November 22

By: pbcmedia

Nov 22 2009

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Category: 1, History


Focal Length:22mm
Shutter:1/0 sec
Camera:Canon EOS 5D

I have spent the day watching television just as I once did on this date in 1963.

It began with PBS “Bill Moyers Journal”, an hour-long program of Lyndon Johnson’s telephone tapes with his military and civilian advisors trying to wrestle with the complications of Vietnam.

Take out “Vietnam” from the conversations and insert Afghanistan and Iraq and you might be overhearing the conversations that are going on in Washington these past months in the lead-up to President Obama’s announcement about our course in that war.

It was chilling.  It was presented without contemporary commentary as the listener provided all the stunning parallel to make the point.

Next, were several installments of another PBS program, “American Experience” about Native Americans.  One that miraculously told the truth.  As one of the narrators in the introduction states, “what happened here was nothing short of ethnic cleansing.”

Yes.  This is the program that Ken Burns should have done rather than the National Parks.  I’m not sure there’d be an IPHONE App for this bit of American history, though.

As I began to feel glued and cemented into the chair, another American Experience program followed about the Kennedy family.  It was not the idealized hagiography that one might expect on this anniversary of JFK’s assassination, but fearless in presenting the strengths as well as the profound weaknesses of their personal as well as public behavior.

So, now, it’s time to turn it off.  I’m not in a college “smoker” room as I was in 1963, but I’m feeling a bit shaky just as I did all those years ago.

I could change the channel and watch professional football, The New England Patriots and the NY Jets pummel one another into the ground.

Somehow, history and sport all seem like the same thing to me in my shakiness.

Cocoa with marshmallow is the only option.

©Pat Coakley 2009



3 comments on “November 22”

  1. “Somehow, history and sport all seem like the same thing to me in my shakiness.”

    Sport is ritualised combat but, fortunately most of the time it doesn’t lead to death.

    Nice to see that you’ve posted something new, it’s been a while and I was worried that you were being crushed by all the sadness around you.

    Hopefully you’ll get distracted by some bright shiny thing that will spur you on to more creativity (at least that’s what works for me).

  2. I don’t know if history repeats, but there are common threads that unfortunately remain unbroken. The events of 1963 were surely a shock, but not the first, and I fear not the last of their type. What is different now is how so much of the culture is soma-fied and numb to it all. Jets against the Patriots… in a game?

  3. the assassinations in our not too distant history are like shocking blunt disturbed terrors of a major dysfunction (for lack of a better word) and they are the most faithshattering heartbreaking mindboggling events we can bear witness to, barely. i think it is such a painful underlying sore, it is a kind of fight-or-flight instinct that sets in, and causes the numbification don describes, that disconnection may be in some way a survival pattern for many who are sensitive. but we all know on some level that living as such with the echoes of tragedies can subtract living essence, so we might be at a percentage of wholeness rather than holy whole or whatever so my question would be is there or is there not ever going to be a time when human beings evolve beyond killing eachother, and if so, will that happen before 2012 (only kidding about the 2012 part)

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