The day after the 50th anniversary…we’re all still here?
You know and I know this case is never going away. It has been almost A HUNDRED AND FIFTY years and the Lincoln case is hot (huge hit movie, Tom Hanks television program, other programs, countless books, etc). Several books on the assassination are best-sellers and many are selling very, very well.
We all thought the dawning of the 21rst century and (especially) 9/11, let alone the 40th anniversary, would see an end to proceedings…never going to happen. Interest in THE KENNEDYS will always be alive, well, and huge (Caroline as Ambassador to Japan, her own son, the extended Kennedy family, best-selling books on JFK’s life, Jackie’s life, etc.).
From an historical standpoint, the JFK assassination is very recent- only 9 presidents ago and (God willing) our last assassinated president (may that never, ever happen again). From an aesthetic point of view (because, remember: perception is reality and appearances count), JFK was our most handsome president, brutally taken from us too soon. The Kennedy story is like a terrific book of triumph and tragedy where the last few chapters were ripped out and discarded: we are all trying to fill in the blanks. Unlike the Lincoln case, JFK and his death are “alive and well” thanks to many digital and analog artifacts- films, photos, videos, sound recordings, etc. etc. etc. Even for people NOT alive (or too young to truly remember), JFK is “Marilyn Monroe”, “Elvis” and “Madonna”: a cultural icon who is (or seems to be) still living thanks to constant media stories, You Tube, and so forth.
And, let’s face it: the December 1991 movie “JFK” recalibrated the assassination for everyone- it will ALWAYS be the best movie ever on his murder, warts and all. For millions ( thanks to reruns, still today), THIS IS the assassination story! Awful, amateur-hour movies like “Killing Kennedy” and “Parkland” are for the trash heap.
Will there be a HUGE media blitz like this again (soon)? Probably not (maybe, maybe at the 75th and 100th; who knows). But you DO know that, every anniversary (even the “off” years starting next year), television will rerun prior productions and, who knows, maybe even some new ones; there is plenty “in the can”, so to speak. As for the critical community, there is plenty to still hang our hats on in the future: the anniversaries of the Warren Commission, the HSCA, the Stone film, and the only-15-year-old ARRB Final Report.
Dealey Plaza and Arlington Cemetery will continue to draw millions per year…new books will still come out and sell…whether reruns or new productions, many tv programs will continue to run…and, last but certainly not least, the limitless library of the internet will continue to flourish.
No one is going anywhere.