“On November 22, 2013, the nation will reflect officially on the legacy of Camelot. The coverage of the Kennedy assassination is a cottage industry with a cultlike following. Books, articles, magazine covers and popular entertainment continue to incite hero worship and political fascination. Kennedy is hailed even by today’s far-right wing as a hawk, war hero and Cold War stalwart. And for the most part, as with President Obama, the mainstream ideological and political coverage of President John F. Kennedy finds him somewhere in between liberal consensus builder and centrist, corporate icon. I interviewed professor, social critic and activist Noam Chomsky recently about the tradition of cult fantasy and hero construction of past presidents.”
The interview itself, published this month, began in the following way:
“Daniel Falcone: Do you find it odd that the country is focusing on a 50th anniversary remembrance of the Kennedy assassination?
Noam Chomsky: Worship of leaders is a technique of indoctrination that goes back to the crazed George Washington cult of the 18th century and on to the truly lunatic Reagan cult of today, both of which would impress Kim Il-sung. The JFK cult is similar.
DF: What does it mean that popular media treat such a date with such unusual honor?
NC: Simply that we live in a deeply indoctrinated society.
DF: Do other countries find it odd that we commemorate such a day?
NC: Others are not all that different, though American patriotic displays do amuse (or surprise, or frighten) the world. In part, it’s just confusion. He’s very popular among African-Americans; some are unaware of his actual role in the civil rights struggles – which was not pretty. But in part, it’s among intellectuals – and JFK understood very well that if you pat them on the head and pretend you love them, you’ll get a good image. It worked like a charm.”
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Louis DeCola, Jr. © 2013 The Hygiology Post ®