I know better than to watch Hollywood’s take on JFK. When I do, I always end up being more angry than I anticipate. It’s like they kill him again and again with every lying, worthless piece of garbage they force down the public’s throat. Once just wasn’t enough. Even though 75% of us doubt (or are unsure of) the official story, for some reason we eat it up.
I thought this one might be interesting, but my worst fears were confirmed: the film Jackie isn’t anything more than the same disinformation and propaganda, furthering the mainstream narrative that John Kennedy wasn’t much of a president.
I would expect more from a Chilean director (Pablo Larraín) who knows full well what it’s like to have truth in art completely stripped away from a people. Ironically, it was very likely the same entities that destroyed democracy in Chile — via an extremely bloody CIA-supported coup, killing democratically-elected President Salvador Allende on 9/11/73 — that killed JFK.
Larraín has said, “In Chile, the right, as part of the Pinochet government, is directly responsible for what happened to culture during those years, not only by destroying it or restricting its spread, but also through its persecution of writers and artists. Chile found itself unable to express itself artistically for nearly twenty years” and “the right wing throughout the world is not very interested in culture and this reveals the ignorance that is probably theirs, because it is difficult for someone to make the most of something or to enjoy it if you have no knowledge of it”.
It becomes more and more obvious to anyone paying attention that the same phenomenon has happened in the US. It’s not that we are killed or locked up for addressing the long list of unapproved subjects in art, but those pieces don’t get funded. Just ask David Talbot, whose miniseries Brothers, about Robert Kennedy’s attempts to learn the truth about his brother’s assassination (based on his best-selling book of the same name) was mysteriously dropped like a hot potato after being almost green-lighted by Starz.
Here in America, it’s been over 50 years of textbooks, art and films, telling the same old Kennedy lies and “junk history” (as Talbot calls it). Pablo Larraín is as guilty as the rest of them.
Since Larraín admittedly knows nothing about JFK’s assassination, he told the story that interested him: that of the late president’s widow in the days after the assassination. It’s too bad he didn’t do some research because they snuck in some doozies.
It’s not so much the lack of truth concerning JFK’s assassination in this particular case. It’s the lies about his life. These seem to be more effective considering the public’s overwhelming skepticism about the Warren Commission’s findings. Even if we believe there was a conspiracy to kill him, we don’t know there was a motive.
It may not be totally accurate to call these lies, as the truth was hidden for so many years and only came to light in recent times. Most are still not even aware of it. Even writer James Douglass, who has written the most agreed-upon version of these events, was a Kennedy skeptic for decades before he finally started to realize to what extent we had been lied to about JFK’s plan to end the Cold War, and how he almost surely gave his life to save us from a hot one with the USSR.
In the film, Jackie refers to the wanted posters that were distributed in Dallas leading up to Kennedy’s November 1963 visit. But there is no explanation as to why.
Oliver Stone, in his 1991 film JFK, brought to light the fact that President Kennedy was going to bring home all the troops from Vietnam by the end of 1965. In Jackie, however, Bobby Kennedy laments that his brother was killed after only getting to “tee-off” in Vietnam, and that his successor, LBJ, would get to take credit for the coming war. “We’re just the beautiful people” he said. Such a shallow portrayal of one of the hardest-fighting administrations for peace the world has ever known (in history’s most dangerous time).
I was moved by Natalie Portman’s portrayal of Jacqueline Kennedy, but without context and the true weight of what we all lost on November 22, 1963, her performance ultimately falls flat.
Much of the film is based on Mrs. Kennedy’s interview with Theodore H. White, that occurred just days after the assassination. The material seemed faithful to the interview (White’s complete notes were released one year after her death). The aspect of the interview as portrayed in the film that I’m most suspicious of, however, is White’s attempt to frame JFK as a “do-nothing” president. He pins Jackie to the wall with accusations of trying to cover up her husband’s lack of a legacy with a glorified memorial, and the creation of the now-infamous Camelot mythology, which was first revealed in the edited version of the conversation that premiered in LIFE magazine on December 6, 1963.
The death scenes were much too gory. Again, without context Jack’s bloody head in Jackie’s lap is just another piece of meat. It only serves to dehumanize and degrade him.
Please ignore this film and read some books. Here’s a short list of my favorites:
JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why it Matters, by James Douglass
- Mary’s Mosaic: The CIA Conspiracy to Murder John F. Kennedy, Mary Pinchot Meyer, and Their Vision for World Peace,
by Peter Janney
LBJ: The Mastermind of the Kennedy Assassination, by Phillip K. Nelson
Brothers: The Hidden History of the Kennedy Years, by David Talbot
Me and Lee: How I Came to Know and Love Lee Harvey Oswald, by Judyth Vary Baker
The Echo from Dealey Plaza, by Abraham Bolden
John Dissed is a political singer-songwriter from Los Angeles. Get a free mp3 of his single“Honeypot” by entering your name and email address beneath the red arrow, just above and to the right!