Wednesday, November 27, 2013

I Shot JFK

With the anniversary of Kennedy's death, Americans once again have the opportunity to engage in the most cherished of national pastimes - obsessing over the minutiae of an elaborate fantasy, rather than engage with the real world...

It's gotten to the point that it doesn't matter what "really happened" or what little bits of trivia might be revealed by the unsealing of sixty year old files now that everyone involved has died of old age. Assassination Conspiracy has had decades to germinate and is now its own culture so facts no longer matter - as demonstrated most recently by 9/11 Truthers. What does matter is the sense of group identity, the sense of purpose in facing a common enemy, and - most important to the common American mind! - the sense of being one of the few who know the truth of things. Being one of the elect.

At this point, any further information released on JFK will only serve to bolster the conspiracy theories. Even photo evidence of Oswald firing from the book depository will be determined to be deliberate disinformation, a conscious act by The Government to dispel the conspiracy theories and thereby be another piece of evidence in their favor!

That's the beauty of conspiracy theories - they can never be proven wrong. Any and all disconnected bits of information can be cobbled together as evidence, while anything to the contrary is clearly planted by some shadowy cabal, so terrified of the lone dweeb posting The Truth on a web forum. It's a power fantasy for the utterly powerless.

But let's say for the sake of argument that Oswald didn't do it. Does that imply a wide ranging conspiracy of Cubans, mobsters, the military-industrial complex, and gay orgies? Does it imply Jack Ruby killed Oswald to maintain some elaborate facade, only to die himself so as to tie up all possible loose ends? Or does it merely imply that the US Government can tremendously screw up?

We're talking about the same institution that has been forced to exonerate hundreds of people convicted on shoddy, sometimes falsified evidence. An institution that has twice occupied foreign countries when there was absolutely no strategic reason for doing so. An institution collectively dumb enough to grant Ted Cruz a salary.

And the thing is, it wouldn't be that surprising if Oswald really had nothing to do with it. Not because of that old "back and to the left" joke - perpetuated by people who don't understand ballistics and don't want to - but because 1) It was a very poor angle from the depository and 2) Connolly and the rest of the car were hit by a lot of bullets. Just as a basic understanding of ballistics makes Kennedy's death throes understandable, so does it stretch credulity that all those other holes were made by a single slug.

But again, all that really implies is "some other guy or guys got away with it." That premise does not naturally lead to military-industrial-orgies, no matter what Alex Jones tells you. But acknowledging that as an unknown - and an unknown of which you have no power over, because you're not special - is a terrifying prospect to a culture as systemically narcissistic as America. And it's why, even sixty years later, we're all still stuck on that grassy knoll.

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