Watched JFK on DVD last night. An utterly splendid film with very high information compression, meaning you really have to pay attention to it throughout the whole 3 hours otherwise you WILL miss something. I didn’t know very much at all about Kennedy’s assassination up until now, I knew the basic story of course, including the fact that there was “a conspiracy theory”, but I didn’t know much beyond that. Personally I’m with Jim Garrison, and while I may not have been with him at the time (as I, along with the American public, probably wouldn’t have believed the US government to be capable of such things), I’ve had the benefit of seeing another 40 years of history pass by and witnessed numerous further acts of corruption, nest feathering and underhandness.

It was, of course, all about the war industry. Kennedy was a democrat radical, not exactly left wing, but certainly way too left wing for a lot of peoples’ liking. Kennedy was going to end the cold war with the Soviet Union and he wasn’t going to go to war in Vietnam, and of course this was all very bad news for those in the defence industry. The contemporary anti-communist witch-hunt was incidental, although it did not help Kennedy with his polices at the time. The links cannot be proven of course, but doesn’t that sound rather familiar considering what happened in the middle east last year? It’s the same thing every time – the economy of the United States more or less depends on there being a war in the world at any one time, whether US forces are actively involved or not. If there isn’t a war, they create one, otherwise they go into recession. They’re now even recreating the anti-communist witch-hunts, except now it’s with the largely unquantifiable foe known as “terrorism” – essentially an unrestricted meal ticket with no expiry date for the defence industry. It’s utterly sickening.

So now, 40 years on, what used to be an outrageous slur on the US government is more or less accepted as the way things are by the jaded and cynical publics of the world, and if Garrison thought that it was corrupt then, just think how he would feel if he knew what was to come: Nixon (whose corruption brought the country to the brink of crisis), arming the Taliban, Saddam Hussein and General Pinochet; right through to September 11th. Yes, I’m sorry, but I’m with the conspiracy theorists on that one, so many things just don’t make sense or sit right with me, but that’s another discussion for another day.

In summary, excellent film. An important part of United States history revealed, whether it can be proven or not. If you’re interested in United States history from that sort of time period, the film Nixon pretty much follows on from it as far as the timeline goes, although obviously it covers a different subject. Thirteen Days covers the Cuban Missile Crisis, which of course took place a year before Kennedy was killed. Kevin Costner stars in both JFK and Thirteen Days, but plays different characters in each.


New Labour parable

I nicked this off someone on the Internet, who nicked it off someone else, who in turn nicked it off some other person, and none of us have any idea who wrote it, so I won’t even bother with any credits beyond “I didn’t write this”.

The Original Version

The ant works hard in the withering heat all summer long, building his house and laying up supplies for the winter. The grasshopper thinks he’s a fool and laughs and dances and plays the summer away.

Come winter, the ant is warm and well fed. The grasshopper has no food or shelter so he dies out in the cold.

The New Labour Version

It starts out the same, but when winter comes, the shivering grasshopper calls a press conference and demands to know why the ant should be allowed to be warm and well fed while others are cold and starving. The BBC, ITV, CNN and all the rest of the News Reporters show up and provide pictures of the shivering grasshopper next to film of the ant in his comfortable home with a table filled with food.

The entire country is stunned by the sharp contrast. How can it be that, in a country of such wealth, this poor grasshopper is allowed to suffer so?

Then a representative of the NAAGB (The National Association for the Advancement of Green Bugs) shows up on Newsnight and charges the ant with “Green Bias” and makes the case that the grasshopper is the victim of 30 million years of greenism. Kermit the frog appears on Trisha with the grasshopper, and everybody cries when he sings “It’s Not Easy Being Green.”

Tony and Cherie Blair make a special guest appearance on the Evening News and tell a concerned Trevor MacDonald that they will do everything they can for the grasshopper who has been denied the prosperity he deserves by those who benefited unfairly while the Conservative were in power.

Gordon Brown exclaims in an interview with David Frost that the Ant has gotten rich off the “back of the grasshopper”, and calls for an immediate tax hike on the Ant to make him pay his “fair share”.

Finally the EEOC drafts the Economic Equity and Anti-Greenism Act. RETROACTIVE to the beginning of the summer. The ant is fined for failing to hire a proportionate number of green bugs and, having nothing left to pay his retroactive taxes, his home is confiscated by the government. Cherie gets her old law firm to represent the grasshopper in a defamation suit against the ant, and the case is tried before a panel of high court judges that are appointed from a list of single-parent welfare mothers who can only hear cases on Thursday afternoon between 1:30 and 3:00 PM when there are no talk shows scheduled.

The ant loses the case.

The story ends as we see the grasshopper finishing up the last bits of the ants food while the government house he’s in – which just happens to be the ant’s old house – crumbles around him since he doesn know how to maintain it. The ant has disappeared in the snow. And on the TV, which the grasshopper bought by selling most of the ants food, they are showing Tony Blair standing before a wildly applauding group of cretins announcing that a new era of “Fairness” has dawned in the UK.

It’d be funnier if it wasn’t so dangerously similar to reality.