Nightmare On Elm Street

Oswalds Ghost a

Name That Frame 

It is amazing that, after more than forty-three years, the assassination on John Fitzgerald Kennedy can still have such a stong emotional response in so many people. Typically, this amount of time forces a certain detachment between the event and people’s recollections of it but the events of 22nd November 1963 are far removed from what anyone would describe as “typical”. I would suggest that it was not until 11th September 2001 that any event had such world-changing implications. Furthermore, given that I was not born until seven years after the assassination it is even more surprising that I too, feel an emotional connection to it. At this point I would like to officially reject the supposition that I am, to coin a vernacular phrase, a “conspiracy nut”. However, the first time I really found out any details behind the headlines was the famous Oliver Stone movie “JFK”. The problem with this as a starting point into understanding what happened is that it weaves in every flakey and half-baked idea into a massive tapestry of intrigue (and a damn fine film to boot) but one that cannot be relied on to provide inbiased fact or even, some may argue, considered opinion.  It is a work that forms a narrative and works to a conclusion (the fabulous court scene) but the reality has no conclusion.
My curiosity remains piqued, to the extent that I even paid a visit to Dealy Plaza and Elm Street in Dallas, Texas when the opportunity presented itself on a holiday to the States a few years back, and I am always on the lookout for a documentary or two. So, as a part of Conspiracy USA week on BBC4, I tuned into the Storyville documentary, “Oswald’s Ghost” that provided yet another look back at these events.  It set out the issues and the complexity with not a little objectivity and , thankfully, nothing in the way of an agenda.  The question of “Did he do it?” was answered with a resounding “Not sure” although means, motive and opportunity all appeared to be present.  The question of “Who else could have benefited?” resulted in the usual suspects being rounded up.  What was most rewarding about the programme was the cultural context into which the events were played out and not simply the 22nd Nov ’63 but forward to the Warren Commission Report, the Zapruder film, Jim Garrison’s investigation, and the assassination in 1968 of Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King.  Their was also a simple exploration of the rationale that would lead people to look for a conspiracy.  The obligatory “talking heads” all got their two cent’s worth as well in this, better than average, documentary. Underpinning everything though, was that deep sense of loss combined with fear that resonates today in the post 9/11 landscape.

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