Dallas' Quest to Keep the 50th Anniversary of JFK's Death "Classy" Will Fail, and Fail Hard

Categories: Schutze

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Let's be clear about this. Old, rich keep-a-lid-on-it Dallas is not going to rule next year's 50th anniversary observations of the Kennedy killing in Dealey Plaza. No matter what it takes.

The official City of Dallas JFK Assassination 50th Anniversary Celebration Committee, named in a story this morning in the official government newspaper, will be made up almost entirely of rich, fancy-pantsy, old people determined to keep a lid on it.

The Morning News quotes Mayor Mike Rawlings:

"The objective is to send the simple message to all that are outside the city, throughout the world, that the citizens of Dallas honor the life and legacy of JFK," Rawlings said. "Tone is very important: serious, respectful, understated. We want it to be very classy. We want to ensure there is zero commercialization of this event."

Whose objective? What message? Who died and made you Elvis?

Commercialization? You mean they're going to shut down the official JFK assassination coffee shop across the street from Dealey Plaza where my brother visiting from San Francisco almost blew lunch when he looked up from his cappuccino and saw the Zapruder film playing on the wall in an endless loop? Don't think so. Makin' too much money on that sucker.

You mean they're going to shut down the big gift shop on the first floor of the Book Depository Building where you can buy coffee table books about Jackie Kennedy's clothes? Oh, no, no, no.

That's all part of the official commercialization reflecting the official version of things as expressed by the Sixth Floor Assassination Museum. That version is: "Dallas didn't do it. Let's talk about Jackie's clothes, instead."

That's classy?

I can tell you exactly what the "commercialization" reference is. Robert Groden. They want to shut down Groden's book and video sales in Dealey Plaza.

Groden is an assassination conspiracy theorist. Some of the stuff he sells is gross. But he's also a best-selling author and serious person. And, by the way, the Kennedy assassination was gross. Very gross.

Dallas has already tossed Groden in jail and ticketed him many many times, all of which has been thrown out by local judges as clearly illegal. I would argue that tossing an author in jail because you don't like what he has to say is gross. Very gross.

Accompanying Scott Parks' story about the City of Dallas Assassination Celebration Committee is a long list of members, almost all of whom are usual-suspect aging money-bags. Who in the hell thought that this kind of important and very controversial moment in history should be put into the control of aging money-bags?

I can tell you who. The aging money-bags. There isn't a doubt I my mind that this gang -- the same people who have tried to keep a lid on this story in Dallas from the day it happened -- pushed themselves on the mayor and insisted they be given carte blanche to control the 50th next year.

Well, guess what. This day doesn't belong to them. Dealey Plaza doesn't belong to them. Decisions about commercialization or tone or being "classy" don't belong to them.

The 50th belongs to history and to free speech. In America, history and speech cannot be controlled by money-bags. That point will be made powerfully and very, very visibly at Dealey Plaza on Nov. 22, 2013.

I have been corresponding with an informal steering committee of people determined to keep Dealey Plaza free on the 50th. They will converge here from all over the world on that day. I believe these people will meet every effort at control and censorship, measure for measure, with the appropriate resistance. Every cop, taser, fire hose or paddy wagon sent to Dealey Plaza on that day to keep a lid on things will be taken as a challenge and an invitation.

There's a way to do this. Get the money-bags committee way, way the hell out of the way. Back the hell off. You do your thing. Other people will do theirs. Let it flow. Leave it free.
Otherwise, we can change the name of Dealey Plaza to the OK Corral.



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72 comments
kenny44
kenny44

Ultimately people will decide for themselves how they wish to remember the events of Nov 22 1963 and the sad fact that 50 years have elapsed and the truth of exactly what went down and who was responsible is as clouded today as back then. That to my mind is the tragedy that should not be allowed to be forgotten and not red herrings such as Grodens tax arrangements which is between him and the Government and not relevant to the issue of the assassination itself.

Phil Dragoo
Phil Dragoo

Well said, Jim Schutze.  The assassination of John F. Kennedy shook the world and shamed our country--and still demands justice--not "JUST US" from any power elite.

Brad
Brad

Jim Schutze is right about the 50th Anniversary of the JFK assassination. City Officials can't shut the truth seekers up or out---not legally anyway; and probably not in reality either, whether by some illegal edict or power play. Instead of down-playing the assassination, such ill-advised and ill-conceived plans will only draw more attention to the tragedy and mystery behind it and reenforce the notion of the City's complicity back then and the shame that will not go away.

Leroy Jenkem
Leroy Jenkem

All of you are missing the real reason why the bighairs want to keep everything under control. Does nobody remember when Joe Christ and friends waited until the big ceremony at the twentieth anniversary to pull their stunt? Driving a big convertible with a Jackie lookalike and a Jack mannequin in the back seat, with the head popping off right at Dealey Plaza and stage blood spurting 10 feet high...that stunt right there gave me hope for Dallas's future, that this place wouldn't be home to nothing but SMU cokeheads and soccer moms. Yes, it was irreverent. Yes, it was tacky. It was also the only appropriate response to both a flood of revisionist history and a wave of Dallas Morning News commercialism in the name of "healing". It's at times like these that I really miss Joe, and I really hope some other sick bastard tries it again.

Don Abbott
Don Abbott

If you've been in Dallas, you know how hard the High Priests of Highland ( you know where) have tried to bury this, we don't want it getting around. One of my favorite memories is from the summer of 1984. Embarrassingly, a small electrical fire broke out at the School Book Depository while the GOP convention was in town. The High Priests, including Tom Landry of all people, advocated tearing the whole damn thing down. Five years after the damage was repaired, a pretty important museum started drawing people from all over the world.

Joe L
Joe L

Yes, this is out there in wing-nut territory. This makes it sound like this ordinary event is somehow going to start the revolution.

There doesn't seem to be much of a free speech issue here.  This whole movement seems hopelessly inchoate with no direction or real issue.  The 50th anniversary will pass, most people will quietly reflect on history, and people spoiling for some kind of trouble will probably be disappointed.

I'm old enough to remember that Dallas was a seething cauldron of right wing hate in 1963, but the right wing nuts didn't kill Kennedy, a left wing nut did.  I remember being surprised that Dallas actually had a left wing nut.  Leftists were as scarce as hens' teeth back then.  Hard to find even a moderate liberal.

I do wish some one would raise some money and build a right wing museum in Dallas. It really is a central part of our history like it or not.  A significant amount of the contemporary national right wing movement was fomented by the wealth of Texas oil men of that period like H.L.Hunt.

I'll bet this whole attempted kerfluffle will fizzle. Much ado about nothing.

Joe L
Joe L

Yes, this is out there in wing-nut territory. This makes it sound like this ordinary event is somehow going to start the revolution.

There doesn't seem to be much of a free speech issue here.  This whole movement seems hopelessly inchoate with no direction or real issue.  The 50th anniversary will pass, most people will quietly reflect on history, and people spoiling for some kind of trouble will probably be disappointed.

I'm old enough to remember that Dallas was a seething cauldron of right wing hate in 1963, but the right wing nuts didn't kill Kennedy, a left wing nut did.  I remember being surprised that Dallas actually had a left wing nut.  Leftists were as scarce as hens' teeth back then.  Hard to find even a moderate liberal.

I do wish some one would raise some money and build a right wing museum in Dallas. It really is a central part of our history like it or not.  A significant amount of the contemporary national right wing movement was fomented by the wealth of Texas oil men of that period like H.L.Hunt.

I'll bet this whole attempted kerfluffle will fizzle. Much ado about nothing.

RTGolden
RTGolden

On a lighter note, "Catching Fire"  Part II of "The Hunger Games" is set to release on 22 November 2013.

Brenda Marks
Brenda Marks

JIm, my friend, I've sat on commenting on this for days because, between reading what the Snews wrote, Rawlings said, and following some of the goings-on-from-afar-at-the-Kennedy-School-via-my-bro-in-Boston, I'm flommuxed (don't get to use that word often enough).  Now my answer:  Why can't Dallas just finally, after 50 years, admit that it was, in 1963, a totally back-asswards, crazy town, full of crazy town people who weren't smart enough, cultured enough, whatever enough, to know better than to demonize and, for some (old man Hunt, a/k/a Large Marge Dad), encourage all sorts of nastiness be brought upon the head of a sitting President prior to his visit (oops, hopefully President Obama isn't showing up any time soon, is he)?  Why do we feel the need to protect the crazy town people of 1963?  Why can't we just say hey, we're really really sorry.....but now we're different....we've evolved....and let it be. And let everyone commemorate the horrible anniversary as they wish, including Mr. Groden.  That's what drives the City's need to stop him out of existence.  The thought and belief that the City, Rawlings, Dealey, et al. can, in fact must, convince the nation that Dallas was a victim too.

Mike
Mike

The only observance should a service at the cathedral at the other end of town and no public officials should get anywhere near Deley Plaza. Shut the Museum down that day. Additionally no special traffic arrangements should be made regarding Elm Street leaving it as the high speed access to a freeway that it normally is. People better stay out of the road. Leave it to the collection of 60's burnouts, tinfoil fedora wearers, and other assorted losers left in the dust by the past 50 years. Let freedom of information reign. Any visitor that listens to these zipperheads for five minutes will quickly realize that is five minutes he will not get back and his next action needs to be walking away.

Do not fight with people. Just ignore them, what members of the opposite sex and employers have been doing for decades. They should be used to it.

JMFLKK
JMFLKK

Will someone please tell the so-called Mayor to shut the hell up! He paid off JWP to become Mayor, go read about it:

http://www.dallasnews.com/news... 

As a result we should move for a recall of his election! Go back to the Pizza biz Mike!!! 

Jay
Jay

As I have asked time and again, please identify one "best seller" Mr. Groden has written?

I'll also ask once again, does Mr. Groden remit any state and local sales taxes for the sale of his books and pamphlets on public property?

RTGolden
RTGolden

My two cents: Neither the entrenched elites nor Jim's band of malcontents are going to capture what the day should really be about.  The day isn't a day to proclaim the innocence of Dallas in something that happened 50yrs prior.  Nor is it a day to stomp about, shouting protest slogans waving Occupy placards, and engaging in fantasy about what might have actually happened that fateful day.

Instead it should be a somber affair, remembering the man who was killed.  A celebration of his civil rights accomplishments, acknowledge his steady leadership in crisis, in other words, a eulogy of sorts is what should occur.

Jim is correct in saying that the event shouldn't be strictly controlled and formatted to fit the steering committee's agenda, where he errs is when he states that the event SHOULD be formatted to fit his agenda.  This event means different things to different people and Jim, Bob, or any of the JimBob's, JoBeth's and whatnot who think they run this city shouldn't get to dictate what the day means to everyone.

G_David
G_David

Hopefully they'll still have the giant sign planted on the grassy knoll that says "GRASSY KNOLL".  You know, for those that just can't figure it out.

Phelps
Phelps

The most dangerous thing about Bob Groden is the risk of getting caught in a conversation that you don't know how to end politely when you have somewhere to be.  

The city, on the other hand, has cops with automatic rifles, grenades and tanks.  I'm a hell of a lot worried about them doing something wacky than Bob.

dallasmay
dallasmay

Is there a facebook group for Saving Dealey Plaza  yet?

DallasDrilling
DallasDrilling

JimAre these panel members part of the gang who also want the toll road, are in the middle of the Nasher/Towering Inferno debacle, who have also done some interesting things with the Mexicans and their properties in La Bajada, and now are shredding financial documents at the Discovery Gardens? You mean, those guys?

Michael Johnston
Michael Johnston

I don't think there should be any celebration at all. No ceremony, no anything. I mean, look at what Dallas is celebrating...THE ASSASINATION OF A U.S. PRESIDENT. How is that "classy" at all???

JimS
JimS

Sure. And the good news, Brenda, is that there is a solution and it is near. It's called funerals. Dallas is about to be taken over by a younger more cosmo generation who could give a shit about defending a bunch of mid-century big-hairs. Sadly, however, the big-hairs are not quite ready for their high-chairs. They are still with us, the too-man-toddies set, bringing us things like the fake suspension bridge, the toll road in the river, the parking lot on the lake and the world's biggest all-chem botanical amusement park, not to mention gas drilling underneath the flood control levees and police action against community gardens. Of course, difficult as this moment may be, we must remind ourselves, as so many visitors to the nursing home must do, that hurrying things along, even just a little bit, is a felony. 

JimS
JimS

You're right, Mike. Cool guys don't care about liberty.

Copa
Copa

 Using your logic you'd rather he had a NO SELLER I guess. Like sales tax is the issue, right?

JimS
JimS

Great point, Jay. How about a full-fledged IRS super audit? Meanwhile, let's do an inspection of his card table to see if it meets OSHA, state and municipal regulations and then let's do a national parking ticket search. And, then, hey, Jay, would you mind if we came to your house and did a similar work-up?  

Phelps
Phelps

High Treason was on the NYT Best Seller list twice.

Ed D.
Ed D.

"High Treason" by Robert J. Groden and Harrison Edward Livingstone spent at least five weeks on the New York Times non-fiction bestseller list in late 1990.

trannyntraining
trannyntraining

It looks like Jim's "agenda" is for free speech and those other pesky first amendment rights. Damn you Schutze! You and your shenanigans shall be silenced.

Daily Reader
Daily Reader

That sign is so tacky.  They want to be classy, someone should take it down or replace it with something a little less in your face. 

dallasmay
dallasmay

"celebrating" is the wrong word. But never the less it is, and always will be, a part of Dallas history. 

You can't fight against it.

RTGolden
RTGolden

I think you're misconstruing Mike's comment Jim.  He's not suggesting anyone's liberty be infringed, he's simply suggesting that the day not infringe on his freedom to ignore the "zipperheads" who will gather at the plaza.

He actually takes up your standard for you:

From the article:  "...get the moneybags committee way way the hell outta the way..."From the comment: "... no public officials should get anywhere near Dealy Plaza..."

Has your liberal rage so consumed you that you're now attacking even those who support it? (Even if that support is somewhat off-handed)

Jay
Jay

Municipal regulation is the issue.  Groden prevailed against the city in their efforts to prohibit his commercial activities in Dealey Plaza. Schutze seems to favor a laissez-faire environment at Dealey Plaza where street vendors and pamphlet peddlers are exempt from any regulation or authority the Dallas may try to impose over the plaza.

I suppose the issue will be settled once and for all when Jim and his international band of freedom fighters (aka "steering committee" - too funny) turn Dealey Plaza into the OK Corral and meet force with equal and appropriate force. As I recall, the gun fight at the OK Corral didn't end well for the outlaws.

Jay
Jay

 BTW, nice straw man response.

Jay
Jay

The fact remains that your favorite author conducts retail sales in Dallas on city property. He should collect and remit sales taxes. I'm betting he doesn't. I'm curious why a reporter wouldn't bother to check, or care, particularly because you have repeatedly defended this guy and made him the central figure in so many of your 1st amendment rants concerning Dallas's regulation of Dealey Plaza.

In re-reading your last two paragraphs, it seems clear you are organizing some sort of armed resistance to oppose any sort of authority Dallas may attempt to impose at Dealey Plaza on 11/22/2013. I've marked my calendar, I wouldn't miss this show for anything. I'll be the one holding the Bell & Howell Zoomatic Camera, if I can only find some 8mm film.

Barbara
Barbara

 Nothing like a little hard data to win a point! 

Jay
Jay

I did Google for myself and never found a link identifying any of Groden's work as a Best Seller. To be more accurate, Mr. Groden was co-author of a book which was a NY Time Best Seller, but that's close enough.

Thanks to all who researched and answered.

RTGolden
RTGolden

It appears to me, from this and Jim's other articles on this topic, that his agenda is to free the speech of Bob Groden.  I don't see him taking up the free speech banner for anyone else.

Jay
Jay

Schutze, you have officially jumped the shark as a journalist. Your retort is so weak you have to resort to the loser's gambit of vilifying your opponent as a Nazi. Can name-calling be far behind? In truth, I stand for order, the constitution and the rule of law, and you sir continuously preach some aging hippy version of anarchy. Groden went to court and won his case, which is how it is suppose to be done. Good for him. If you believe your constitutional rights are being violated, or will be violated, by the city's administration of Dealey Plaza, presently or on the 50th anniversary date, you should man up, file your federal lawsuit, and seek an injunction, instead of posing as some bad-ass shotgun wielding rebel and threatening insurrection at the plaza along with your international steering committee of freedom fighters. 

JimS
JimS

Jay, the city's own municipal judges, who depend on the city for their salaries, rejected the city's efforts to corral Groden because the city broke the law. My argument is simply for the rule of law, which, you may remember, is based on the pillar of free speech in this country. Your argument is for regimes to be allowed to violate the law in pursuit of entirely extra-legal agendas, like projecting a certain image to the world. You are a champion of chaos. I argue for order. You also express an attitude typical of a certain age and profile in Dallas, that people who resist abuses of authority are not respectable. Respectable people like you  are responsible for what happened in Germany in the 30s (argument ad hitlerum). 

JimS
JimS

I could see non sequitur, reductio ad ridiculum, maybe or even misdirection, but I don't see straw man in it.

Jay
Jay

Interesting question. Perhaps he should give away his books and but suggest  a donation for each gift. I suppose for me it would depend on whether the salesman is earning his entire income and living through the commercial enterprise or merely pursuing a hobby or avocation.

RTGolden
RTGolden

A slightly less obtuse reply than JS's:  Would not the sale of personally written, personally printed materials (i.e. not a commercial venture in a direct sense, but more of a personal campaign) be more closely aligned with yardsales, garage sales, and such?  Not being facetious here, it's an honest question.  I'm not clear where the line is drawn between informal sales of personal items (for which the city doesn't chase after sales tax) and an actual commercial interest.  Would it even be worth the city's time to go after Groden for sales tax?  I don't think he's moving Amazon volume out of Dealy Plaza.

JimS
JimS

I don't give a shit if he pays taxes.

Jay
Jay

A reasoned reply. If Barnes & Noble sells Mr. Groden's book at one of their stores, they are required to charge sales tax. I wonder what constitutional protection or exemption applies to open air vendors but excludes vendors operating from brick and stick locations? 

RTGolden
RTGolden

I've tried your argument before Jay, with the sales tax for book vendors on City property.  It's a murky, grey area, inconsistently implemented throughout the country.  However, in many cases, cities choose to err on the side of Constitutional freedom (the book sale is a first amendment thing) rather than come out as modern-day book-burners.  Correct choice, incidentally.

I used to have the links to several articles, legal opinions and what-not that support the book vendor in these cases, but why keep them?  I believe in the unwritten right to find facts for one's self.  Suffice it to say I argued Jim on this point, and the crow tastes much better if it is plucked and braised with a nice raspberry compote.

RTGolden
RTGolden

There are a lot of people between the end-posts of Robert Groden and the Dallas curmudgeons.  And I'm sure there are just as many opinions on how the day should pass.  To make the statement "do your thing.  Let others do theirs." is basically to say "Have yourself a Friday on November 22, 2013."  And, perhaps, that is the best course of action.

Perhaps I'm as much a conspiracy theorist as Mr. Groden, except I'm always theorizing about Mr. Schutze's plans for world domination.  He does make a sad Pinky, now that Brain has left the show.

trannyntraining
trannyntraining

[quote from the end of the blog post] "You(the money bags) do your thing. Let others(the conspirators non-money bags) do theirs. Let it flow. Leave it free". The free speech banner for the moneyed folks in this town, don't need to be taken up here, specifically. They've already got the Supreme Court(corporations are people) and politicians down at the city halls of the world, to do that for them.

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