” is not necessarily about date-rape– it might well only be about betrayal, though the chorus makes less sense that way.

I simply point out that reversing the automatic belief– which many women seem to do– is equally offensive, and when the argument is put that way– who are you going to believe?— the implication is that the woman should always be believed instead of the man. The implication is that women never lie when claiming that the sex was non-consensual.

And the ongoing curse of these issues is that, in the majority of cases, it is simply her word against his. Confronted with this issue, many women (and many sympathetic men) respond with “why would she lie about something like that?”. That’s not an argument, and even if it were, the answer is not that hard to find: is it so hard to believe that woman might consent to sex with a man because she believes it is the beginning of a relationship, but, soon after, when she finds out she was used, she wants him punished?

Or there might be a more exotic explanation, as in the case of Brigadier General Jeffrey Sinclair.

The Necessity of Secrets

To those who continue to insist that no law-abiding citizen has anything to fear from government surveillance or ubiquitous security cameras or cell phones that constantly report your location to your service provider: please go live in your own country with like-minded people and you can all watch each other all the time.

Better yet, someone needs to organize a group of volunteers to contact one of these congressmen or NSA administrators or FBI or CIA officials and ask for their address and their license number and make and model, and photos, and announce that this person is now going to be followed, 24/7, by these volunteer citizens, because this person doesn’t think the average American citizen has anything to fear from being spied on.

Vanity Fairy

“Do I see myself as a feminist idol? No. I don’t see myself as anything.” Baba Wawa in Wanity Fair. (Barbara Walters in Vanity Fair, 2014-05)

“Dayan’s widow, Raquel, would wear to her husband’s 1981 funeral, a dress that belonged to Walters”.

Now that’s journalism. (Vanity Fair)

“I was one of the first who did political interviews and celebrities… and now everybody does it”.

Yes, all of your celebrity wannabe friends.

Please don’t let anyone deceive you into thinking that the media made a bigger thing out of Barbara Walter’s “tree question” than it really deserved. It deserved to be mocked, in spades. Barbara Walters was a pushy, inane, abominable, celebrity hostess who did more damage than you can possibly imagine to journalism in American. She almost single-handedly invented tabloid journalism. She mastered and promoted the mutual masturbation style of interview, wherein the interviewer asks soft questions and the subject calmly answers them with lies and half-truths and the interviewer generously moves on to the next earth-shattering issue: single or queen-sized bed? When was the last time you cried? Would you cry now for me, please? Just a tear or two.

Trust me: we forgive torturers who cry.

It works wonderfully and you will see even the New York Times marvel at the guests she was able to land.

Of course she lands famous guests: she gives them all a glorious opportunity to answer their critics without difficult follow-up questions, like, “(this specific person) claims that your secret police arrested and tortured her for several months. Are you saying it didn’t happen? Is Amnesty International lying?”

She even let at least one of them edit her own interview (Barbara Streisand, having imposed a condition no real journalist would have agreed to), though I cannot imagine why Streisand thought it would even be necessary.

No person is too obscenely trivial or unimportant as to not deserve an interview with Barbara Walters, from the Khardasians to Beyonce (yes, screw it, Beyonce is trivial) to– the ultimate and most telling triviality of all: Donald Sterling’s girlfriend: V. Stiviano. To Barbara Walters, they are all, Kings and Presidents, Dictators and porn stars, Khardasians and Secretaries of State, equally important, equally interesting, and equally glamorous.

Now the revisionists appear but I can’t understand why. Everyone has always known she was a joke. Everyone has always known that by offering to pose her own dim-witted self-serving harmless fuzz ball questions, she allowed controversial figures to pad their own images, pretend to be accountable, without offering up a single wit, not a moment of honesty or authenticity.

Vanity Fair embarrassingly, shamelessly, with the utmost servility, describes her as reading whenever she is sitting on a plane, and arranged a photo to show bookshelves behind her. Vanity Fair neglects to mention that when she made her meteoric rise to “stardom” in the 1970’s at ABC News, she was the very first co-anchor to…. wait for it … no, it’s not that…. to be a non-journalist. She was the first to be chosen for her ability to entertain, not to enlighten, and the other journalists knew it, but, judging from Vanity Fair, you would never know it.

In Barbara Walters’ own delusional universe, the real journalists like Morley Safer and Peter Jennings criticized her because she was a woman, not because she was a hack.

What kind of a reporter was Barbara Walters? How did she manage to score that exclusive interview with Bashar al-Assad? Her amazing — I don’t know what people even think she has– whatever? Or the fact that she helped an Assad aide to obtain an internship at CNN and enroll in Columbia University. But whoa nelly! It’s not as if she held back on Assad: are you a mean dictator? No, not at all. Then show me your glamorous palace and your beautiful wife.

Curtis Sittenfeld, in a particularly gruesome and nauseating aside, insists that you know Walters is great because you can’t not watch– you have to see it, to the end. I am very happy to admit that I watched parts of  several Barbara Walters interviews early in her career and never, ever came back. I looked away as quickly as possible.  Not for Monica Lewinsky, or the hugely embarrassing– mortifying– Obama interview, or Castro, or Sadat, or anyone else she trivialized over the past thirty years.

When she asks Bill Gates if his feelings were hurt because he was referred to as a “nerd”, you have to ask yourself if she has the slightest clue of what a nerd is or what a computer is or what Microsoft is or what Bill Gates is, but you just know that Bill Gates will never mind being asked if his feelings were hurt because Barbara Walters thinks people call him a nerd.

Some Trivia

The pope has decided that he will no longer use the pope-mobile. Hallelujah.

How Vanity Fair scores so many lengthy articles on celebrities: read this piece or any other piece they have produced. Fawning, worshipful, admiring, suck-ups.

I have a theory that a college education is not an asset to a comedian. The comedian– in today’s comedy– thrives on the “arrested thought” (my term).

If you make a joke that is subtle or complex, you risk a dud in front of a live audience which may not ever get it.

George Carlin, bless his soul, regularly does take this chance. But he is exceptional. And I am disturbed by the fact that he is now widely honored, even revered. I’ll bet he worries about it too.  When the establishment falls over itself to hand you awards (Kennedy Centre honors), you have obviously become part of … the establishment.

For example, it’s funnier to mock abstract art if you don’t quite process the real thing. If you don’t get into the question of shape or color or visualization or composition, or how hard it is to actually create an abstract painting (try it, if you don’t believe me). If you process it that far, it’s not funny anymore. It’s plausible that there might be something to abstract art–and that the criteria for judging it might be different than, say, for a photograph– and that is the joke’s death. It’s funnier to describe a painting as a bunch of splatters and lines and say, “I’m supposed to be amazed by this?” The young high-school educated working class males in the audience respond enthusiastically because they don’t get it either and they hate feeling stupid.

Louis C. K., a comedian I like very much, recently appeared on David Letterman to mock the Common Core. I’m not sure about Common Core. I haven’t studied it carefully. It may well be a very significant, important, and effective reform. But Louis C. K., with his high school diploma gets to describe Common Core math as “Bill has three goldfish. He buys two more. How many dogs live in London.” London, of course. There is something, to the working-class male, foreign about this Common Core. Elitist. Fucking Common Core. Hilarious. Drink up.

Where is the joke? The joke is half of fourth graders in the U.S. can’t read a thermometer accurately. The joke is that American adults rank in the bottom 20% in math skills among 20 developed nations. The joke is that A&W’s 1/3 pound burger bombed in the U.S. because most customers thought it was smaller than the quarter-pounder at McDonald’s. The joke is that Americans are the worst at math in the entire world and Louis C. K. yuks it up because any attempt to improve math scores involves challenging, intellectually demanding effort, and you can’t seriously expect an American man to give a shit about anything other than beer, football, and large breasts. And if you think otherwise, it’s because you’re an elitist snob who thinks he’s better than us.

The joke should have been, Louis C. K. makes an appointment to see the teacher but can’t find the room for the meeting because it has more than two digits in the number.

Mitch Hedberg died on April Fools Day, 2005. That’s why it took so long for people to realize he was really dead. That’s no joke.

Bob Hope was actually pretty witty and funny and charming. I never liked him because for me, growing up in the 1960’s, he was the quintessential establishment comedian: he used writers and cue cards instead of creating and memorizing his own material; and he was white, safe, homogenized, and a classic Republican Chicken Hawk: a passionate supporter of the Viet Nam War who– of course!– never got within a hundred miles of actually serving in a war, though I’m sure he felt very brave doing comedy at a military base somewhere near the location of actual warfare.

Also like a classic Republican, Hope carried on several affairs while married, including a long-term one with actress Marilyn Maxwell. Why is this so inevitable?

When Hope was honoured by Queen Elizabeth with an honorary knighthood, he quipped, “I’m speechless. 70 years of ad lib material and I’m speechless”. Well, no. Seventy years of cue cards, Mr. Hope. But an interesting line. I’m quite sure he doesn’t mind most of fans believing that he writes his own quips or thinks of them on the fly.

Great comedy really is a mark of genius, and the best comedians around today like Louis C. K., Stephen Wright, Doug Stanhope and others might be among the smartest people in the entertainment business.


CBC in the Afternoon

I’m becoming less and less interested in CBC in the afternoon.

The other day, the hostess, Gill Deacon, was talking about the up-coming 3D version of Peanuts, and describing how she can’t wait to see Lucy pull the football back when Charley Brown tries to kick it.

She wants the movie to be the one she already saw? She can’t wait to laugh again at an old, old joke? She is excited about the idea that the producers of this movie will not be able to come up with a new idea but will have to repeat an old one?

I’ll bet she actually tunes in to see reruns of “Happy Days” and gets wet just thinking about Fonzie going “EEEHHEHHHH!”. Again. And again. And again. And again. And do it again, Fonzie, it was so funny. Please? Do it again. “Eeeehhhh!”. Oh! (Hysterical giggles).

So this woman wants to go to those parties where your Uncle George tells you the exact same story for the 30th time. So she wants to go see the Eagles on tour doing the same hits they first performed in 1979. And Carol Burnett do her mugging, and Tim Conway, and Jerry Lewis and Red Skeleton.

There was a time when I would listen to CBC on my way home from work and, often, quickly look up the name of an interesting artist they had played and get more of his or her music to listen to.  I have not done that in years because the CBC in the afternoon no longer plays anything worth hearing again.

Gill Deacon is popular among many of my friends.  I’m baffled.  I don’t know if any of them ever try to imagine what a really good radio hostess would sound like.  She would not sound like Gill Deacon, who cannot complete a single complex sentence without false starts.  She is inarticulate and trite, often sounding like a college sophomore on her first date.

Character Assassination: Joyce Maynard Betrays J.D. Salinger

While watching Miley Cyrus’ pornographic performance on the 2013 MTV awards, I thought about an article I’d read hours earlier, about a new biography of J. D. Salinger by David Shields and Shane Salerno, and about Joyce Maynard who tried to sell letters Salinger had written her when she was 18 and he was 53, which resulted in her moving in with him for a year. Maynard was vilified by some for trying to sell the letters to pay for her childrens’ tuition costs. Peter Norton, he of the famous Norton Utilities (well, famous back in the days of DOS), purchased the letters and gave them back to Salinger, displaying more class than anybody else involved in this celebrity dust-up, including Salinger.

The deal is usually this: you want to sell your book / movie / record by appearing in magazines and on talk shows, you give up your right to privacy. I’m not sure why that is a “deal” but it is. If you seek publicity for personal gain, you don’t seem to have the right to complain if someone tries to take pictures of you topless at a private beach. Or if people camp out in front of your door and photograph you every time you go out to dinner or to get groceries or pick up your child at school. Why is that a deal? Because the “moderates” of the media monster have decided that that is reasonable. The subject celebrity supposedly agrees to this exchange, tacitly, when they agree to some other specified act of publicity.  No– it’s because you seek publicity in order to sell your movie, your book, your recordings, so it’s hypocritical to complain about your privacy being invaded when you have clearly offered it in exchange for money or fame or power.

J. D. Salinger famously became a recluse. He had a taste of fame, didn’t like it, and stopped publishing, and retreated to a very private cabin on a 90 acre property in Cornish, New Hampshire. He built a separate house for his family. He had work to do, even if he wasn’t publishing.  He accepted that he would not sell as many books if he maintained his privacy, and most of the media respected that tacit arrangement.

Jonathan Franzen famously refused to appear on Oprah for the same reason.  Then he changed his mind– at the behest of his publishers– and did appear on Oprah knowing full well the consequences of a deal with the devil: the tabloid fame that follows.

The essential duplicity of Maynard’s action is the decision to expose, for public consumption, very private sexual acts. The obvious question is why. The obvious answer– from a publicist’s point of view– is to tell the truth, or the help other people, or to have closure, or to work through her depression. The real reason, without the slightest doubt, is to evoke sympathy, make money, whether through book sales, the auction of the letters, or personal appearances, and exploit the fame of the person you are exposing.

You may choose to believe Maynard’s rationalizations: I do not. I think it’s bullshit. It is exactly what it looks like and there is never any doubt about what it looks like: you took a very private relationship and splattered it all over the place knowing full well what kind of mincemeat most of the media will make of it by the time they’re through. You behaved a certain way while with Salinger– you kissed him back, embraced him, undressed for him, whatever, consented to intimacy without giving him the slightest indication that you would eventually use that information to sell yourself, to be noticed, to get press, to sell more books, to present yourself as some kind of victim.

It’s Goldman on Lennon, Hersh on Kennedy, Kelly on Sinatra: it’s all the same. And nobody is absolved by saying, oh, they should have known that would happen. If you can’t take the heat…

There is nothing shockingly new about the whole thing: it just throws the issue into sharper relief than usual. I remember Dylan shredding a reporter who asked him if he was a “spokesman” for his generation. No. Are you the spokesman for your generation? You actually felt bad for the reporter, but Dylan learned as well: you can’t win that kind of exchange over the long run, no matter how smart or quick you are.

You are never going to go camp out in someone else’s driveway and go through their garbage.

Some of the writers who defended Joyce Maynard for telling all and selling Salinger’s letters to her remark on how Salinger saw her picture and then contacted her by letter and eventually met her, invited her to live with him for nine months, and then dumped her.

They insist Salinger obviously noticed how beautiful she was.

Hardcover Looking back;: A chronicle of growing up old in the sixties Book

With all due respect, looking at the same picture, I think it more likely he was attracted to her mind.

Maynard was raked by some other commentators for having breast implants, then removing them, and writing about the entire experience in Vanity Fair. If Maynard wants you to believe that Salinger was attracted to her because of her looks– I’m not sure she does– and that there was something wrong with that, why the implants?

Dan Rather’s Big Lie

After 50 years, I remain fascinated by a single incident related to the Kennedy Assassination. And I really believe that you may find it as fascinating as I do no matter what you believe about the Kennedy Assassination. Actually, I don’t think that’s true at all, but I don’t care. You should be fascinated by it– it makes no sense. And it makes all the sense in the world.

It was known almost immediately that someone had shot a film of the assassination. In fact, there were several films, but there was only film that captured the essential event in glorious colour, with sharpness, and reasonable proximity: that is the film, of course, shot by clothing merchant, Abraham Zapruder, who was standing on a kind of pagoda with the assistance of his assistant, Marilyn Sitzman. A reporter chatted with Zapruder after the assassination. If you are into conspiracies– and who can resist– you will note that the reporter offered to put Zapruder in contact with a Secret Service Agent, who, we would have assumed, would have loved to have a beautiful, clear, colourful, cinematic souvenir of them all standing on the follow-up car staring at the assassination event.

The Secret Service accompanied Zapruder to a local television station and then to Eastman Kodak’s local processing plant, and then to another processing plant, the Jamieson Film Company, to have some copies made. The Secret Service had a look at this film. And then Richard Stolley, an editor from Life Magazine, amazingly arrived to negotiate with Zapruder for exclusive rights to the film and all prints from the film, for about $150,000. Richard Stolley worked for a man named C. D. Jackson at Time-Life.

C.D. Jackson was a close friend of the CIA, and helped establish the Bilderberg Group. You couldn’t make this shit up. Yes, this guy who had obtained custody of the most compelling evidence of a conspiracy in the Kennedy Assassination worked with the CIA.

We now know it didn’t work, but, if you were the suspicious sort, what this looks like is the conspirators jumping in to make sure that nobody ever sees the evidence that might disprove that Oswald and Oswald alone killed Kennedy, from the 6th Floor the Texas Book Depository, from behind.

I say it did not work. Or it worked better than in their wildest dreams.

Zapruder had a nightmare about people paying to see his film in Times Square. He didn’t mind the paying part. But I guess his nightmare included people being repelled about the idea of him selling frame 313, in which Kennedy’s head explodes. So a condition of sale was that frame 313 could not be shown. He kept his money.

Life Magazine eventually published very poor quality prints taken from the film, but that was all the American public would see of the film for a long, long, long time.

Understandably, there was considerable curiosity about the film. Once it became clear that a “commission” of sterile old fat white men was going to pin the whole thing on a “lone nut” no matter what the evidence was (I’m not sure why they even bothered to hold hearings or examine anything: they disregarded any evidence that opened any doors), there was even more curiosity. One of the central tenets of the Warren Commission’s findings was that all of the shots came from behind, from Oswald’s “sniper’s nest”. But some witnesses and conspiracy theorists didn’t believe Oswald could have fired all of the shots. Some people in Dealey Plaza thought the shots came from the grassy knoll. There was some discussion even at Parkland Hospital about an “entry” wound in the neck, and about the head snapping backwards, and even about an entry wound in the forehead.

In the midst this hot and heavy discussion rode CBS reporter Dan Rather to the rescue. The public was told that, as little children, as tiny, irresponsible, wee little children, they could not be trusted to view the best evidence of who killed their president, but Dan Rather would assume this burden for us, almost like Jesus going on the cross. And so Dan Rather watched the film very, very carefully– this was by far, the biggest news story of the decade, after all, so he wouldn’t want to miss a detail– and then, instead of staying to try to outbid Life Magazine for the film, he ran as fast as he could back to the local CBS affiliate so he could breathlessly report to the American public that the film, indeed, showed Kennedy’s head going violently forward with the impact of the third shot. “Forward and to the right”.

“forward and to the right”

I am still astonished at this. Kennedy’s head, of course, jerked violently backwards, to the left. It’s the most obvious thing about the third shot: backwards and to the left. As if Kennedy might have been shot from the front.

I leave aside the complicated argument that a shot from the rear could have produced that motion.  It is possible, but complicated.

So, Dan Rather, with a chance to be at the center of the biggest news story of the decade, lies to millions of people. Why?

Was it a mistake? Could it be that Dan Rather, for all his fame and all of his promotion and self-promotion, and self-aggrandizement, and posturing, was a complete idiot who couldn’t tell left from right, up from down, or in from out? Could it be that he could not, fifteen minutes later, remember which direction Kennedy’s head was going in when his skull was blown open by a rifle shot, after viewing the most shocking, important 22 second film clip in history?

Did Dan Rather know that the assassination was to be pinned on a lone gunman shooting from above and behind and that all conspiracies were to be excluded? It seems unlikely: Rather saw the film on the day of the assassination. On the other hand, everyone knew, by then, that the suspect had worked in the Texas Book Depository, and I’m sure Rather’s instincts were that the American public needed to be reassured that there was no conspiracy regardless of whether or not there had actually been one. Oswald was in custody. He knew the outlines of the conspiracy. He certainly could have been aware of which conspiracy would be the preferred conspiracy.

But perhaps Dan was already prepared, emotionally and intellectually, to play his role in American politics and culture over the next forty years, that of a superficially liberal journalist, of slight but discernibly progressive inclinations, but fundamentally establishment in orientation and interests. This is someone who might eventually think that Nixon should be impeached, but only after he has observed that all political parties do dirty tricks. This is someone who would become opposed to the Viet Nam war only after every other credible authority has long before switched sides, and then he would try to make it sound like he was being courageous. Rather would observe that peaceniks are naïve, because, after all, real enemies will really resist all our attempts to take all their oil.

It was this kind of faux liberalism that led the New York Times to endorse the Iraq war at the time the Bush Administration was hustling it.

About the Camera

The Camera: a Bell & Howell Zoomatic Director Series Model 414 PD

1960 Bell and Howell Camera DUO Power Zoom Zoomatic its the image 1

Dan, do you wish that, fifty years later, people would just leave it alone? Sorry. You don’t deserve that kind of forgetfulness.

About Mrs. Kennedy

There is another surprise. Rather — accurately, for a change– described, in his first recorded account of the film, how Mrs. Kennedy had tried to get out of the car in the middle of the assassination. The next day, the day after the assassination, CBS decided to have Rather broadcast his experience of the film live again (Rather was being groomed after all). But, they told him, leave out the part about Mrs. Kennedy. It was considered indecorous. America, they said (according to Dan) was not “ready” to absorb the image of the first lady trying not to get shot.

In fact, I still believe Mrs. Kennedy was trying to retrieve part of John Kennedy’s skull, which had been blown off and was slipping down the back of the limo. It was later recovered by a bystander and “returned” to the Secret Service (and flown up to Bethesda to be reunited with the body.)

I am astonished, but then not astonished, at how casually the establishment decides for Americans what they should or should not know. Just astonished. The omission of important information about what happened is bad, bad journalism, dishonest and irresponsible. And it is these same people, these same institutions who turn pale and almost feint when the idea of getting your news through the internet is raised…. unmediated!! You must be mad!

My Theories on Conspiracies

The Magic Bullet