Saturday, November 23, 2013

On The Fiftieth Anniversary Of The JFK Assassination

Somewhere in late adolescence and into early adulthood I underwent a crisis of perception. It dawned on me that most people most of the time do not concern themselves with truth. They prefer comforting thought to objective reasoning.

The battle between comfort and truth is played out in our heads constantly on a personal, political and abstract plane. The comfort vs. truth attribute is matter of degree, not kind. Few of us are rational all of the time. Few of us live in a fantasy all of the time.

T v C could be expressed as a continuum, much as we express one's introversion or extroversion as a matter of degree. I am not aware of any test or questionnaire to determine one's attraction to truth for truth's sake. When such test is devised, rest assured Obama supporters will cluster on the left side of the Bell Curve. Obama supporters are phobic about examining their leader's true nature for fear that such insight will destroy their transcendentally-themed fantasy.

I see parallels between Obama supporters and the public's treatment of the JFK assassination. Most people's opinions have defaulted to media consensus. Most people do not care to dive into that rabbit hole and as such their shallow opinions reflect the dogma of media orthodoxy.

The JFK assassination started a trend of credibility erosion that continues to this day. Each year, fewer people support the incumbent news media. We are witnessing a half century of decline and yet, the fourth estate is still the most persuasive institution in America. To understand this, we have to recognize the Olympian powers the news media wielded in 1963.

 I was what the marketing pros would call an "early adopter" in the rejection of the mainstream media. I believed that people should embrace truth at all cost and the news media should tell the truth. Instead, they verified comforting thoughts. In those days the media was not overtly leftist. They promoted a bias for simplicity and a constant preference for the path of lesser resistance. I was drawn to the JFK assassination because I thought the media were cowards who let their cowardice occlude truth at every turn.

The earliest heretics were leftists like Mark Lane. They started with the premise that the military-industrial complex was the source of all evil and proceeded from there. One of the problems with this viewpoint is that requires the re-invention of JFK. In real life John Fitzgerald Kennedy was a proud supporter of the MIC. He was a component of the MIC. This notion that he would have spent his days stuffing daisies into gun barrels is simply not consistent with his track record.

Over time other suspects emerged. Congress opened the House Select Committee on Assassinations in 1976. More enigmas. More paradoxes. More mysteries. More riddles. Then Oliver Stone released "JFK" in 1991. It is amazing how a movie can open up the public discourse in a way that all of the commissions and committees and hearings never can.

I dislike Oliver Stone almost as much as I loathe his movies. I don't agree with the premise of "JFK" that the MIC in conjunction with LBJ killed the president. Jim Garrison, the hero played by Kevin Costner was accused of being a Marcello pawn in real life. And yet, I loved this movie.

I loved "JFK" because it challenged media orthodoxy. Stone is no hero but he was temporarily heroic. Briefly, he joined the fifth estate. For his efforts Stone would be stalked and ridiculed. The press had become a main character in the story.

We have heard of the thin blue line, the Mafia's omerta and other codes of silence. The CIA and FBI keep secrets long after the principals in question have gone to their graves. Every institution protects its members from cads who tell stories "out of school." But no institution is as protective of its image and its secrets quite like the American news media.

Members of the fourth estate do not report on or question their club members. They might give a Howard Kurtz an hour a week to toss bean bags but even Kurtz ends up on Fox News, an illegitimate gate crasher network. It might be long ago and far away but club members will never challenge Cronkite and friends. It won't happen.

I believe it was "The Washington Post" who procured a copy of the "JFK" script prior to its release. They did not feel the need to do this for "Platoon" or "Wall Street" but those movies were not about them. About two years after "JFK", "Case Closed" by Gerald Posner seemingly fell out of the sky.

Who the hell was Gerald Posner? I read the book and it was highly insulting. Posner's tone is condescending and he just does not do much refuting. People are silly for believing that which is not media sanctioned. Case closed.

The counter-heresy movement was bolstered by Vincent Bugliosi's "Reclaiming History" in 2007. For better or worse, it was released after I stopped reading books on the subject so I cannot criticize it. I will admit that I am suspicious, however.

I got interrupted as I was writing this yesterday (Friday. It is Saturday as I finish this piece.) and then last night I watched a two hour History Channel special. Robert Blakey summarized the saga by comparing the JFK  assassination to a Rorshack ink blot. Thanks for hijacking my thoughts, Mr. Blakey.

Truth is, we see ourselves in this tragedy and we use this event to confirm our prejudices. Peaceniks blame the military. "Mother Jones" types blame big oil. Northerners blame Texans. Bush haters blame the 41st president. The counter-heresy pundits believe in the sanctity of the orthodox media and view all other viewpoints as naive, kooky and illegitimate. Comforting thought once more weighs heavier than truth.

I would like to think I am above the prejudice when I support the Mafia hypothesis. I have asked myself if I find this viewpoint attractive because it invalidates the media-sanctioned viewpoint. Yes, I am skeptical of a news media that will not break ranks on JFK or Barack Obama. A news cartel that goes to great lengths to discredit their critics be they Glenn Beck or Rush Limbaugh or Oliver Stone. A news cartel whose loyalty to the political class is exceeded only by their loyalty to their fellow newsmen.

I would not encourage anyone to adopt the JFK assassination as a hobby. It is too alluring, too addictive, and usually ends in destitution, frustration, loneliness and futility. But I caution everyone to be wary of those who endorse the media-sanctioned, case closed orthodoxy. These are the same people who advise against looking into the secrets of Barack Obama. The media have everything under control. Nothing to see here folks.

The only thing more mysterious than the death of John Fitzgerald Kennedy is the life of Barack Hussein Obama.  Unfortunately we will not learn much about either subject in the mainstream media.

No comments: