Conspiracy Theorists Will Leave Their Mark on Dallas' Kennedy Commemoration, at Least According to the Wall Street Journal

Thumbnail image for groden.jpg
Robert Groden, who won't be allowed in Dealey Plaza on November 22.
From the outset, Mayor Rawlings and the city of Dallas have made it clear that they intend to control the narrative on November 22, 2013 when they mark what they're simply calling The 50th. The 50th what? Never mind that. Just remember that this is about celebrating the life of a president, not dwelling on what happened five decades ago as his motorcade crept through Dealey Plaza.

Rawlings' narrative is already starting to buckle under its own wait as the measures intended to buttress it -- the security lockdown, the sweeping away of conspiracy theorists, the obsessive insistence on classiness -- instead paint a portrait of a city that still hasn't fully come to grips with the fact that it was party to one of the darkest days in American history.

Earlier this month came Mimi Schwartz's piece in Texas Monthly. Now it's the Wall Street Journal, which published a Christmas Day piece on the city's preparations for the 50th anniversary of the Kennedy Assassination.

The Journal focuses mainly on how the city's plans are being greeted by conspiracy buffs.

"It's absurd to move the discussion of his death to another moment," said John Judge, executive director of the Coalition on Political Assassinations, a Washington, D.C., nonprofit that studies 1960s murders of public figures. "Our First Amendment rights are being violated."

Mr. Judge, 65 years old, said conspiracy-theory proponents have gathered at Dealey Plaza every Nov. 22 since 1964. Next year, he added, will be the first that Dallas hasn't granted a permit for the meeting, which usually involves a moment of silence and a few speeches. He said the city should move its ceremony elsewhere, adding that his group's members would find a way to disseminate their theories during the city event, possibly even dropping protest banners from nearby buildings.

Mayor Mike Rawlings said in an interview that he would meet with Mr. Judge's group, as well as with others who object to the city's plans, to hear their concerns. But he is determined to keep the tone of the event reflective of the "international, cosmopolitan, arts-centered city" Dallas is today, he said, while focusing on President Kennedy's life and accomplishments. "For 40 minutes, we need to be focusing on the man, not the moment 50 years ago," Mr. Rawlings said.

As for how the city came to the perplexing conclusion that the best way to commemorate the Kennedy assassination is by pretending it didn't happen, the Journal provides just a smidgen of arm-chair psychology, noting that the country held the city directly responsible for the murder for decades.

Rawlings no doubt is banking on the fact that the swirl of activity that will descend upon Dallas around November 22 will drown out news reports like the Journal's, which wonder if the city is fretting a bit too much. Then again, Judge and his peers' megaphone will be that much larger, and they aren't going to stay silent.

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7 comments
texanbynature
texanbynature

You can't tell the story of JFK without including his serial affairs, including Marilyn Monroe.  Being honest doesn't imply that infidelity was his only reason for living, but history has shown it occupied a substantial part of his time. 

And, you can't honestly tell the story of the Kennedy Assassination without including the huge sidebar of "conspiracy theorists" who, as history indicates, may be correct in their pursuit if not all of their assumptions.  Why else would Lyndon Johnson SEAL in the National Archives for 75 years the facts of the case that tell who killed Kennedy and why?

It is already known as a fact; the Commission report on Kennedy's death was part fact - part fiction, and it was clearly written to follow a strict narrative advanced by J. Edgar Hoover that Oswald acted alone without help or support from anyone, that Ruby acted strictly out of anger and grief, and that 100% of the people on the Warren Commission were easily controlled by Johnson and/or Hoover. 

To this day, as surveys confirm, MOST Americans believe -- and even government has said --  Kennedy was likely killed by a conspiracy of one kind or another.  Yet, one would have to attribute to "control freaks" the effort to completely dispel any notions of conspiracy, and EXPEL from any having any sort of voice anyone who doesn't agree with the "City Hall narrative" and those hired to advance a showcase celebration as pristine as a certain bullet we're not allowed to mention. 

This is SO "Dallas" in a way many native Dallasites hoped would not happen.  But, where there are political agendas to advance, good taste is often the first casualty. 

gollyrojer
gollyrojer

"...already starting to buckle under its own wait..."

Uh... "wait"? How long do you figure it'll have to wait before it collapses?

MikeWestEast
MikeWestEast like.author.displayName 1 Like

It is a big mistake to make Dealey Plaza the focus, particularly if you want to celebrate life, not death. Dealey Plaza is where the wackos hang out. Why go there? My recommendation remains do it in a multi-belief service at the Cathedral, now heavily Hispanic. He was and his family remains Roman Catholic. Picture the positive message that would send. Leave the Plaza to the nut jobs and people that kept their adolescence into the nursing home. Oswald killed the President and the police officer. Grow up, put on the big boy pants and move on.

texanbynature
texanbynature

@MikeWestEast I couldn't agree with you more.  If I wanted to celebrate the life and contributions of Abraham Lincoln, the LAST place I'd stage it would be Ford's Theater . 

Dallas did not kill John Kennedy.  A Communist from Ft. Worth killed him - or was at least involved in killing him, but we certainly don't blame Ft. Worth. 

 Dallas has nothing to prove when in comes to the death of JFK any more than Lakehurst, New Jersey, has to recover its image from the wreck of the Hindenburg. 

Always remember, "History invariably happens SOMEWHERE!  Don't blame the witnesses".  

 

joecook
joecook like.author.displayName 1 Like

I think the city could face historical facts to a greater extent. No one knows exactly why and how Kennedy was killed; and it a fact that we don't have answers. After FIFTY YEARS! To me, that's the most interesting part of the 50 yr anniversary. We can and do honor JFK constantly, calling upon his brilliant speeches and dedication to peace, in a time when the military-industrial guys were the real power-brokers. R Cook

dallasmedia
dallasmedia

Or maybe...

No city leader wants to promote The 50th Anniversary of JFK's assassination by saying, "Hey, Families, Come visit Dallas! The City Where Camelot Ended! Explore The Many Possibilities of How JFK was Taken Out by A Conspiracy! Discuss Intelligence Operations, Mafia Fronts, Cuban Exiles, Disinformation, The Military-Industrial Complex, and Vietnam Escalation!"

Shit. I'm into the JFK conspiracy as much as anyone else, and even I see the flaws in that marketing campaign. 

Still, you'd have to be an idiot to think the reason most tourists visit Dealey Plaza is to commemorate JFK. When was the last time you saw a wreath get run over on Elm St.?

 No the reason people visit Dealey plaza is to explore where it all went down: the grassy knoll (currently under "renovation,"the 6th floor, the overpass (Alpha 66), the storm-drain on Elm (long since concreted over), the angles, how they pulled off the coup, where THE MAN IN THE UMBRELLA stood...

The city leaders running "The 50th" may be silly or corrupt, but they are not idiots. By explicitly ignoring the conspiracy aspect of JFK's, they create a media vacuum. Said vacuum gets filled by The Dallas Observer and other commentators. One group hypes the real reason behind the anniversary, while another puts on a respectable commemoration.

...

Sudden revelation. Maybe we are all part of the machine--whether we like it or not.  

Did I just blow your mind, Neo?

P1Gunter
P1Gunter

Very odd to see our city government try to be proactive on anything not involving money which goes into their pockets.

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