John F. Kennedy was shot to death 48 years ago, and enough time has pass that people aren't quite sure how to mark the anniversary anymore. Commemorations run along a scale from morbid to maudlin, as gestures that would have been shockingly tasteless in the immediate aftermath of the assassination now just seem weird. How would you like to mark the anniversary of JFK's death? pick ur poison Here's our guide to the options.
Somber:The Kennedy Assassination: Beyond Conspiracy will air on the History Channel Tuesday night. Peter Jennings hosts. Expect tasteful instrumental music and grainy videos. But the documentary was made in 2003, so some of the most recent conspiracy theories might not be addressed. MSNBC host and longtime Kennedy obsessive Chris Matthews has recently published his book, Jack Kennedy: Elusive Hero.
Hopefully Tasteful: Dallas has not officially marked the assassination, but it will start for the 50th anniversary, in 2013, the Los Angeles Times' Molly Hennessy-Fiske reports. Dallas wants to remake its image, and locals no longer want to be remembered as "the city that killed Kennedy."
Not So Tasteful:Hennessy-Fiske writes that every year people go to Dealey Plaza at 12:30p.m. to mark the exact moment and spot where Kennedy was shot. There's a white letter X painted in the busy road, and people stop to have their picture taken standing on it, despite the threat of oncoming cars:
Even Less Tasteful: Can't make it to Dallas this year? Then wear your awareness of his horrible historic moment on your face. The Sixth Floor Museum, located in the building formerly known as the Texas School Book Depository, is selling two types of commemorative earrings. You can get the "Texas School Book Depository 1963 Earrings" ("My earrings? Oh why thank you! They're inspired by the windows of building Lee Harvey Oswald hid in when he shot the president!") or the "John F. Kennedy Memorial Earrings." The box for the latter explains "Renowned American architect Philip Johnson designed the structure as a thoughtful piece of art intended for reflection and remembrance" (...on your earlobes!) and that "Johnston's design is a 'cenotaph,' or open tomb, that symbolizes the freedom of John F. Kennedy's spirit" (...which you can display dangling from your earlobes!)
Really Just Not Tasteful: Among the Dallas natives the Los Angeles Times spoke to was Jeff Sprick, who said, "Dallas is really working to find its identity. I feel it grasping sometimes" as he was sitting outside a bar called Lee Harvey's. Sadly, the bar's Assassination City Roller Derby was this weekend, so you missed it. But you can still buy some pretty sweet assassination-themed bar merchandise. Try this "petal pink" Lee Harvey's "creeper." There's also a "classic thong." It is made in the U.S.A.
Not Really About Taste, But Timing: The anniversary is a chance for newspapers to publish evergreen Kennedy stories, like this interesting one from the Salem News about the lead FBI investigator in the Kennedy case. (Yes, he still thinks Oswald acted alone.) Slightly more creepy is this story from the Bleacher Report, which begins:
Today marks the 48th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy's assassination in Dallas, Texas. Kennedy was quite a football fan and he ended up becoming good friends with a coach by the name of Vincent Thomas Lombardi.
That friendship helped out the Green Bay Packers in the 1961 NFL championship game without a doubt.
Bob Fox explains that a lot of guys got drafted as the Cold War heated up. Three key Packers players were military reservists and national guardsmen, and they were activated. But Lombardi pleaded with the president to release star player Paul Hornung for the big game. Kennedy did. For football fans, this must read like a magic moment of mercy. But for people who watch the news, right now might not be the very best time to be praising officials giving special favors to football coaches.