One of the things November 22 changed was my wedding: we were scheduled to get married on November 22, 1980, until I protested that I did not want to have the anniversary of what was going to be one of the happiest days of my life coincide with one of the most traumatic days in my childhood, and in the nation’s history.
On this date in 1963, John Fitzgerald Kennedy, the 35th president of the United States, was assassinated while traveling through Dallas, Texas, in an open-top convertible. Kennedy was, in some ways, the opposite of Donald Trump, a youthful, inspiring, charismatic President who radiated promise and good will, and who seemed poised to lead a united and vibrant America into the second half of the 20th Century. It was all hype: JFK’s was the ultimate “golden dancer presidency” even before Barack Obama. As P.J. O’Roarke writes this week in Commentary, Kennedy “was a man of no abiding political principles, a plagiaristic pseudo-intellectual, a liar about his health and fitness, and a gross philanderer. But, it turns out, he also wasn’t a very nice guy.” Yet he made the nation feel good, optimistic, excited about the future. His sudden death was shattering and transforming in ways, I would argue, even 9/11 couldn’t match.
The previous assassination had occurred when McKinley was shot, leading us into the era of Teddy Roosevelt and Progressivism. Kennedy’s death made the U.S. lurch into the Vietnam era, campus activism, civil rights protests, Richard Nixon and Watergate, and the drugs, sex and cynicism of the Sixties. They might be listening to more boring music in the multiverse where JFK lived to a ripe old age, but I’d take my chances with it.
Talk about an ethics train wreck! Gross incompetence allowed Kennedy to be vulnerable to a sniper that day. The Dallas police let Jack Ruby shoot and kill Lee Harvey Oswald on live TV. The official Warren Commission report of 1964 concluded that neither Oswald nor Ruby were part of a larger conspiracy to assassinate President Kennedy, but few believed it, and irresponsible conspiracy-mongers from Jim Garrison to Oliver Stone were able to exploit the giant holes in the report to plant a cancer of suspicion and distrust that has thoroughly metastasized. In 1978 Congress issued a “preliminary report” that Kennedy was “probably assassinated as a result of a conspiracy” that may have involved multiple shooters and organized crime.
That was one magic lugee.
1. And while we are on the topic of cult figures who died tragically…Netflix’s “The Crown” has revived all-matters-Diana, and now the BBC has reopened an inquiry into how journalist Martin Bashir arranged his sensational interview with the late Princess in which she openly attacked the Royal family and Prince Charles. A two-part documentary that aired on the British network ITV on last week included allegations that Bashir used dishonest tactics to earn Diana’s trust and persuade her to tell tales “out of school” with candor unprecedented in Royal Family history.
The documentary claims that Bashir used doctored bank statements to convince Diana that royal employees were being paid to spy on her.The British Broadcasting Corporation, which originally aired the interview on its “Panorama” program, announced that it would open an independent investigation into the allegations.
Martin Bashir? Where have I heard that name before? Oh, right, now I remember. He was the MSNBC host who had to resign after saying on the air that someone should shit in Sarah Palin’s mouth. But surely someone like that would never use unethical tactics to get the scoop interview of the century…
2. Remember, Biden fans, this is the America you voted for…The Duke Panhellenic Association , which “unites women across 10 chapters” of various sororities and is the “largest unified body of undergraduate women at Duke University,” voted to ban chapters of member sororities from hosting “mixers” with all-male organizations. A post on the Duke Panhellenic Association’s Instagram page says this measure is designed “to focus on women’s empowerment” since all-male organizations “cause concern” due to gender dynamics and the objectification of women. In other words, boys…
3. And this is why there will be no lockdown, shouldn’t be a lockdown, and why anyone who submits to a lockdown is a gullible, submissive fool whom our forbears would spit on, and justifiably so.
Just days after New York’s Governor Cuomo ordered New Yorkers to limit private gatherings to no more than 10 people as part of new Wahan virus restrictions, photos of a party for Carlo Scissura, head of the powerful construction trade organization New York Building Congress, showed revelers in close quarters without masks. “This is a particularly trying time and there were shortcomings that I regret,” Scissura said in a statement. “I greatly appreciate the gesture of my friends to throw me a surprise party, but we all must follow strict protocols so we can get past this pandemic.”
Right. Attendees included Deputy Brooklyn Borough President Ingrid Lewis-Martin and former Brooklyn Democratic Party Chairman Frank Seddio.
One photo shows about two dozen people mingling with one another in an ornate dining area. Only two of them are visibly wearing masks. Another shows a dozen people crammed in the same dining area, with just one person wearing a mask.
Our political leaders are hypocrites who are using the pandemic to exercise social control and to abuse their power. They have forfeited all credibility.
4. And now for something completely strange…this:
Thirteen-year-old Kayla Carle, of Aberdeen, Scotland suffered from cystic fibrosis, and woke up from a coma after catching the flu last year. She was confined to a wheelchair, and after several months, died as a result of another infection and lung damage.
“In Loving Memory Of Kayla Leanne Carle,” her epitaph reads. “C.F. Warrior … Beloved Daughter, Sister, Granddaughter, Niece, Cousin & Friend. Rip Babe.” A photo on her headstone at the Hazlehead Cemetery shows the teen flipping the bird at, oh, who knows? Her fate, the cosmos, the world, the illness that killed her. It’s a gesture of defiance.
Incredibly, the town’s City Council contacted the family and said someone had complained that the photo was offensive, and equally incredibly, the Council suggested that it be removed.
One person complained? So what? By what tortured logic does a stranger have the standing to protest my gravestone? What gives a government body any authority to harass a citizen about how it chooses to remember and honor a dead child?
This isn’t even a civility controversy. Nobody has any justification for being “offended” by a stranger’s headstone. This is why autonomy is an ethical value. Stop trying to control the conduct of others when it has no conceivable relationship to you or society.
Particularly when those others are dead children.