Contributor Post Created with Sketch. I’m Sick of Hearing about JFK

 

I know, Friday is the 50th anniversary of President Kennedy’s assassination. It was a pivotal moment in many people’s lives. It changed the course of the 1960s and cruelly cut short the young life of a charismatic politician.

Got it.

It is impolitic to say, if not downright rude, but I am sick of hearing about John F. Kennedy.

When JFK is mentioned on cable news, I jump for the remote. When he’s on a supermarket magazine cover, I swing to the latest checkout-line Kardashiana. A blog’s new conspiracy theory? Off to a different website.

Born in the late ’60s, I have been subjected to the Kennedy myth my whole life. My Democratic mom chose my name in part to honor the 35th president and was horrified that my delivery date was right around Nov. 22. (Luckily for both of us, I was hatched the day before.) I can understand the deeper personal connection for Irish and Catholic Americans, but we were lowly Finnish Lutherans.

I grew up assuming Kennedy’s accomplishments ranked somewhere between Lincoln and Jesus, but the more I read, the more that view faded. He seemed a nice enough bloke: charming, educated and blessed with a photogenic family. But the Bay of Pigs, the Cuban missile crisis, and his modest list of successes hardly merited hagiography. And let’s not even mention his horrifying private life.

In retrospect, Kennedy seems a more palatable Democrat than today’s crop of progs. He was anti-Communist, pro-Israel and suspicious of high taxes. He also said the right things about civil rights, though few actions followed.

Considering all the facts, why does Kennedy have such a hold on the American imagination? Why does America need to see story after story, book after book, film after film about a guy who was only in office for two-and-a-half years?

I don’t believe that 1951 was filled with movies on William McKinley’s assassination while Killing McKinley raced up bestseller lists. Some say that JFK’s death was the Boomer version of 9-11, but we don’t even see video of that dark day let alone detailed retrospectives.

Am I just being a grumpy Gen X-er or is the JFK worship completely overboard?

JFK portrait via thatsmymopShutterstock.com

There are 74 comments.

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  1. Profile Photo Member

    Great headline. As I’m sick of reading about him, I stopped there. I’ll also probably skip the NR cover story and read it when I’m less inundated with JFK-related articles.

    • #1
    • November 20, 2013, at 2:08 AM PST
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  2. Colin B Lane Member

    I was born in 1959, and my first reasonably sentient memory is of my mother crying during his televised funeral procession. That’s the kind of thing you never forget.

    I agree the remembrances are over the top and have been for a long time. They will end some day — but not until all of us boomers are dead and gone.

    Sorry Jon, but you’ll be an old man then.

    • #2
    • November 20, 2013, at 2:11 AM PST
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  3. Matthew Inactive

    I still don’t get WFB’s reverence for him. Perhaps that changed in his later years as a more complete picture of JFK’s true character came to light?

    • #3
    • November 20, 2013, at 2:13 AM PST
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  4. Spin Coolidge
    Spin Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    My dad was in his late teens, early 20s when Kennedy was president and ultimately killed. He was also very interested in politics and has always followed what’s going on. He also happens to be Catholic.

    But his comment regarding Kennedy might answer your question. I’ve heard him say it a thousand times if I’ve heard him say it once: “All Kennedy did was get shot.” The point being that if he hadn’t gotten shot, he’d be just another former President.

    • #4
    • November 20, 2013, at 2:14 AM PST
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  5. Shawn Buell, Jeopardy Champ! Contributor

    JFK’s list of accomplishments while in office (as near as I can tell) include double-crossing allies of this country, almost getting us all killed in an apocalyptic war and banging some interns while being high on amphetamines and codeine.

    In short, Bill Clinton’s dream Presidency.

    • #5
    • November 20, 2013, at 2:14 AM PST
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  6. FloppyDisk90 Member

    … is the JFK worship completely overboard?

    Yes.

    Why does America need to see story after story, book after book, film after film about a guy who was only in office for two-and-a-half years?

    Because more so than any other political figure he was the symbol of the progressive’s ideal of the perfectability of mankind and the great utopian project. The fact that he cheated on his wife with Marilyn Monroe was just icing on the cake.

    • #6
    • November 20, 2013, at 2:16 AM PST
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  7. Peter Meza Member
    Peter Meza Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    CHRIS WALLACE, HOST: I want to pick up on something that Bob and George said, and that is, that I think a fair reading of history would be that President Kennedy’s promise exceeded his accomplishments, and perhaps, the most resonant thing was in fact his death. Why do people 50 years later care so much?

    BRIT HUME: I think he was the coolest president we ever had. He was just a cool guy and therefore, appealing.

    WALLACE: If you look at the pictures of him that we’re running, he’s impossibly glamorous.

    HUME: Yes. No question. I think, however, that despite the thinness of the record that you just mentioned, that George mentioned, he has been the subject of the most successful public relations campaign in political history. The notion that he was a great president, indeed, perhaps, in some surveys he’s been listed the greatest president, is really a remarkable testament to the ability of those who have so admired him and others to have built this man’s legend, and it is a legend bordering, I think, on myth.

    Read more: http://newsbusters.org

    • #7
    • November 20, 2013, at 2:17 AM PST
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  8. Marion Evans Inactive

    Hey I like lowly Finnish Lutherans. Eero Saarinen, Mika Hakkinen etc.

    I thought all Finnish men had names like Joona Koskinen or something like that.

    • #8
    • November 20, 2013, at 2:18 AM PST
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  9. quodlibet Member

    Completely overboard.

    You need to turn off your TV and stay away from lefty and mainstream news sites. Stick to conservative columnists like Peggy Noonan. Oh wait…

    Oh well, Happy Birthday.

    • #9
    • November 20, 2013, at 2:18 AM PST
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  10. Podkayne of Israel Member

    I have reason to believe that I am personally responsible for the death of Lee Harvey Oswald. My mother and I were watching TV together, and they brought out Oswald on camera.”Who is that man, Mommy?”, I asked.”He just shot the President.””Well, somebody should shoot *him* then”, I responded, and then, BLAM!Coincidence? I don’t think so.

    • #10
    • November 20, 2013, at 2:19 AM PST
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  11. doc molloy Inactive

    This gets airbrushed out of history.. JFK and the seeds of disaster in Vietnam

    “Lodge and the journalists he relied on for information—particularly David Halberstam and Neil Sheehan —believed that replacing Diem with a more liberal regime would placate critics and bolster the war effort. Lodge dismissed the advice of knowledgeable Americans, such as his predecessor, Frederick Nolting, who emphasized Diem’s strengths and warned that liberalization would play into the enemy’s hands.”

    • #11
    • November 20, 2013, at 2:20 AM PST
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  12. Damocles Inactive

    I lived in the Dallas area for many years. One of the unexpected benefits of moving away was not hearing about the assassination ALL YEAR ROUND.

    OCTF: Lee Harvey Oswald went to my high school!

    • #12
    • November 20, 2013, at 2:20 AM PST
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  13. Shawn Buell, Jeopardy Champ! Contributor
    Peter Meza: 

    BRIT HUME: I think he was the coolest president we ever had. He was just a cool guy and therefore, appealing.

    WALLACE: If you look at the pictures of him that we’re running, he’s impossibly glamorous.

    I threw up in my mouth a little bit when I watched this on Sunday Morning.

    I couldn’t help but think that history (especially the attraction to “cool” which was all the rage in 2008) is stuck on an endless loop.

    • #13
    • November 20, 2013, at 2:22 AM PST
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  14. Troy Senik Contributor
    FloppyDisk90

    Why does America need to see story after story, book after book, film after film about a guy who was only in office for two-and-a-half years?

    Because more so than any other political figure he was the symbol of the progressive’s ideal of the perfectability of mankind and the great utopian project.

    Totally agree and I’d add one observation to that: the fact of his death is central to preserving the myth. The fact that Kennedy didn’t live long enough to disappoint the expectations secured his canonization. As we’re seeing today, the cauldron of reality can destroy the romance with impressive efficiency. 

    • #14
    • November 20, 2013, at 2:23 AM PST
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  15. Done Contributor

    I completely agree Jon. I forgot this one in the unpopular opinions thread.

    • #15
    • November 20, 2013, at 2:23 AM PST
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  16. Marion Evans Inactive
    BrentB67: We have gone so far off the rails that the county government offices, all of which are headquartered 1-2 blocks from the plaza are shutting down for an entire week for celebrations, remembrances, and I think a re-enactment.

    I am all for less government, but the County actually does things that matter to those of us living here. · in 3 minutes

    Seriously, a re-enactment? Seems in poor taste.

    • #16
    • November 20, 2013, at 2:24 AM PST
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  17. Nat Brooks Inactive

    I was lucky -I think- to grow up in a house that absolutely detested the Kennedy’s. ‘Pappa Joe was a bootlegger and con-man’ … ‘JFK did nothing’ … ‘Bobbie needed to zip his mouth and his pants’ … ‘Ted’s motto should be a blond in every pond’ You get the picture. So I thought the American Experience piece was pretty well balanced.

    Also, it’s nice to see liberals faced with the fact that Jack was really an habitual conservative … and be reminded that it was a COMMUNIST who shot him.

    But other than that, yes, let’s stop talking about him. Or at least let’s take a 50 year breather until the next big anniversary!

    • #17
    • November 20, 2013, at 2:26 AM PST
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  18. BrentB67 Inactive

    We have gone so far off the rails that the county government offices, all of which are headquartered 1-2 blocks from the plaza are shutting down for an entire week for celebrations, remembrances, and I think a re-enactment.

    I am all for less government, but the County actually does things that matter to those of us living here.

    • #18
    • November 20, 2013, at 2:26 AM PST
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  19. Kevin Creighton Contributor

    It wasn’t only Kennedy that died in Dallas, it was the dream of competent American liberalism that died as well, the idea government could be run by “The Best And The Brightest”. 

    Note I said “dream”. 

    After that, American liberals have had to put up with liars (Johnson), rubes (Carter), narcissists (Clinton) or all three (Obama) as President. 

    And yes, I’m tired of it too. 

    He was anti-Communist, pro-Israel and suspicious of high taxes.

    And a Life Member of the NRA as well.

    • #19
    • November 20, 2013, at 2:26 AM PST
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  20. flownover Member

    Whatever he was, the subsequent antics of his relatives have firmly besmirched the family name. 

    • #20
    • November 20, 2013, at 2:27 AM PST
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  21. BrentB67 Inactive
    Marion Evans
    BrentB67: We have gone so far off the rails that the county government offices, all of which are headquartered 1-2 blocks from the plaza are shutting down for an entire week for celebrations, remembrances, and I think a re-enactment.

    I am all for less government, but the County actually does things that matter to those of us living here. · in 3 minutes

    Seriously, a re-enactment? Seems in poor taste. · 3 minutes ago

    Like Jon, I switch the radio when they are talking about this stuff, but I think I heard that correctly.

    • #21
    • November 20, 2013, at 2:30 AM PST
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  22. Fricosis Guy Listener

    The points below are why I don’t mind the reminders. Let’s not mistake what was done in his name with what he actually did (or more properly, did not do).

    Let’s also not forget that he actually spent the night in the hospital for his Purple Heart.

    Nat Brooks: Also, it’s nice to see liberals faced with the fact that Jack was really an habitual conservative … and be reminded that it was a COMMUNIST who shot him.
    • #22
    • November 20, 2013, at 2:32 AM PST
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  23. Profile Photo Member

    Basically, my take is the Kennedy presidency is a lot like the Obama Presidency pre-Nov 2010. It’s an empty vessel for the libs to fill up with all their hopes and aspirations, the more implausible the better. Since we don’t know how it would have turned out, it’s all rainbows, unicorns and Camelot. LBJ’s disastrous legacy (an incompetently conducted war and a burgeoning welfare state at home) shows what the messy details of actual Democratic Party governance look like. 

    • #23
    • November 20, 2013, at 2:34 AM PST
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  24. EJHill Podcaster
    EJHill Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    I wrote about the coverage last night:

    In the development of modern broadcast journalism two events stand out above all others. June 6, 1944 was the day that radio news came of age and nineteen years later, on November 22, 1963 the nation learned to turn to television for live coverage of unfolding events.

    The rest of the post is buried* here.

    *I’m finding that posting somewhere between 11p and 1a PT is like putting your thoughts in the witness protection program.

    • #24
    • November 20, 2013, at 2:42 AM PST
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  25. Profile Photo Member
    Marion Evans: Hey I like lowly Finnish Lutherans. Eero Saarinen, Mika Hakkinen etc.

    I thought all Finnish men had names like Joona Koskinen or something like that. · 26 minutes ago

    Edited 23 minutes ago

    Finnish on my mom’s side. My dad prevented me from being named something like Eero Teppohakolainen.

    • #25
    • November 20, 2013, at 2:47 AM PST
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  26. tabula rasa Member
    tabula rasa Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Totally agree. If we’re going to engage in hero worship of a president from that era, what about Ike? He accomplished far more than JFK as president, and that doesn’t even account for his rather distinguished pre-presidency career.

    • #26
    • November 20, 2013, at 2:48 AM PST
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  27. Fricosis Guy Listener

    I hear this parallel a lot, but I don’t see it.

    By March of 2010 Obama had subjected the American people to a massive expansion of the budget and Obamacare. Kennedy never proposed or passed anything as fundamental transformational.

    Paul Wilson: Basically, my take is the Kennedy presidency is a lot like the Obama Presidency pre-Nov 2010.
    • #27
    • November 20, 2013, at 2:52 AM PST
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  28. Profile Photo Member
    tabula rasa: Totally agree. If we’re going to engage in hero worship of a president from that era, what about Ike? He accomplished far more than JFK as president, and that doesn’t even account for his rather distinguished pre-presidency career. · 4 minutes ago

    Amen to that.

    • #28
    • November 20, 2013, at 2:52 AM PST
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  29. Fricosis Guy Listener

    As much as I think conservatives get ahistorical about JFK, I’ll gladly join the choir likin’ Ike.

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.
    tabula rasa: Totally agree. If we’re going to engage in hero worship of a president from that era, what about Ike? He accomplished far more than JFK as president, and that doesn’t even account for his rather distinguished pre-presidency career. · 4 minutes ago

    Amen to that. · 4 minutes ago

    • #29
    • November 20, 2013, at 2:59 AM PST
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  30. EJHill Podcaster
    EJHill Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member
    tabula rasa: …what about Ike?

    I had a history teacher that pointed out to the class that the Bay of Pigs operation was planned under the Eisenhower Administration but drastically altered by Kennedy and Robert McNamara. Only fools would think they could take a plan devised by the man who invaded Hitler’s Fortress Europa and think they could change it and make it better.

    • #30
    • November 20, 2013, at 2:59 AM PST
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