Tuesday, 12 November 2013

JFK and the dangers of celebrity worship

I do remember where I was when Kennedy was shot. I was at home and I was 14 years old. I have some recollection of the numbness, the shock. I remember watching scenes from the funeral on the television.

Since then we have all seen and read a good deal about JFK and the Kennedy family, either because we specifically wanted to or because it was in front of our eyes either on the TV or in the papers. We now know that JFK was a deeply flawed character and that his reputation as a president is based partly on his celebrity status as a victim of assassination at a time of hope and optimism, partly on the efforts of his widow to present him as a great and inspirational leader, partly on the sentimentalism that is part of "celebrity worship", partly on an unwillingness to face reality. He was about to do great things - or so it appeared.

I have followed stories of people who said that they "knew" who killed JFK. At present I am watching again Oliver Stone's excellent film, "JFK". I have read on YouTube confessions by people who were either involved in the assassination or knew more than they were prepared to tell around that time. Those who believe that 9/11 was partly engineered by members of the Bush administration (and the evidence is compelling) say that had the truth been told earlier about the JFK killing, and certain people brought to book, there would not have been a 9/11.

One thing that comes to mind, as far as I am concerned, is the constant mistake of creating celebrities. I know it is part of human nature to do this (or I think it is), and that the Media inevitably focuses on influential people and builds them up to be inspirational in some way (just so long as they are in agreement with them). The Media even suggests a kind of morality, even though the lives of such people may be unorthodox in terms of Judeo-Christian moral teaching.

Still, recent events in Britain following the Jimmy Saville scandal should alert us once again to the danger of accepting "celebrities" too easily. As JFK himself said in his famous last speech to university students, "We are all mortal" and, we need to add, we are all sinners. Reputations are rarely accurate where sinners are concerned. If only the more myopic of Obama's supporters would come to their senses before it is too late.

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