Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Face it, you liberals - JFK was no saint, and he was killed by a commie

The History Channel is broadcasting the first of four installments of a new $25m miniseries, The Kennedys, on Thursday, 7th April at 9pm. (It’s due to be shown on BBC 2 later in the year.)

The series, created by the unashamedly conservative Joel Surnow - the man behind 24 - was due to air on America’s History Channel, but they turned it down after viewing it, rapidly followed by a number of other broadcasters.  In the States, a number of Kennedy-worshippers in the media and academia have lambasted it for its supposed historical inaccuracies  - but Surnow suspects it’s because it isn’t the standard JFK hagiography. From the trailers, it certainly seems that Kennedy’s father Joe - played by the excellent Tom Wilkinson - comes in for some real stick (for instance, sounding like the gangster he was, he tells his boys “The world is ours for the taking”).

It may turn out to be a crock, but I can’t resist watching something that America’s liberal media elite has been doing its damnedest to suppress.

I was playing with the Lego set I’d just been given for my 11th birthday when I heard that Kennedy had been shot. (I can’t, however, remember what I was doing when I first heard someone ask someone else what they were doing when they heard that Kennedy had been shot.) I knew a bit about JFK because I’d been on a tour of the BBC News studios in Glasgow during the Cuban missile crisis the previous year, and I also remember arguing with a friend’s mother who had announced – with the sort of blithe smugness that often characterises spectacularly stupid remarks by liberals – that Kruschev and Kennedy were just silly little boys playing with toy weapons. 

It’s turning out to be a heavy Kennedy week on the History Channel. There was a superb programme on at the weekend - the 2009 documentary, The Lost JFK Tapes, which told the story of the assassination from the arrival of the President and First Lady in Dallas on the day itself to LBJ’s inaugural Presidential Address to Congress. It uses nothing but contemporary footage and stills, and there’s no narrative voice-over or interviews with historians.

It’s a stunning programme: confused, raw and emotional, it gives one a sense of what it must have been like to be an American watching the whole thing unfold on TV. Two things stand out: how rich the average American looked then compared to Europeans at the time (that’s all changed, thanks to decades of the kind of policies Kennedy would have approved of) – and how quick the people of Dallas were to blame their own city for the assassination, and how quick Americans were to blame their country.  Blaming the Yankee or Texan zeitgeist has always struck me as an odd reaction, given that the President’s killer was a pro-Castro communist sufficiently committed to effectively defect and live in Moscow for a while, and to bring a Russian wife home with him.

Why were so few people at the time willing to blame the Soviet Union in particular, and communism in general? Far as I can see, it’s because, from the moment the first shot was fired, US liberals were busy constructing alternative narratives that matched their own world-view rather than the facts. They were distraught that their God-King had been struck down, and were determined to blame right-wingers – any right-winger – rather than the commie who actually did the deed. After all, they’d spent the past decade jeering at the Right for its anti-communist paranoia. Meekly accepting that a rabid Red had just offed their idol would have meant admitting that the ignorant, redneck, racist warmongers they so despised had been right all along. Unthinkable!

A smokescreen of counterfactual theories was rapidly created to  obscure the truth. Oswald was a patsy, as he claimed after his arrest - he hadn’t been involved in any way. The killing had been carried out by a double, who shot Kennedy and then killed a policeman before disappearing, leaving the hapless Oswald to take the rap. Dallas bar-owner Jack Ruby had been paid by the Mob to kill Oswald and cover up the conspiracy. Oswald was really a double agent, pretending to be a communist. Oswald had been brainwashed by the CIA. Photographs of Oswald holding a gun had been doctored to make him look like a killer in the making. In reality, Oswald was a lousy shot… etc etc.

Next, some right-wingers had to be found to take the blame. No problem! Organised Crime (specifically Sam Giancana) working in league with disaffected CIA agents (or the CIA itself) and anti-Castro Cuban exile groups and Texas Oil Barons and (probably) LBJ himself, and Marilyn Monroe (even though she was already dead)… hell, it was hard to think of anyone who wasn’t involved in the plot!  After all, these people all had reasons to loathe either JFK, who had refused to provide air cover for the Bay of Pigs invasion when the Mob wanted to gets its sweaty paws on Havana once more, or Robert Kennedy, who, as Attorney General, was giving the Mafia a hard time. 

I must have read a dozen books full of theories like this (including a 650-page doorstop about how Kennedy’s corpse had been mutilated to support the lone gunman theory by covering up wounds caused by bullets fired from the grassy knoll).  I lapped this stuff up for years – even though, deep down, I knew it was all nonsense.

I think it was Oliver Stone’s 1991 movie, JFK, that finally persuaded me to get real – it may have been the sight of Tommy Lee Jones in a camp role (I), but it was more likely Occam’s Razor coming into play. Ultimately, it would be easier to believe in the tooth fairy than to accept the farrago of nonsense delivered up by Crazy Ollie. I simply applied the law of succinctness and decided enough was enough.

One weird, miserable, inadequate, left-wing prick murdered John F. Kennedy. It wasn’t the CIA. It wasn’t Organised Crime. It wasn’t anti-Castro Cubans. I’m pretty sure it wasn’t you or me. And I’m absolutely certain it had nothing whatsoever to do with the hatred and blood-lust which, according to the Liberal Left’s febrile collective imagination, invariably poisons American politics whenever a Democrat occupies the White House, and some people don’t agree with him. The most recent example of this sort of tosh followed the shooting of Democrat Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords in Arizona in January - Pima County’s liberal Sheriff blamed it on Republican vitriol: “The anger, the hatred, the bigotry that goes on in this country is getting to be outrageous. And unfortunately, Arizona, I think, has become the capital. We have become the mecca for prejudice and bigotry.” 

Turned out to have nothing to do with politics, of course - but Sheriff Clarence Dupnik had already decided it was the fault of all those mean Republican Obama-haters. Because, you see, when right-wingers disagree with liberals like Obama and Kennedy, they’re evil people inciting violence - but when liberals disagree with dirty fascists like Reagan and Dubya, it’s righteousness in action!

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