Monday, January 26, 2004

LRC picks today
How to defeat the US Army
by David Wiggins
This is not a pacifist site - here is a story illustrating why (scroll to 'Peace on earth', the third story down; warning: Doc Weasel has porn banners on his page!) - but Dr Wiggins' story is still good. I understand and appreciate the proper place of the military (which the neocons are trying to get people to forget) but his protest would fit Gulf War II perfectly. This blog's 2003 Man of the Year might agree.

Flower power to Mars
by Steven LaTulippe
Quotations:

I can say without reservation that this Mars trip is an idiotic idea.

...there is an annoyance that I have with President Bush’s generation. The baby-boomer 50-somethings have a bizarre attachment to JFK that continually pops-up in nearly everything that they do. Obviously, this Mars trip is Bush’s attempt to mimic JFK’s "moon landing" speech of so many years ago.

What is going on here?

Having been born a couple of years after JFK's assassination, I have never been able to completely fathom this "Camelot fetish." From my perspective, JFK was a mediocre to below-average president. His Bay of Pigs escapade was a disaster (that almost got everyone incinerated when the Soviets responded by putting missiles in Cuba, launching the missile crisis). His handling of South Vietnam (particularly the assassination of President Diem) was a catastrophe. His morals were nonexistent. His marriage was a sham.

The only thing that I can figure is that this obsession represents the first example of media-driven "symbolism over substance" of which we have become all too familiar. During JFK's presidency, TV was a relatively new medium. The burgeoning establishment liked his politics and wanted him to succeed - so they created the whole phenomenon. He was good looking. He had a beautiful wife. And the country was new to TV and got its first dose of its immense power.

The result was a mythology that was totally divorced from reality. And all of these "JFK wannabes" are the children of that first giant dose of propaganda TV - a habit which they have never been able to shake. (This also explains why my generation has much less attachment to JFK - we judge him solely on his actual presidency because we were not exposed to the hoopla that accompanied his life and death.)


True. To be fair, I understand the Bay of Pigs wasn't all Kennedy's fault - Eisenhower's administration had planned it.