Home > Uncategorized > Lennon. Cobain. Our JFK’s

Lennon. Cobain. Our JFK’s

JFK is in the news again. Has it really been 50 years? President gets his head blown off on national TV. Then, the man suspected of the crime is perp-walked in front of the press and, despite a sea of cops surrounding him, some rogue mini-mobster still manages to put a bullet in Oswald’s abdomen from about 6 inches away. Bye Bye open and shut case. Hello conspiracy theories….in which everybody with an ax to grind with a left leaning president they largely despised are possible suspects. From Cubans to the phone company to those pain in the ass Russian KGB agents shooting poison darts through a straw. Hell, Dallas then was a lot like Dallas now. As right wing as any John Birch Society meeting, where lefty progressives appear, through lenses of hate, like a horde of unwashed atheistic vandals, intent on tearing the whole thing down….and in its place turn Dealy Plaza into a collective of Gulags for the kulaks.

Of course it didn’t quite work out that way. But if I were Obama driving through Dallas I’d be sure to be in a covered limo, with un-maned drones ready to take out that pesky book building if even a puff of cigarette smoke drifted out of one of its windows. Can’t be too careful these days eh?

We’re fond of saying that we’ve come a long way, mostly because it’s always more fun to spout bullshit than the actual truth. Actually, we haven’t moved at all. All you need to do is look at a civil war map circa 1865, and compare it to the “red” and “blue” election maps of our times. If you think they look identical, you are correct. If you think that means we haven’t come very far over the last 50 years, you’d be right too. We’re divisive. We’re astoundingly dense. We seem incapable of any sort of compromise. The ones who hate the most are given the biggest platforms, this leading the sheep to slaughter as it were. Sure we have a black president. That was a first. We had a first 50 years ago too. A Catholic president. What happened to him again? Oh yes, he got his head blown off on national TV.

Our defining moment as a country. Because it was captured. No cameras were on Booth when he stuck that Derringer into Lincoln’s temple. We all heard about it. We read about it. But we didn’t see it.

Kennedy we saw. Impossibly young and handsome with a beautiful wife and gorgeous little kids and a family with enough money to buy anything, whether it was for sale or not. Like Pulitzer Prizes or Senate Seats. And now the top of the mountain. The President. And he was gonna clean up some of this mess…..which made the people who made the mess (and lots of money from it) very nervous. End the War? Race Relations? Playing “chicken” with the soviets over warheads aimed down our throat. There’s one thing about status quo. It’s good for business. Mess with it at your own peril. Like a bullet in the head on TV.

My generation has nothing like this. The closest was getting the news that Lennon had been shot and killed outside the Dakota. Like most others I learned it from Howard Cosell, who broke the news during a Monday Night Football game. Even dead Elvis could not compare. Elvis died while taking a shit. Not much fun I’d guess, and not an iconic way to go. Lennon was gunned down, Kennedy style. Lennon had rocked so many boats he was driving Hoover at the FBI batshit as the agency tried to stay abreast of national security issues like Lennon’s “Bed Ins for Peace”….which were ridiculed when the press expected an orgy and instead got preached to via “Give Peace a Change”…most likely an idea none of them had ever heard before. I cried when Lennon died. He was a pain in the ass and I loved him. And because he was a pain in the ass they killed him. And then came 8 years of Reagan, which was like rubbing salt into the wound. It’s a miracle that anybody in my generation remains a respectable member of society. We should have burned the entire shithouse down.

But no, that would be rude. So we just kept our heads down under the Gipper and hoped he didn’t notice that lots of folks were just as pissed off as them Air Traffic Controllers. But nobody wanted to be frog-marched into the desert and be dumped into a large pre-dug hole, never to be seen again. So we bent over and took it. We took it good.

And then Clinton and Seems Like Teen Spirit came along. You could walk the streets and not get caught up in bread lines. We had jobs. Guitars were on the radio. Cobain mumbled and screamed all the rage we’d been feeling but could not get out. We had a President who would say the word ‘AIDS’ without thinking it was somebody’s fault. And then Cobain got too close to the sun and…well….that was that. He put an REM record on, and used his foot to blow his own head off with a shotgun. I think they found him 2 days later. Reagan and his boys had surely put the zap on Cobain’s head….but there was more to this one. Alienation. The kid was broken from the start. Never felt whole for a variety of reasons. Wrong side of the tracks. Born at the perfect time for us. It was the worst time for him.

Should we be selfish and say the world is better because he was here? Or should we feel that what he left behind was not worth……what he left behind. Namely, himself.

I don’t know. I miss them all. The idea of JFK. I miss Lennon because he taught me about rock and roll, and that it was more than just 3 chords. It was singing about rebellion….and then rebelling yourself. The type that gets you noticed by the FBI. I miss Cobain because he could have been me. That scrawny shy kid who, today, wouldn’t get past the loading dock of “The Voice” TV studio….but changed everything. The Lennon of our time.

Lennon. Cobain. Our JFKs.

In a bit..

–tf

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