I was barely a bump in the womb when John F. Kennedy was shot, so his murder taught me only one thing–I got to get me a 16 mm color motion picture camera… Or at least Super-8!
What scarred me–what scarred all of us if we’d just admit it–was the assassination of President Ford when I was 11 years old. (September 1975)
Followed by another assassination attempt three weeks later! (also September 1975)
Both attempts failed. Both were by women. One was a follower of Manson, the other just an ordinary political extremist.
No woman had ever attempted to assassinate a US president. And now here’s two in one month!
The shock and horror of JFK’s assassination taught the WWII generation and their Baby Boomer kids how to despair and lose hope–a valuable lesson which they would have to relearn in ‘Nam.
But rather than shock and horror, it was the absurdity and the banality of Ford’s failed assassination attempts that subliminally taught my generation an even more demoralizing lesson: really weird bad shit is normal–it can happen twice in three weeks!
And it can not even matter!
And what if the “women’s libbers” are wrong?
The nihilism of those object lessons was simply crushing. Even if subliminally.
So the next time you see someone my age doing the things we do, just remember, they had to live through the bi-monthly shooting of a sitting US President and grow up thinking that was normal and no big deal.
Go Ger’ Go!